Category Archives: Literature

Aladdin Was a Chinese, Not an Arab!


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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When you hear the name Aladdin (Arabic: علاء الدين‎), immediately what comes to our mind is the story of a youth and the wonderful magic lamp. It is one of the best known Middle Eastern folk tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights which is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English-language edition (c. 1706 – c. 1721), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment.

The story of “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” was not in the original collection of “The Arabian Nights“. There is no evidence among the Arabic sources for the magical tale.

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Presumed Portrait of Antoine Galland (1646-1715) by Philippe de Champaigne.

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Antoine Galland, a Frenchman, translated “The Arabian Nights” into French. He called his book “Les Mille et Une Nuits“. He incorporated the tale of “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” in his volumes ix and x, published in 1710.

In his diary, in the entry made on March 25, 1709, Galland wrote that he met the Maronite scholar named Youhenna Diab (“Hanna”). This scholar was brought from Aleppo to Paris by Paul Lucas, the celebrated French traveller. Galland says he heard the story of Aladdin from Hanna.

According to Antoine Galland, Aladdin was a Chinese, not an Arab.

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Aladdin in the Magic Garden, an illustration by Max Liebert from Ludwig Fulda's Aladin und die Wunderlampe.
Aladdin in the Magic Garden, an illustration by Max Liebert from Ludwig Fulda’s Aladin und die Wunderlampe.

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The story is set in China, and Aladdin is a Chinese youth. Most of the characters in this Middle Eastern tale have Arabic names. The emperor in this tale seems more like an Arab ruler than a Chinese emperor. There is a Jewish merchant who cheats Aladdin after buying his wares, but there is no mention of Buddhists or Confucians. This suggests that the storyteller had only a sparse knowledge of China. He was unaware of the existence of the New World. To him, Aladdin’s “China” was “the Utter East” and the sorcerer’s homeland in the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) was “the Utter West”.

Some commentators suggest the story was set in Turkestan that encompasses Central Asia and the modern Chinese province of Xinjiang.

I believe the narrator of the Aladdin tale had without qualms used an exotic setting as a common storytelling device.

Here is the story of “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” in a summarized form:

Aladdin, an impoverished youth, lives in a Chinese town. A sorcerer from the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) approaches Aladdin and his mother. He introduces himself as the brother of  Aladdin’s late father Mustapha the tailor. He promises Aladdin’s mother that he would set up the youth as a merchant.

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The Sorcerer tricks Aladdin into believing that he is his true Paternal Uncle. (Aladin - illustré par Albert Robida - Paris - Imagerie merveilleuse de l'Enfance - Illustration de la page 4)
The Sorcerer tricks Aladdin into believing that he is his true Paternal Uncle. (Aladin – illustré par Albert Robida – Paris – Imagerie merveilleuse de l’Enfance – Illustration de la page 4)

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The sorcerer’s real motive was to retrieve a wonderful lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave with the help of young Aladdin. He lends Aladdin a magic ring for protection.

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The Sorcerer traps Aladdin in the magic cave. (Aladin - illustré par Albert Robida - Paris - Imagerie merveilleuse de l'Enfance - Illustration de la page 1)
The Sorcerer traps Aladdin in the magic cave. (Aladin – illustré par Albert Robida – Paris – Imagerie merveilleuse de l’Enfance – Illustration de la page 1)

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As soon as Aladdin retrieves the lamp from the cave the sorcerer double-crosses him and traps Aladdin in the magic cave.

Fortunately, the sorcerer’s magic ring is with Aladdin. When Aladdin rubs his hands in despair, he rubs the ring inadvertently. A jinnī (or “genie”) appears and takes him home to his mother. Aladdin gives the dirty lamp to his mother. When the mother tries to clean the lamp, a genie more powerful than the genie of the ring appears and declares that he is bound to do the biddings of the person currently holding the lamp.

With the help of the genie of the lamp, Aladdin becomes rich and powerful. He marries Princess Badroulbadour, the Emperor’s daughter. The genie of the lamp builds Aladdin a magnificent palace more luxurious than that of the Emperor.

The sorcerer returns. As Aladdin’s wife is unaware of the lamp’s importance, the sorcerer tricks her to part with the old lamp by offering to exchange “new lamps for old“.

The sorcerer then orders the genie of the lamp to move Aladdin’s palace along with all its contents, including the princess, to the Maghreb.

