Classic Words

Author: Thompson, Michael Clay

Subjects: Language Arts; Teacher Resources; Vocabulary

Order code: 2192

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

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Classic Words Cover

Michael Clay Thompson spent more than a decade recording the words used in the great classics of English and American literature, as well as the instances of their use. In this book he explores the language of the classics, with separate chapters for the most important words as revealed by his research: countenance, profound, manifest, serene, sublime, prodigious, acute, clamor, exquisite, languor, grotesque, condescend, allude, odious, placid, incredulous, tremulous, visage, singular, venerate. Each chapter includes an in-depth look at the way the word is used in the classics and by whom.

How did Michael arrive at these words? This is from his introduction: "...I developed a computer database in which I collected the thousands of vocabulary examples I found [in classic literature]. In my computer, I entered the word, the sentence the word was in, the chapter, author, and title. King Lear took me 251 entries. Orwell’s 1984 took 315 entries. The Great Gatsby took 232 entries. Some summers, I typed these words for hours every day. Ten years later, I had collected 21,000 examples of words from seventy-six classics, and at last I have a sample large enough to know, with certainty, that some words are found in most of the best books in English and American literature. These classic words—words so venerable that they have become classics in themselves—are important to the profound understanding of most good novels, plays, poems, and essays and should be known to all of us as we embark on our journey through good literature."

The book ends with a list of the 100 most frequently used words in the classics.

Michael Clay Thompson spent more than a decade recording the words used in the great classics of English and American literature, as well as the instances of their use. In this book he explores the language of the classics, with separate chapters for the most important words as revealed by his research: countenance, profound, manifest, serene, sublime, prodigious, acute, clamor, exquisite, languor, grotesque, condescend, allude, odious, placid, incredulous, tremulous, visage, singular, venerate. Each chapter includes an in-depth look at the way the word is used in the classics and by whom.

How did Michael arrive at these words? This is from his introduction: "...I developed a computer database in which I collected the thousands of vocabulary examples I found [in classic literature]. In my computer, I entered the word, the sentence the word was in, the chapter, author, and title. King Lear took me 251 entries. Orwell’s 1984 took 315 entries. The Great Gatsby took 232 entries. Some summers, I typed these words for hours every day. Ten years later, I had collected 21,000 examples of words from seventy-six classics, and at last I have a sample large enough to know, with certainty, that some words are found in most of the best books in English and American literature. These classic words—words so venerable that they have become classics in themselves—are important to the profound understanding of most good novels, plays, poems, and essays and should be known to all of us as we embark on our journey through good literature."

The book ends with a list of the 100 most frequently used words in the classics.

Classic Words Cover

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The top 100 words in MCT's Classic Words database:

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