27 April 2013

on pulcritude

Having used derivatives of the word pulcritude twice this week in very different contexts I decided to blog about it. I like the English language. I like all its subtleties, many of which are sadly lost on people who neither listen nor care to expand their understanding.

The more people tell me that my Italian is lacking and English is easy, the more I want to shout "To speak and understand English in all its complexity is NOT easy! You have no idea of how much you don't know!" And so words like pulcritudinous float into my mind.

I decided to write a blog about it, but a quick search showed me that this blogger has already written a better post  than I was planning to write.

We all have our own interpretations of words. For me, the adjective pulcritudinous brings up visions of a Rubens type of beauty. It works for me, somehow. Maybe that is because of my introduction to the word.

I remember very well the first time I met the word outside the covers of a book (and by association that might be why it is so much in my mind at the moment). An artist wanted to paint me nude, because of my "beauty", but I turned him down. I suspect that his motives were more that he wanted to ogle my pulcritude. He painted me nude anyway, from his imagination. With very beautifully painted curves. Flattering, or kind of creepy? I still haven't decided. The painting is hidden away in a garage in NZ. I was never quite comfortable with his view of me.

But thanks, Bill, so many many years later, for giving me the word pulcritude.

Today I am grateful for  the English language.

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