Friday, 17 April 2009


Yesterday at Capuchin Classics we had the great pleasure of being joined for lunch by Jeremy Paxman, Julie Myerson and Kirsty Gunn.  What, I hear you shrewdly enquiring, links this trio, apart from their talent, intelligence and charm.  The answer is that each of them has contributed a foreword to one or more of our books, namely and respectively Gulliver's Travels, Shirley's Guild and (two for Ms Gunn) The Green Hat and Potiki.

As has always been the case with these gatherings, the conversation covered a wide spectrum of subjects, from the shared histories of houses to the state of publishing today.  A particularly fertile topic was language and how it changes: what, if anything, do we lose, for example, when a word radically changes meaning (e.g. how do we, or do we at all, describe people or situations which once would have been called 'gay').  This led Jeremy to suggest that the Capuchin blog should run a 'word of the day' feature, in order to disseminate the joy and utility of lesser known words and to encourage and provoke their use.  Without, therefore, further ado, let me introduce the first...


Epicaricacy.  This is a word which Jeremy revealed as the nearest one-word English equivalent to the German term Schadenfreude (which, as any fule kno, means the taking of pleasure in other's misfortunes).  Your mission now is to casually insert this word into everyday conversation and watch it blossom and flourish through the language.

Good luck.


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