Oddly, given Bang's stated aims, she's happy to court obscurity. She says that the she-wolf that detains the pilgrim outside the wood has a "bitch-kitty" face; Virgil tells the pilgrim to climb the "meringue-pie mountain" that lies ahead. "Bitch-kitty" gets an explanatory footnote: Bang says it's something she found in the Dictionary of American Slang. My edition of that book says "bitch kitty" was a phrase of the nineteen-thirties and forties. (Roughly, it meant a "humdinger.") Did Bang expect today's readers to know it? Not really, it seems. She says that she wants these oddities to be fleeting pleasures for us. To me, they're not pleasures, but just oddities, something like finding a Tootsie Roll in the meat loaf.

(joan acocella, from "what the hell," on new translations of dante's divine comedy, new yorker 05.27.13)
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17 beats. said...

i'm too drunk to understand most of this. my late grandmother said 'humdinger' all the time.

lauren said...

that's mantralike in the best possible way. i think i might steal it and deploy it the next time a distant facebook friend posts a photo of their sleeping newborn child dressed as, say, the easter bunny.

topical: at work yesterday i rejected a quote edit which changed "my grandmother" to "my grandma." possibly fine, but you'd need to check with the source; some people are very picky about the words they use for relatives.

LPC said...

Is number 12 reading the George Martin book?

lauren said...

(bumped the answer to the previous post.)