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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

1. My first word this time, I came across whilst editing a promotional post for a new book which had arrived in my mailbox. The author, Roy A. Teel, Jr. had such a heartbreaking, yet heartwarming personal story to tell, that I found myself reading his biography with rapt attention to the detail.

NEOPLATONIC

In 2013, Roy released his first novel, ‘And God Laughed’, a neoplatonic dialogue between one man and God. Although now a secular humanist, Roy believes in God but rejects all religions as man’s folly and wrote a fictional narrative about a relationship with God outside of religion.

NEOPLATONIC Neoplatonism (or Neo-Platonism) is a modern term used to designate a tradition of philosophy that arose in the 3rd century AD and persisted until shortly after the closing of the Platonic Academy in Athens in AD 529 by Justinian I. Neoplatonists were heavily influenced both by Plato and by the Platonic tradition that thrived during the six centuries which separated the first of the Neoplatonists from Plato.

Collectively, the Neoplatonists constituted a continuous tradition of philosophers which began with Plotinus. In defining the term, it is difficult to reduce Neoplatonism to a concise set of ideas that all Neoplatonic philosophers shared in common.

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2.My second word this time, I discovered when I stopped by the site of fellow blogger, Elizabeth, to comment on her entry for a regular meme in which we both participate. She was sharing the first lines of the current book she was reading and whilst I could pretty much work out the general context in which this word was being used, I felt sure that it had a unique definition, all its own … and it did!

INFIRMARIAN

Brother Wulfstan checked the color of his patient’s eyes, tasted his sweat. The physick had only weakened the man. The Infirmarian feared he might lose this pilgrim. Trembling with disapointment, Wulfstan sat himself down at his worktable to think through the problem.

 INFIRMARIAN – A person dwelling in, or having charge of, an infirmary, especially in a monastic institution.

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3. And finally this time, a word from one of the best psychological thrillers I have read for a long time – ‘Hidden’, by Emma Kavanagh.

PROSOPAGNOSIA

She was a year into her PhD, quietly wondering what the hell had inspired her to select the study of prosopagnosia for a subject, was in the student bar waiting for Mara, as she always seemed to be, when the news had flashed on.

PROSOPAGNOSIA – Prosopagnosia (also known as ‘face blindness’) refers to a severe deficit in recognizing familiar people from their face. While some people report a very selective impairment that only influences the recognition of faces, others find the deficit extends to the recognition of other stimuli, such as objects, cars, or animals. Many people also report deficits in other aspects of face processing, such as judging age or gender, recognising certain emotional expressions, or following the direction of a person’s eye gaze. Finally, a substantial proportion of prosopagnosics report navigational difficulties.

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 … Is An image for the weekly meme Wondrous Words Wednesdaya weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we have encountered in our reading. It is hosted by Kathy, over at ‘BermudaOnion’s Weblog’.You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.

Don’t forget that Kathy and the rest of us, all love to read your comments  as well, so that we can visit and share your words of the week!

 

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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22 comments
    • Hi Carolyn,

      The first two are okay for rolling around the tongue, however Prosopagnosia is a bit of tongue twister for me, as well as sounding like a terrible condition, from which I hope I never suffer!

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope that all is well with you.

      I just can’t believe where the time has gone to this year, seeing Xmas merchandise in the shops just doesn’t seem right yet 🙁

  • I was familiar with the middle word and could probably have wagered a good guess on the first, but the last word was totally unknown to me. What an odd condition with which to be afflicted! Oh…and that second book looks like it would be right up my alley. 🙂

    I have a couple to share this week. The first word is “burking” and is from the Sue Grafton book I reviewed last week. It’s explained in the story, so I’ll just share a couple of the lines from pages 329/330. I can remember reading about the two men in question, but didn’t remember the term coined from their process.

    “Are you familiar with the term ‘burking’?”
    “Burking? I don’t think so.”
    “Nor was I until I ran across a series of murders that occurred in Edinburgh, Scotland, back in the 1800s. I’m a history buff, especially where medical matters are concerned. I was in the midst of combing through old newspapers when I chanced on the case of William Burke and William Hare, who killed some sixteen unlucky souls in order to supply cadavers to an anatomist named Dr. Robert Know. Burke’s method was what caught my attention. He and Hare would focus on intoxicated individuals and then suffocate them by covering their mouths and pinching their noses closed. The technique left little to no evidence of foul play.”

    My other word is from a article in one of my science magazines.
    “Akrasia” – the state of acting against one’s better judgment.
    It was an interesting piece that noted akrasia was “not a personal failing but a result of a cognitive bias that strikes us all. – ‘time inconsistency’, our tendency to discount the future in favor of the present.”

    Sorry if I’ve gone on too much this time!

    • Hi Kelly,

      You could never go on too much for me 🙂

      That’s the whole idea of blogging for me, it’s nothing without the interaction and the sharing of thoughts and ideas between commenters!

      Prosopagnosia just sounds like an absolutely devastating affliction to me, but then I guess that like everything else, if you were born with the condition, you will have adapted until alternatives have become second nature.

      I had no idea that Burke had become infamous by having his preferred method of murder actually named after him. Yet another example of how much knowledge can be gleaned from a good fiction book, which has been thoroughly researched by the author.

