Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Day I Fell in Love with the Word Anathema

I was chatting last night with Bonnie from A Backwards Story and she told me she'd never been aware of the word anathema until my book came out. I told her the story of the day I learned it and she asked if I'd ever talked about it on my blog. Bonnie's such an awesome genius, isn't she?

It shouldn't surprise you that my major in college was medieval history. One semester I took a graduate-level Art History class focusing on medieval manuscripts. The University of Illinois has many, many libraries (one of which I worked in for two years) and one of the greatest collections of books in the world. If you ever have a chance to tour the stacks, please do it. If you're a book lover, you'll leave your heart there.

Anyway, one of the libraries at U of I is The Rare Book and Manuscript Library. During my art history class we took a trip one day to the rare book room. We were all given gloves to wear because we were allowed to touch medieval manuscripts (oils from our skin can damage old manuscripts). What an absolute joy. I'll never forget that day.

Our prof wanted to show us one particular manuscript. On one of the first pages was a curse, warning anyone who might steal or defile the manuscript that they would be forever doomed. It was quite spectacular. My prof explained that this was called an anathema.

In that moment I fell in love with the word anathema. I'm a bit of a word nerd. I buy the Forgotten English word-a-day calendar every year and I keep a pile of words I love.

I'm you have a favorite word or am I just a word-weirdo? LOL!


  1. It truly is a beautiful word. I had to google the meaning of it, when I came across your book. :)

  2. I troll the thesaurus every day. You are not the only word lover! My current favorite word is quixotic. Named our publishing company after it.

  3. I love this story. I'm so glad I inspired you to share it on your blog! I can totally pciture this scene in my head. You should write a novel with such a scene one day. Can you imagine the possibilities?

  4. I teach the Canterbury Tales, so I'm familiar with some Medieval terms. Victuals for food is cute. And quim for a woman's anatomy is different.