The Anatomy of Swearing
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001 - 370 páginas
Although the act of swearing, or cursing, has today been reduced to the four-letter interjection and unimaginative put-down, this has not always been the case. Elegant, sublime oaths and vicious imprecations mark the history of human conduct and language. Shedding light on the forbidden, misunderstood, and clandestinely pursued forms of interpersonal communication, The Anatomy of Swearing uniquely documents the history of taboo words and phrases. It presents the curious inquirer with a summary of what the best minds and most accomplished practitioners of the art have said and done inventively in the form of indiscrete, insulting, spiteful, or otherwise objectionable speech.
Swearing is one of the most cathartic and common modes of language. Montagu examines the genre in all its aspects--its origins, philosophy, and psychology--as well as its evolution and differing manifestations in various ages and cultures. Montagu demonstrates that the human race, regardless of time and culture, has always used invective to lighten its burden. The Anatomy of Swearing traces this phenomenon from the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, and Babylonians through Elizabethan England to the middle class of contemporary America.
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The Curse and the Oath
Why Do Men Swear? The Physiology
Their Sources and
Before the Reformation
Swearing in Shakespeare
Swearing in the Seventeenth Century
Swearing in the Eighteenth Century
Swearing in the Nineteenth Century
The Natural History of a Word
The FourLetter Words