      “The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgement through weakness of will” – Well that’s me definitely a victim of akrasia then – that just about sums up my life right now!

      I don’t know if you ever visit host Kathy’s page and check out some of the other comments, but there has been a particularly good crop of words this week 🙂

      Thanks for taking part ..

    • You are welcome Mary Ann.

      I am always amazed at the amount of new words which come to light each week, during the course of this meme.

      Educational and fun at one and the same time, although it would be nice if I could remember a little more of my extended vocabulary, to drop into a casual conversation.

      It is so startlingly obvious how much quicker our memory and learning capabilities are, the younger we are .. and also very scary!!

      Happy Reading 🙂

    • Hi Margot,

      Sad though it may seem, I really look forward to finding new words, either in my own reading, or on the blogs of fellow readers, as I thoroughly enjoy the research of definitions and the history of words.

      It’s a bit like being back at school all those years ago, as I used to enjoy researching a subject even then and homework was always something to look forward to … that and reading of course!

      Thanks for stopping by, it is always good to catch up with you and I look forward to your comments 🙂

  • Drat! I’d made a note of a new word I intended to share with you to see if you had come across it and can’t find the piece of paper on which I’d written it.

    Loving these words all of which are new to me.

    • Tracy, you have no idea of the number of notebooks and papers I have piled oh! so neatly, in my office – you would think I was running a multi-national company, not just a small and insignificant book blog.

      I make notes and do research on just about everything under the sun, it’s no surprise that I have not much time left for any of my other hobbies! It’s just a pity that I can’t remember the definitions for some of the new to me words I discover, when I come to do a crossword puzzle!

      If you happen to find your note with the new word, there is always next time to share it 🙂

    • Hi Cleo,

      ‘Hidden’ seems to be a book we both enjoyed and gave 5 stars to. I really enjoyed working with author, Emma Kavanagh and I hope to have time soon, to catch up with her previous, debut novel ‘Falling’, which I won as part of the Goodreads Giveaway competition.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I really appreciate your comment 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,

      I had no idea that there were so many obscure and seldom used words out there in the world of fiction writing. Although to be fair, many of the words I feature, I often discover on someone else’s blog, which is just as much fun!

      I really enjoy researching definitions and quoting a suitable reference to illustrate the word or phrase, although it would be rather nice to think that I am going to remember my newly expanded vocabulary beyond the duration of the post 🙁

      Enjoy your weekend 🙂

    • Hi Kathy,

      I’m still not certain that I completely understand either the definition of neoplatonic, or the context in which the author uses it. However, as these areas of history and religion are not really within my interest or comfort zone, it is perhaps more a matter of not putting myself out to fully comprehend, if that doesn’t sound too bad or lazy!

      I do love a good discussion, which is why I don’t tend to post quite as often as some of my fellow bloggers, as it takes me so much longer to respond to all the great comments I receive. Talking too much has always been my downfall, right back from my school days, when I had more raps over the knuckles with a ruler, than I care to remember.

      Thanks for continuing to host WWW, I always look forward to stopping by with my links 🙂

    • Hi Kristen,

      Prosopagnosia is a very atmospheric word, isn’t it? and definitely much kinder to use than ‘face blindness’, don’t you think?

      As you say, a great word for inclusion in a thriller dialogue, although a bit worrying if it is being used to describe a law officer investigating a crime! Imagine not being able to recognize the villain, from one day to the next!

      Luckily the character is only studying prosopagnosia for a thesis.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

  • Great words Yvonne. Interesting about Neoplatonism in the 3rd century AD. How fascinating about Prosopagnosia, I had never heard of that.
    Hope you are having a great week and reading good books 🙂

    • Hi Naida,

      I can see where the term Neoplatonism (I much prefer that to Neoplatonic) would have been derived from.

      However I do wonder at the origin of many of the convoluted and complicated medical words and terms, used to describe something which, in many cases, already has a much simpler and infinitely more straightforward explanation, which a layperson can understand.

      Perhaps face-blindness isn’t the most appropriate way to describe such a frustrating and emotionally disturbing illness as prosopagnosia, however there probably is a middle of the road balance to be struck between the two extremes, don’t you think? 🙂

  • I remember studying prosopagnosia in a neuroscience class (a class that generally impressed me with how much we take for granted when the brain is going about its business, doing what it should). And if I remember right, I think it appears in Oliver Sacks’ book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

    I’d never heard of infirmarian. That would be a tricky one to use outside of a historical novel.

    • Hi Hila,

      The brain is just impressive – period!

      The information we can recall and the way in which parts of the brain can compensate for other areas which are damaged, either permanently or temporarily, whilst the damage is healing, is simply amazing.

      I wonder if we will ever understand all the complex workings of this relatively small piece of advanced technology?

      I’m not certain I could plow my way through the Oliver Sacks book, as interesting as it sounds, but reading from it in small chunks might be an option!

      It sounds as though infirmarian is specifically linked to a religious context, in the case of this book, monks. So I guess that outside of a historical novel, religious, or historical piece of non-fiction, it isn’t really going to be a relevant word, although I would love to be abl to use it, as it sounds great!

      Thanks for the interesting conversation and for taking the time to stop by 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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