Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday: On The Road

Ugh. It looks like On the Road is a bit of a stinker. Some of my son's equally film fanatic friends are seeing it tonight;  they're the demographic for sure - 20 year old young men, like my boy,  - so I'm curious to hear what they think but the critics and audiences weighing in on Rotten Tomatoes are less than friendly.
I guess I'll wait to see what my son's friends think before shelling out my $13. In the meantime I decided to turn back to the source. I lost my copy long, long ago; all that remains is a hazy memory so rereading is in order.
The prose is just as fresh and fast as ever and I've encountered a few words perfect for the Wondrous Words Wednesday meme hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. It's a weekly meme where we share new words from our reading. I'll get to the words in a bit but I wanted to share some info I learned about the book cover on the right. It's the cover drawn by hand by Kerouac himself.  According to Dan Colman at OpenCulture, Kerouac was none too pleased with the cover of his first book, The Town and the City in 1950 so he decided to design his own cover when he started shopping On the Road around in 1952.  In the picture you can see he typed a note directly onto his design which he sent with his manuscript to A.A. Wyn for consideration. Wyn turned it down and the novel wasn't published until 1957. Click this link to see a whole host of covers from around the world. According to Colman, this is the lot!

And here's what the note says 

Dear Mr. Wyn:
I submit this as my idea of an appealing commercial cover expressive of the book. The cover for “The Town and the City” was as dull as the title and the photo backflap. Wilbur Pippin’s photo of me is the perfect On the Road one … it will look like the face of the figure below.
J.K.

Okay, now to the words ... 
suppurated: "When Remi opened it he saw a haggard face suppurated with hatred and dull fury."
It means to produce or discharge pus, as a wound. I assumed it meant something like saturated with hatred. Once I looked it up, I appreciated the actual meaning and Kerouac's use of it is perfect. I can picture this guy just oozing and sweating rage out of every pore.

hincty: "They milled around, looking at one another.  Handsome queer boys who had come to Hollywood to be cowboys walked around, wetting their eyebrows with hincty fingertips."
Hincty entered the vocabulary in the 1920's; it means conceited or snobbish. I'm not sure what snobbish fingertips are but I like the image.

for the last word, I need your help!
lullal: "Johnny and Terry came waving at me across the field in the hot lullal noon and pitched in with me"
I can't find it online at all. Does anyone know what it means? And have you seen the movie?


5 comments:

  1. Great words. Hincty even sounds kind of snobbish, don't you think? I'm no help with lullal, but could it be related to lull? The flatness of noon?

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    1. Ah that makes sense. Lull= calm, quiet so I can see how the hot 'lullal' noon make sense, especially as this scene takes place in the mid-summer in the heat and farmland quiet of central California. Thanks Paulita. Of course Kerouac would go ahead and create an adjective out of 'lull' if that's what fits the scene.

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  2. The first thing that struck me was that you pay $13 to see a movie! Wow, I think it's $7.50 here.

    All of your words are new to me. I tried to find a definition for lullal and couldn't. Keep us posted if you find a definition.

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    Replies
    1. The perks of living in a big city, big ticket prices! I'm looking forward to being a senior and saving a buck.

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  3. Suppurated was an easy one for me, but the other two are new. I like the sound of hincty actually.

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