Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Potterism: Rose Macaulay

Potterism is Macaulay's word for "the mixture of humbug, sentimentality, commercialism and genuine feeling" which doesn't otherwise have a name but which one recognises as a thing which should have a name when one encounters it in the pages of the Daily Mail.  I'm sure she hoped her coinage would stick (and it may have had a bit of slangly currency for a while) but in the end the book that launched it wasn't strong enough to hold it in the public mind and keep it there. This is a pity. It would be good to have a single word with which to pin the thing down.

Untypically for Macaulay it's an angry book-  with something that feels a lot like self-disgust taking the place of her usual detached amusement.  It came out just after the First World War which may be the explanation. There are few characters to like.  After a while it turns into a sort of half-hearted murder mystery.

Potterism the word didn't catch on, Potterism the book is a relative failure (though very readable), but Potterism- the thing itself- flourishes over these defeats in unknowing self-delight.

  • Dickens Marathon: Progress Report

    I read A Christmas Carol yesterday in the course of an afternoon and evening. Tremendous isn't it! Next up is Martin Chuzzlewit- a book…

  • Convulvulus

    One of the things I do when I'm walking round the garden is pull up bindweed. I feel a little bad about this because bindweed is also a living…

  • Still On Course

    My project to read Dickens' major novels, straight through, in order of publication, nearly foundered on Barnaby Rudge, but I turned the final…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.