Aladdin gets help from the lesser powerful genie of the magic ring. The genie transports Aladdin to the Maghreb where he recovers the wonderful lamp and kills the sorcerer in battle. Aladdin then asks the genie of the lamp to move the palace along with all its contents, including the princess, back to its proper place.

The sorcerer’s more powerful and evil brother disguises himself as an old woman known for her healing powers. The princess falls for his disguise and commands the “old woman” to stay in her palace to cure anyone who falls ill.

The genie of the lamp warns Aladdin about the sorcerer masquerading as the ‘old woman’. Aladdin slays the imposter. Aladdin succeeds to his father-in-law’s throne and everyone lives happily ever after.

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“A Christmas Carol ” by Charles Dickens Revived the Spirit of Christmas


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj.

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that–as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time.” – Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
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Here is the preface written by Charles Dickens for the memorable Christmas story of all time, “A Christmas Carol” published on December 17, 1843:

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.
Their faithful Friend and Servant,
C. D.
December, 1843.

Through this novella, Charles Dickens was the first person to introduce the phrase “Merry Christmas” to English. This masterpiece also added the name “Scrooge” and the exclamation “Bah! Humbug!” to the English vernacular.

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Charles Dickens by Frith (1859)
Charles Dickens by Frith (1859)

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Charles Dickens (born Charles John Huffam Dickens, February 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870), an English writer and social critic rose from a downtrodden family background. His early experience of a life of poverty and deprivation helped him create some of the most memorable characters of all time.

During his later life, Charles Dickens enjoyed unprecedented fame through his works, and by the twentieth century, he was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars as a literary genius. Even now, readers consider Dickens as one of the greatest writers of the Victorian Period. His novels and short stories are still widely popular. His works include A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Hard Times, and many more.

Charles Dickens concerned about poor children wanted to publish a pamphlet titled “An Appeal to the People of England, on Behalf of the Poor Man’s Child,”  to draw the attention of workers and employers to the plight of poor children. Instead, he wrote A Christmas Carol, for he thought that an irresistible Christmas story with a plot that highlighted the struggles of the poor would have a better and broader appeal.

Dickens started writing A Christmas Carol in October 1843 and finished it by the end of November, in time to be published for Christmas. The book was illustrated by John Leech.

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Title page of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (First edition 1843)
Title page of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (First edition 1843)

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It was published in early Victorian Era Britain, a period when people longed for the old nostalgic Christmas traditions. It was at this time that new customs, such as Christmas trees and greeting cards were introduced.

Dickens’ sources for the powerful, impressive, and enduring tale appear to be many and varied. He leaned on Washington Irving’s essays on Christmas published in his Sketch Book in 1820, describing the traditional old English Christmas; various Christmas stories, fairy tales and nursery stories; as well as satirical essays and religious tracts. However, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, the plight of the poor and their children during the boom decades of the 1830s and 1840s, impelled him to write the book.

The book’s first run of 6,000 copies sold out before Christmas Eve, and by the following May seven editions sold out. However, it did not produce a windfall for Dickens, who paid the original production costs due to a dispute with his publisher.

A Christmas Carol tells the story of the bitter old miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from supernatural visits by Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Past, Present, and Yet to Come Christmases. The novella was an instant success and received wide critical acclaim. It became the most popular Christmas tale ever to be written. Dickens never anticipated that his characterization of Tiny Tim, the embodiment of England’s poor children, and the personification of Scrooge modeled after his estranged father, would receive such an accolade from his readers.

Many have credited A Christmas Carol with reviving the spirit of Christmas celebration, after a period of sobriety and sombreness, as one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America.

A Christmas Carol has been adapted in numerous plays, operas, ballets and films. It is in its 24th edition. It is estimated that about five billion copies have been sold to date.

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A Christmas Carol - Wall Paper

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Am I a Wise Moron?


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Recently I came across the following in Facebook:

Oxymorons

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines ostensibly contradictory terms. Appropriately, the word oxymoron is itself oxymoronic because it is formed from two Greek roots of opposite meaning: ὀξύς (oxus, “sharp, keen”) + μωρός (mōros, “dull, stupid”). Moros is the root of the word moron.

Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie in their work A Greek-English Lexicon illustrate an example of the Greek compound word ὀξύς-μωρος (English: pointedly foolish):

τὸ ὀξύμωρον” – a witty saying, the more pointed from being paradoxical or seemingly absurd, such as insaniens sapientia, strenua inertia, splendide mendax.

