Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Correct Usage

Multatuli, i.e. Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887), The Oyster & the Eagle: Selected Aphorisms and Parables of Multatuli. Translated, edited, annotated, with an Introductory Essay by E.M. Beekman (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1974), p. 43 (from Over specialiteiten):
He who does not bother with the correct usage of a word shows unconcern for the purity of his thoughts and consequently doesn't care very much about distinguishing between good and evil.
Id., pp. 19-20 (from the editor's introduction):
The third collection of Ideeën appeared in 1870-71, Millioenen-studiën in 1873, and Duizend-en-eenige-hoofdstukken over specialiteiten (Thousand and One Chapters about Specialties) in 1871. The latter book is an elegant defense of diversity and rages against the curse of specialization. This concern—still relevant today—can be found throughout his work, even as early as 1851, when he wrote in a letter:
Imagine Christ saying: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a mustard seed." And the answer: "No—that—is—incorrect.—Mustard seed—is—etc." With a botanical and culinary lecture on mustard. Can't stand it any more.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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