One Word Obsession

27 Apr

monomaniac – n.  a person obsessed with one idea or subject

Classical Usage:  It might be easier to tell you where Melville didn’t use this word than to track down the oodles and scads of places where he did.  My endnotes did have something interesting to say about his overuse use of the word:  “Given Ishmael’s casual and familiar use of this term, it is perhaps surprising to learn that in 1851 the word was of fairly recent origin; it was coined in 1823 by the French psychiatrist Jean Esquirol.

Classically Mad Usage:  Monomaniac is to Melville as ignominy is to Hawthorne.  Guess I’d better find a theme song.


Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Moby-Dick


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3 responses to “One Word Obsession

  1. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Are we allowed to use monomaniacal?

  2. Christina Joy

    April 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    You are free to use whatever form you like. I have a particular favorite form I’ll be using later.


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