June 18, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday



Today's newly acquired vocabulary words come from two books, both of which are giving me adequate reason to begin using flash cards again.



First are the words from Reading Basquiat: Exploring Ambivalence in American Art by Jordana Moore Saggese, which is about the Brooklyn graffiti artist (known as "samo") cum neoexpressionist from the 1980s, Jean-Michel Basquiat.  It contains some art terminology that I am not readily familiar with.

figuration-
"ornamentation by means of figures and designs"

diasporas-
"the dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland"

semiotic approach-
"interpreting the art via the study of signs and symbols in said artwork"

semiosis-
"the process of signification in language or literature"

appropriation-
"the deliberate reworking of images and styles from earlier, well-known works of art"

concrete poetry-
"poetry in which the meaning or effect is conveyed partly or wholly by visual means, using patterns of words of letters and other typographical devices"

Untitled (Skull) - 1984
You can see why Basquiat was called the "Black Picasso"



The second list of words comes from Alena Graedon's The Word Exchange.  If you've had the pleasure of reading this book, you will understand exactly what I mean when I say, "Do I have no command over the English language at all?  What ARE all these words?"  I seriously had to whittle this list down at the agonizing thought of, well, putting you all through agony at the list of, oh, 31 words I had to look up in the first two chapters.  I kid you not.  But it is an immensely enjoyable and provocative read, so I take this offense to my level of intelligence gladly.

SOME of the words from it:

ouroboros-
"an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.  It often symbolizes self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself.  It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished.


Norse ouroboros (image from Wikipedia)
I am interested to see if this symbol, dropped in the text unremarkably,
comes back around in a foreshadowing manner.


amanuensis-
"a literary assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts"

atavistic-
"relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral"

parallax-
"a special scrolling technique in computer graphics, wherein background images move by the camera slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth in 2D video game and adding to the immersion"

jeremiad-
"a long, mournful complaint or lamentation; a list of woes"



perspicacity-
"the quality of having a ready insight into things; shrewdness"

explicate-
"analyze and develop (an idea or principle) in detail; analyze (a literary work) in order to reveal its meaning"

cynosure-
"a person or thing at the center of attention or admiration"


Cynosure - aka, what this duo strives for

ken-
"one's range of knowledge or understanding"

simulacra-
"an image or representation of someone or something; an unsatisfactory imitation or substitute"

antediluvian -
"of or belonging to the time before the Biblical flood"  read: ridiculously old




And draw the curtain cause I'm beat.

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