Top 10 words from Frederik L. Schodt

Cover of Frederik L. Schodt's Dreamland JapanOut of the many authors who publish on comics, Frederik L. Schodt is one of the few with a truly distinct writing style – neither academic nor fannish, neither highbrow nor colloquial, his writings are full of rather obscure words, some of which I have never seen anywhere else. Recently I re-read the beginning of his book Dreamland Japan, and while doing so, just for fun,* assembled this list of my favourite eccentric words therein and their meanings (as far as I could find out):

to accord – p. 19: “Japan is the first nation in the world to accord ‘comic books’ […] nearly the same social status as novels and films.” – to grant, to give.

bone-crushing – p. 28: “Yet along with this celebration of the ordinary is the bone-crushing reality that the vast majority of manga border on trash.” – back-breaking, depressing (cf. German: ‘erdrückend’).

hari-kari – p. 11: “in due time both words [manga and anime] will undoubtedly be listed in the standard English dictionary along with other Japanese imports like ‘hari-kari’ and ‘karaoke.'” – variant of harakiri (ritual suicide).

finicky – p. 13: “In Japan, people’s names are usually listed with the family name first and the given name last. Certain academic types in the English-speaking world are rather finicky about this convention and insist on preserving it even in English texts” – difficult to please, demanding.

to flounder – p. 34: “Japanese people have floundered about trying to the right term to describe the sequential picture-panels that tell a story.” – to struggle.

full-figured – p. 26: “Japanese manga offer far more visual diversity than mainstream American comics, which […] still reveal an obsession with muscled males and full-figured females” – according to Wiktionary, ‘full-figured’ means ‘fat’ or ‘plump’, but here it’s probably used in the sense of ‘curvaceous’ or ‘voluptuous’.

persnickety – p. 14: “Fans of Japanese manga (even more than academics) can be a rather persnickety and unforgiving lot” – see finicky.

profuse – p. 15: “Profuse thanks are offered to all who helped.” – plenty, abundant.

raga-like – p. 14: “[…] with raga-like stories that may continue for thousands of pages” – maybe Schodt means, ‘as lengthy as an Indian epic (raga)’?

satori-like – p. 21: “his face lit up in a satori-like realization” – (Buddhist) enlightenment.


* On the other hand, this little exercise can also be seen as a tentative reflection on the serious topic of academic writing style and the way in which we, as scholars, communicate our findings.
Advertisements


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s