In 1923 A. E. Housman published a review of F. A. Simpson's Louis Napoleon and the Recovery of France 1848-1856. In the course of the review (be it noted – of a book written by one of his colleagues at Trinity College, Cambridge) he criticises "the slang with which Mr Simpson now and then defiles his pen".
Here too, as everywhere, are the daisies and dandelions of contemporary metaphor. Till I read p. 241 I did not know that a storm could have an aftermath nor that an aftermath could reach a throne; but I have since found the same blend of meteorology and agriculture in a novel of Mr Hugh Walpole's—though the aftermath is there a 'faint' on and so no throne is threatened.*
Compared to that Housman might regard the following as (to defile my keyboard with slang) shooting fish in a barrel. A while ago I mentioned the bargain offer by the SMH of three metaphors for the price of one. Today you can add some unique (let us hope) pieces to your collection.
In addition, our friends at PS Publishing will be releasing two Anniversary King Editions with facsimile signatures, and print runs projected to be as low as 300-400 copies.
I am a careless user of slang, but I was surprised to discover an intro being "helmed". Who is in the rigging or the engine room? What is Cookey up to in the galley?
Meanwhile, I recently had occasion to watch Sky News. It was just before Australia Day and the Commonwealth Treasurer**, Wayne Swan, "moved to reinvigorate the debate around whether Australia should become a republic".
Non-Australian readers need to know that Australia Day, on 26th January, commemorates the landing of the First Fleet on that day in 1788, founding the Colony of New South Wales and the beginning of modern Australia. You now know more than the average Australian, who may well tell you it is something to do with Captain Cook (who had visited these parts eighteen years earlier).
Australia Day has many traditions. Just as at Thanksgiving, when Americans like to gather as a family and declare their thanks for blessings received, so on Australia Day (or usually "in the run up to" for greater publicity), local bigwigs like to have a go at Australia's Constitution, Crown or Flag – insisting that, despite the referendum of 1999, one or all of the three must be changed. This year it was Mr Swan's turn. Perish the thought it might be something to do with his government's standing in the polls.
Anyway, have a look at the following video, from Sky News 25th January 2013. It is the introductory matter to an interview with David Morris of the Australian Republican Movement. The presenter is discussing Swan's article with another journalist.
Note "reignited the debate" straight out of the gate at 0:00. Then the presenter asks how serious Wayne Swan is about "reigniting some of the momentum" (0:15) of the republican debate. Her interlocutor acknowledges that the Bodyline Series "helped forge...some sort of splitting" (0:42) between Australia and the UK and "really did divide a wedge" (0:49) between the two countries.
You may not know that you could set fire to a debate or to momentum, but you can certainly set fire to them again. Funnily enough, dividing a wedge is pretty much what happened. Since republicanism was introduced into Australia in the early 90s by then PM Paul Keating precisely to use it as a wedge to divide his conservative opponents, and since the monarchists won in 1999, because they were able to divide the faux republicans (whose sole interest was abolishing the monarchy) from the real republicans (who actually believed in republicanism as practised in places like Switzerland or the US) then I guess you could say the wedge was divided.
*The Cambridge Review 25 May 1932, p.379, reprinted in A. E. Housman Selected Prose, Cambridge 1961, III.16 p.123. The novel by Hugh Walpole which Housman mentions isThe Cathedral (1922) and the "faint aftermath" is on p.335. According to the interwebs Walpole was wildly fashionable in the early twentieth century.
** See? the tug of elegant variation, just like brand new introduction—helming the intro, I could not simply say Australian Treasurer because that would be too soon after Australia Day.