So, oxymoron is a single-word oxymoron consisting of two morphemes that are dependent in English similar to sophomore (literally “wise fool”). There are indeed many sophomoric sophomores.

Plural of oxymoron is oxymorons or oxymora. However, I prefer the word oxymora for the plural form.

In our daily life we use oxymora in many contexts, including inadvertent errors such as: open secret, clearly confused, act naturally, alone together and so on.

Many literary works contain literary oxymora. The 17th century literary work “Idylls of the King” by Lord Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland, has two oxymora:

And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.”

Some oxymora are crafted to show a paradox. On April 26, 2012, DiaNuke.org published an article titled:

Lessons of Chernobyl and Fukushima: Nuclear Safety is an Oxymoron

The most common form of an oxymoron involves an adjective–noun combination of two words.

dark light, living dead, guest host, little while, mad wisdom, mournful optimist, violent relaxation

Noun-verb combinations of two words also appear infrequently. For example: the line “The silence whistles” from Nathan Alterman’s Summer Night, and the title of a music record album – “Sounds of Silence“.

There are single-word oxymora composed of dependent morphemes:

pianoforte (“soft-loud”), preposterous (“before-after”), superette (“big-small”), etc.

Also, many single-word oxymora are composed of independent morphemes – two meaning-bearing elements that could each be a word in itself joined together to form a single word:

ballpoint, bittersweet, bridegroom, firewater, kickstand, someone, speechwriting, spendthrift, wholesome,etc.

Many oxymora are a pair of words:

awful(ly) good, barely clothed, benevolent despot, benign neglect, build-down, building wrecking, clearly obfuscating, damned good, deliberate speed, elevated subway, exactly wrong, far nearer, final draft, freezer burn, fresh frozen, growing small, hardly easy, idiot savant, industrial park, inside out, light heavyweight, little big, loyal opposition, mobile home, negative growth, old boy, one-man band, open secret, original copy, painfully beautiful, press release, random order, recorded live, sight unseen, small fortune, standard deviation, student teacher, terribly good, working vacation.

For a longer list of oxymora see my article titled “List of Some of the Many Oxymora I Have Come Across.

An oxymoron is not always a pair of words; they can also be devised in the semantics of sentences or phrases:

  • Andy Warhol: “I am a deeply superficial person.”
  • Anthony Haden-Guest: “Of course I can keep secrets. It’s the people I tell them to that can’t keep them.”
  • Arthur Baer: “She used to diet on any kind of food she could lay her hands on.”
  • Charles Lamb: “I like a smuggler. He is the only honest thief.”
  • Clara Barton: “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
  • Dolly Parton: “You’d be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap.”
  • Donald Trump: “The budget was unlimited, but I exceeded it.”
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay: “I like humanity, but I loathe persons.”
  • George Bernard Shaw: “Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.”
  • Henry Ford: “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”
  • Irene Peter: “Always be sincere, even though you do not necessarily mean it.”
  • Isaac B. Singer: “We must believe in free will. We have no choice.”
  • Josh Billings: “Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so.”
  • Lord Alfred Tennyson: “And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.”
  • Mark Twain: “I can resist everything but temptation.”
  • Mark Twain: “It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
  • Oscar Wilde: “I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.”
  • Oscar Wilde: “I can resist anything, except temptation.”
  • P.G. Wodehouse: “I generally advise persons never ever to present assistance.”
  • Samuel Goldwyn: “Modern dancing is so old fashioned.”
  • W.C. Fields: “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
  • Winston Churchill: “A joke is actually an extremely really serious issue.”
  • Winston Churchill: “I always avoid prophesying beforehand because it is much better to prophesy after the event has already taken place.”
  • Yogi Berra: “I never said most of the things I said.”
  • Yogi Berra: “Why don’t you pair ‘em up in threes?”

Here are some brightly forged oxymora penned by great English writers:

  • Byron: melancholy merriment
  • Chaucer: hateful good
  • Hemingway: scalding coolness
  • Milton: darkness visible
  • Pope: damn with faint praise
  • Shakespeare: parting is such sweet sorrow
  • Spenser: proud humility
  • Tennyson: falsely true
  • Thomson: expressive silence
Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn

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Polish-born American film producer Samuel Goldwyn (born Szmuel Gelbfisz c. July 1879 – January 31, 1974) was famous for his quick wit and humor. In 1913, Goldwyn along with his brother-in-law Jesse L. Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, and Arthur Friend formed a partnership, The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, the first feature motion picture company on the West Coast. to produce feature length motion pictures.

