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Written by Arnie Perlstein
(2/28/2007 7:35 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Malapropism or not?, penned by Elena
My favorites among these malapropisms are those where there is more than just a simple reversal (e.g., controvertible for incontrovertible, or malevolence for benevolence), but where the word Mrs. M uses gives a meaning subversive of the intended meaning. That is a lesson that Sheridan learned from Shakepeare, and that JA learned from both Shakespeare and Sheridan!
In particular, I love "I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning", because its unintentional meaning is that Mrs. M would wish no progeny (or offspring) of herself to be a prodigy of learning!
Less exquisite, but still very nice, are "to illiterate him" and "an object not altogether illegible", which both fit with the attempted censorship of Lydia's reading, and "she might reprehend the true meaning of what she is saying", i.e., that her hypothetical daughter might hate what Mrs M is trying to teach her.
And finally I agree that "contagious countries" is very snortworthy!
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