The Importance of Keeping in Touch. LONG! and largely OT.

Anna Z Skarzynska ania at
Tue Jan 11 17:14:08 EST 2005

> Ania wrote (among a lot of other things):
> > last sampled some Patricia Wrede in the form of
> >Sorcery and Cecelia (great- will look for more. Only slightly annoyed
> >by the repeated use of 'gotten' instead of 'got' in a novel supposedly
> >set in England, however alternative).
> DWJ tackled her about that once, and she said that she had been told that
> it was a legitimate usage in England at that time, and remained as a relic
> in America after the British usage had altered.  I can believe this: there
> are lots of other examples.  In British English we still have "ill-gotten
> gains", and "gotten" is in the 1933 S.O.D. and the 1925 Chambers, whilst
> the 1926 Fowler says it is "archaic" but doesn't condemn it.

I have lent this book to a friend as soon as I finished reading it, so I
can't go and check, but I think there was more to the reason for my
irritation than the mere presence of the word 'gotten'. As far as I remember
it occurred in phrases/idioms much too modern for the setting, such as 'I
have gotten hold of' or 'it has gotten cold', when surely if anything they
should have said 'I acquired' or 'I succeeded in obtaining', and 'it became
cold'. I might have overlooked it if they had used 'got' instead. But as I
said, I don't have the book at hand.
Perhaps one of the many Austen fans could tell us if she uses the form and
in what context? She is more or less of the right period.

> >Something I observed and promptly came to terms with is that I no
> >longer bother reading 'worthy' books, aka Proper Literature. I used to,
> >but quite frankly I cannot be bothered. I am a proper 'kidult' these
> >days.
> Congratulations!  way to go!  And when you decide to go back to things
> aren't froth, you could always work yourself back in via biographies:
> are some stonking good biographies around, and they aren't too terribly
> Worthy if you choose interesting people to be the subjects.
> Minnow

Why, thank you. With this list I think I am in good company.
I do sometimes read biographies- I really enjoyed The Surgeon of Crowthorne-
not surprising considering it was about one of the major contributors to the
Oxford English Dictionary (I would gladly take the OED to the desert island
instead of the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare!)


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