Once, Samuel Goldwyn commented: “Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.

When asked about his autobiography, Goldwyn replied: “I don’t think anybody should write his autobiography until after he’s dead.

When told his son was getting married, he quipped: “Thank heaven. A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.

Here are a few of Goldwyn’s funny oxymora:

  • A hospital is no place to be sick.
  • A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
  • Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.
  • Click the ‘Start’ button to shut down the computer.
  • Don’t worry about the war. It’s all over but the shooting.
  • Gentlemen, I want you to know that I am not always right, but I am never wrong.
  • Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day.
  • I can give you a definite perhaps.
  • I don’t think anyone should write their autobiography until after they’re dead.
  • I never liked you, and I always will.
  • I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.
  • I paid too much for it, but its worth it.
  • I was always an independent, even when I had partners.
  • I’ll give you a definite maybe.
  • If I could drop dead right now, I’d be the happiest man alive!
  • If you fall and break your legs, don’t come running to me.
  • If Roosevelt were alive, he’d turn over in his grave.
  • Include me out.
  • It’s absolutely impossible, but it has possibilities.
  • It’s more than magnificent – it’s mediocre.
  • Our comedies are not to be laughed at.
  • Spare no expense to save money on this one.
  • Tell them to stand closer apart.
  • The scene is dull. Tell him to put more life into his dying.
  • We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.

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List of Some of the Many Oxymora I Have Come Across


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Genuine Fake Watches

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines ostensibly contradictory terms. Appropriately, the word oxymoron is itself oxymoronic because it is formed from two Greek roots of opposite meaning: ὀξύς (oxus, “sharp, keen”) + μωρός (mōros, “dull, stupid”).

The most common form of oxymoron involves an adjective–noun combination of two words.

dark light, living dead, guest host, little while, mad wisdom, mournful optimist, violent relaxation

Plural of oxymoron is oxymorons or oxymora.

Why do writers use phrases that do not seem to be logical?

  1. To Create a Dramatic Effect: To call attention to a picture or a scenery the writer calls it “painfully beautiful!” or uses any such oxymoron to show that the object has two different qualities at the same time.
  2. To Add Flavour to Speech: A writer finds a new way to describe an individual by using an oxymoron such as “unpopular celebrity” or describes an object by using the oxymoron “naturally weird.”
  3. To Entertain: When the writer wants to be witty, he uses words that make people laugh. Oscar Wilde comically writes “I can resist anything, except temptation.”

I have listed below some of the many oxymora I have come across in my reading. If you think that any in this list is not an oxymoron, please let me know so that I can drop them. Also, if you do come across any other interesting oxymora other than what I have included in this list, please let me know so that I can add them.

A30

absolutely unsure, abundant poverty, accidentally on purpose, accurate estimate, accurate horoscope, accurate rumors, accurate stereotype, act naturally, active retirement, actual reenactment, adult children, Advanced BASIC, advanced beginner, all alone, almost exactly, alone together, altogether separate, amateur expert, amazingly awful, American English, amicable divorce, anarchy rules!, anonymous colleague, anti-missile missile, anxious patient, apathetic interest, appear invisible, approximate solution, approximately equal, arrogant humility, artificial grass, artificial intelligence, assistant supervisor, astronomically small, auto pilot, authentic replica, authentic reproduction, awfully good, awfully delicious, awfully lucky, awfully nice, awfully pretty

B30

baby giant, bad health, bad luck, bad sport, balanced insanity, ballpoint, baggy tights, bankrupt millionaire, barely clothed, barely dressed, beautifully painful, benevolent despot, benign neglect, big baby, bipartisan cooperation, birth control, bittersweet, blameless culprit, bland spice, boneless ribs, boring entertainment, born dead,  bridegroom, bug fix, build down, building wrecking, bureaucratic efficiencies, buried alive, burning cold, butt head

