Friday, March 28, 2014

Word of the day: illeism

Found while browsing Bryan Garner’s Garner’s Modern American Usage (2009):

illeism /il-ee-iz-em/. Reference to oneself in the third person, either by the third-person pronoun (he, she) or by name or label. Two examples. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (1598), the eponymous character consistently uses illeism, saying at one point: “Caesar should be a beast without a heart / If he should stay at home today for fear” (2.2.42-43). In the 1996 presidential election, the Republican candidate, Bob Dole, was widely lampooned for his illeism (“Let me tell you what Bob Dole thinks.”).
I just met up again with the fictional illeist Uncle Doc Hines, a misogynist racist religious fanatic in William Faulkner’s Light in August (1932):
“It was the Lord. He was there. Old Doc Hines give God His chance too. The Lord told Uncle Doc what to do and Old Doc Hines done it.”
And so on.

Related reading
All OCA Garner-related posts (Pinboard)

[Orange Crate Art is a Garner-friendly site.]

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