Tuesday, October 16, 2012

word of the day: alterity

The word of the day is alterity:
Etymology:  < Middle French alterité (French altérité ) state of being different, otherness (a1481, subsequently from 1697; 1270 in Old French in a philosophical context in sense ‘change, alteration’) or its etymon post-classical Latin alteritat-, alteritas state of being different, otherness (4th cent.) < classical Latin alter other (see alter n.) + -itās -ity suffix, after ancient Greek ἑτερότης
The fact or state of being other or different; diversity, difference, otherness; an instance of this. (OED)

"You’ll come to realize why Blyton is a controversial figure (for entirely understandable reasons, such as her use of racist terms and figures like the golliwog), but what strikes you at this first reading is the disparity between her tone of comfortable and sedate fabulism and the shocking alterity she depicts."

 - China Miéville, "Forward thinking", 4 & 11 June 2012 The New Yorker

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