C30

calculated risk, calm storm, canned fresh, cautiously optimistic, center around, certain risk, certainly unsure, chaotic organization, cheerful pessimist, cheerful undertaker, cheerfully cynical, cheerfully mournful, chilling fever, civil engineer, civilized warfare, clean dirt, clean litter, clean toilet, clearly confused, clearly ambiguous, clearly confused, clearly misunderstood, clearly obfuscating, clever fool, climb down, clogged drain, closer apart, close distance, cluster bomb, co-ed fraternity, co-ed sorority, cold fever, cold hotdog, cold toast, comedic tragedy, comfortable tights, commercial art, common abnormality, common phenomenon, complete separation, completely destroyed, completely unfinished, component parts, compulsory volunteers, concrete pad, confident fear, conscripted volunteer, Conservative Democrat, conservative liberal, consistent discrepancies, consistent uncertainties, consistently inconsistent, conspicuously absent, constant change, constant infrequent, constant variable, constructive criticism, constructive negativity, continuing resolution, contra aid, contra assistance, controlled enthusiasm, controlled chaos, convergent evolution, countless numbers, cowardly lion, crash landing, creative destruction, criminal justice, crisis management, critical acclaim, cruel kindness, current history, curved Line

D30

daily special, damned good, dangerously safe, dark day, dark light, dark star, darkness visible, dead livestock, deaf listener, deafening silence, deeply superficial, defensive strike, deficit spending, definite maybe, definite perhaps, deliberate mistake, deliberate speed, deliberately thoughtless, delicious torment, demanding patient, deregulation law, detailed summary, devilish angel, devout atheist, different pattern, diligent sloth, diminishing growth, diminutive giants, dim light, dimwit, direct circumvention, disgustingly delicious, distant relative, divided unity, doing nothing, double solitaire, doubting believers, droning silence, dry ice, dry lake, dry pond, dry snow, dull knife, dull needle, dull roar, dynamic monotone, dynamic stability

E30

easy labor, educated guess, elevated subway, élite rabble, eloquent silence, energetic exhaustion, enormously small, entertaining sermon, enthusiastic indifference, equally diverse, essential luxury, eternal life, ethical hackers, even odds, exact estimate, exactly wrong, executive assistant, executive secretary, expected surprise, explicitly ambiguous, expressive silence, extinct life, expressive silence, extended deadline, extensive briefing

F30

fail safe, fairly accurate, fairly explicit, fairly obvious, fallout shelter, false fact, falsely true, famous-anonymous, farewell reception, far nearer, fast snail, fast turtle, fast walk, faultily faultless, fearful bravery, female gunman, fiberglass, fictional truth, fictional reality, fiery ice, final draft, finally again, fine mess, firewater, firm maybe, firm pillow, first annual, first conclusions, first deadline, flexible freeze, floppy disk, foreign national, forgotten memories, former native, former President-for-life, forward back, found missing, free credit, free election, free gift, free labor, free love, free prisoner, free purchase, free rent, free trade, freezer burn, fresh cheese, fresh dried-fruit, fresh frozen, friendly advice, friendly argument, friendly competitor, friendly divorce, friendly enemy, friendly fights, friendly fire, frightening comfort, front end, frugal gourmet, full-time hobby, future history, fuzzy logic

G30

gargantuan Lilliputian, gentle turbulence, gentleman bandit, genuine fake, genuine imitation, genuine imitation-leather, giant dwarf, gigantic microorganism, global village, going nowhere, good garbage, good grief, good junk, goodbye reception, graduate student, great depression, green oranges, gregarious recluse, grotesque beauty, growing smaller, guest host, gummily brittle

H30

half empty, half full, happily married, happy pessimist, hard cushion, hardly easy, harmless abuse, harmless lie, harmless sin, harmonious discord, hasten slowly, hatefully good, healthy chocolate, heavy diet, heavy gas, Hell’s Angels, high ground, holy hell, home office, honest convict, honest crook, honest liar, honest politician, honest thief, hopeful pessimist, hopelessly optimistic, horribly decent, hot chilli, house boat, huge shortage, human robot, humane robotics

I30

icy hot, idiot savant, idly laborious, ignorant professor, ill fortune, ill-health, impatient patient, important trivia, indifferently attentive, industrial park, inside out, initial conclusion, initial results, initial retirement, innocent criminal, insane logic, insanely normal, increasing declines, incredibly common, inside out, irate patient

J30

joyful trouble, jumbo shrimp, Jumpstart, junk food, just war

K30

kickstand, known covert-operation, kosher ham

L30

ladies man, larger half, last initial, least favorite, legitimate conspiracy, liberal conservative, liberal fundamentalists, light darkness, light heavyweight, linear curve, liquid crystal, liquid food, liquid gas, liquid metal, liquid smoke, literal interpretation, literary illiterates, little big, little giant, little pregnant, little while, live recording, living dead, local network, long brief, long shorts, loose tights, loud whisper, loud silence, lovers’ quarrel, low altitude, lower inflation, loyal opposition

