Wednesday, July 4, 2007


I finished reading The Turn of the Screw by Henry James last night. This short novel was originally published in 1898. It was a thrilling and captivating story, but it was a difficult read. The reason for that difficulty lay in the fact that the words were so foreign to me. It was in English, but in just 100 years so much has changed. Some words have taken on different meanings. (Intercourse meant just talking back then! wink!) Many other words he used were so formal and stiff. There were some that I didn't know the meaning of and had to use the context as a guide. It slowed me down considerably, when I would prefer to be able to plow through the text with ease. I confess, I looked up the cliff notes online just to make sure I had "gotten" the story.
So all this has made me wonder what it will be like 100 years from now when people are reading our current books. What words will have become obsolete. Which will have changed meanings? Will it change as drastically as in the past hundred years? Or will the rate of change be even more or quite less? Since I won't be here 100 years from now, I guess I'll never know. And it doesn't really matter much anyway. But I do think it's interesting to think about.

1 comment:

Amberly said...

We talked about this very thing a little on our rainy family vacation last week. (There wasn't much else to do but talk!) My nephew enlightened us on how "that's messed up" isn't always a bad thing. We were clueless!