M30

macro-microorganism, mad wisdom, major minority, man-child, mannish woman, marital bliss, massively thin, master slave, mature student, maxi thins, mean smile, meaningful nonsense, meatless meat, medium Large, melancholy merriment, melted Ice, mercy killing, metal woods, Mexican American, micro-mainframe, Middle East, midnight sun, mighty weak, mild abrasive, mild interest, militant pacifist, mini jumbo, minor crisis, misanthropic humanitarian, missing present, mobile home, modern tradition, modestly arrogant, more unique, mournful optimist, moving target, muscular fat, mute sound, mutual differences, mutually exclusive

N30

nameless celebrity, nasty politeness, Native American, natural artifact, natural makeup, natural synthetic, naturally strange, near future, near miss, neat mess, necessary evil, negative gain, negative growth, neutral charge, never again, never ever, new archeology, new classic, new cliche, new tradition, noble savage, noiseless sound, noisy mime, non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic wine, non-dairy creamer, non-denominational church, non-fat cream, non-stick glue, non-stick gum, non-stick velcro, non-stop flight, non-working mother, normal deviation, nothing much, noticeable absence, now then, nuclear defense, nuclear safety, numb feeling, numbing sensation

O30

obedient defiance, obscene art, obvious secret, obviously concealed, ocean shore, oddly appropriate, oddly natural, old boy, old fashion,  old newborn, old news, one-man band, once again, one choice, one-man band, one-person crew, only choice, open lock, open-minded, open secret, open-book test, opposite attraction, orderly confusion, organized anarchy, organized chaos, organized confusion, organized mess, original copy, original reprint, original reproduction, outer core, oven fried, oxymoron, oyster crackers

P30

paid volunteer, painfully beautiful, painless torture, painless dentistry, paper tablecloth, paper towel, parallel connection, Park Drive, partial cease-fire, parting is such sweet sorrow, peace force, partial conclusion, partial success, partly pregnant, passive aggression, passive aggressive, passive confrontation, past prediction, patriotic militia, peace force, peace offensive, peace riot, peaceful protests, Peacekeeper Missile, Peacekeeping Force, PeaceMaker missile, peasant king, perfect idiot, perfect misfit, perfectly awful, perfectly normal, perfectly ridiculous, perfect screw-up, permanent substitute, persistent ambivalence, personal business, petty cash, pianoforte, pious atheist, plain buttered-bagels, planned spontaneity, plastic flowers, plastic glasses, plastic silverware, plastic straw, plastic wood, player-coach, pleasant hell, pleasantly confused, pleasing pain, politely insulting, political ethics, political promise, political trust, pool table, poor rich-kid, positively negative, positively wrong, post-modern, pretty cruel, pretty ugly, pretty fierce, practice test, precious junk, predictably random, preliminary conclusion, premeditated spontaneity,  preposterous, press release, pretty bad, pretty disgusting, priceless junk, problem solved, pro-contra, procrastinate now, progressing backward, Progressive Conservative, proprietary standard, proud humility, public secret, pure evil, pure dirt, pure speculation

Q30

questionable answer, quiet hurricanes, quiet loudspeaker,quiet noise,quiet presence, quiet revolution, quiet riot, quiet scream, quiet storm, quiet tirade, quiet yell

R30

random logic, random orderrandomly organized, random pattern, real fantasy, real magic, real phony, real potential, realistic fantasy, realistic liberal, realistic simulation, reasonable fees, recent history, recently new, reckless caution, recoilless rifle, recorded live, recycling dump, red licorice, regular special, rehearsed improvisation, relative stranger, remember forgetting, remotely obvious, removable sticker, renegade lawmakers, required donation, required elective, resident alien, resolute ambivalence, restless sleep, retired Worker, rising deficits, roaring silence, rogue cop, rolling stop, round corner, round edges, routine emergency, routine surgery, rubber bones, rubber cement, run slowly, running idle, rush hour, rustic elegance

S30

sad clown, sad joy, sad optimist, sad smile, sadly amused, sadly funny, safe bet, safe guns, safe investment, safe sex, safe weapons, safety hazard, same difference, sanitary napkin, sanitary sewer, scalding coolness, scheduled spontaneity, school vacation, science fiction, scientific speculation, screaming silence,  scripted spontaneity,  seashore, second best, second initial, secret rumor, sedate sex, semiprecious, serious clown, serious comic, serious fun, serious humor, seriously funny, shabby chic, shared monopoly, sharp curve, short distance, shouting whispers, shyly pompous, sight unseen, silent alarm, silent applause, silent barber, silent cacophony, silent noise, silent scream, silent sound, silent speech, silent testimony, silent women, silent yell, simple calculus, simple procedure, simple plan, simple technology, simply superb, sincere lie, sinfully good, single copy, single diversity, single pair, sit up, slave master, sleep vigorously, slight exaggeration, slight hernia, slightly overweight, slightly pregnant, slow jet, slow jog, slow speed, slow-motion explosion, small crowd, smart fool, smart idiot, small fortune, small giant, smokeless cigarette, snow-white tan, soaring down, sober drunk, social hermit, social outcast, soft thunder, solid rumor, solo concert, solo ensemble, someone, sound of silence, sound-filled silence, specifically vague, spectator sport, speech writing, speed limit, spendthrift, splendidly dull, spoken thought, squared circle, staged accident, standard deviation, start stopping, static variable, stationary orbit, stealth bomber, steel wool, still moving, still wind, stop action, straight angle, straight hook, straight-forward, strangely familiar, student teacher, stunted growth, stupid genius, subtle exaggeration, successful suicide, sugarless candy, sun shade, superette, sure bet, sure guess, sweet pickle, sweet agony, sweet sorrow, sweet-tart, synthetic natural gas, systematic chaos, systematic disorder, systematic variance

T30

talking mime, tame beast, taped live, tense calm, terminal initialization, terribly enjoyable, terribly good, terribly nice, terribly pleased, thunderous silence, tight slacks, timeless moment, tiny mountain, toll free, tomorrow today, top floor, totalitarian democracy, totally partial, traditionally radical, tragic comedy, tranquil fiesta, transient stability, tremendously small, troubled paradise, true counterfeit, true fiction, true gossip, true illusion, true lies, true myth, true story, typically odd, typically weird

U30

unbelievably real, unbiased opinion, unbiased predisposition, uncommonly common, uncommonly normal, uncrowned king, undocumented report, uninvited guest, united anarchist, unique uniforms, unknown identity, unknown knowledge, upcoming downtrend, upside down, unpopular celebrity, unrepeatable pleonasm, unsalted saltines, unspoken suggestion, unsung hero, unusual routine, unwelcome greetings, usually unusual

V30

valuable junk, vegetarian meatball, venial sin, violent agreement, violent relaxation, virtual reality

W30

waking dream, walking dead, warm ice, waterproof sponge, weak muscle, wedded bliss, weekday, weirdly normal, well-preserved ruins, whole half, whole hemisphere, whole part, whole piece, whole percentage, wholesome, wickedly good, wordless book, working hobby, working holiday, working vacation, worst favorite, worthless gold

Y30

young adult, young sixty

Z30

zero deficit

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preposterous

“Originality Is Nothing But Judicious Imitation.” – Voltaire


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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François-Marie Arouet, better known by the pen name ‘Voltaire‘, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, freedom of expression, free trade, separation of church and state, and his attacks on the established Catholic Church.

Voltaire (1694 – 1778)
Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

In his opinion, the French bourgeoisie were too small and ineffective, the aristocracy were parasitic and corrupt, the commoners were superstitious and ignorant, and the church was a static force only useful as a counterbalance since its “religious tax”, or the tithe, helped to cement a power base against the monarchy.

Voltaire distrusted the democratic ways of governance. He said that democracy was propagating the idiocy of the masses. He essentially believed monarchy to be the key to progress and change.

Since the king’s rational interest was to improve the power and wealth of France in the world, Voltaire presumed that only an enlightened monarch, advised by philosophers like himself, could bring about change.

Voltaire is quoted as saying  that he “would rather obey one lion, than 200 rats (of his own species)“.

Today, Voltaire is remembered and honoured in France as a courageous polemicist, who tirelessly fought for civil rights, the right to a fair trial and freedom of religion, and who denounced the hypocrisies and injustices of the ancient regime.

Thomas Carlyle, who argued that while Voltaire was unsurpassed in literary form, not even the most elaborate of his works was of much value for matter, and that he had never come up with any significant idea of his own.

Voltaire had faced critics in his own life time. He retorted:

Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another. The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbor’s, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.

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