Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Roget... And Who?

It was on this day in 1852 that Roget's Thesaurus was published for the first time (with a mere 15,000 words included). This volume, which subsequently grew and grew, was one of many heroic attempts in the high 19th century to encompass, pin down and classify a vast expanse of human knowledge - and it was one that lasted into a later age, presumably because of its utility. Personally, I almost never go near a Thesaurus, working on the assumption that if you can't think of the word, it's not the right word. However, as the advancing years addle my brain, I might well have to rethink that stance. Anyone out there a regular user?
Today is also the birthday of one still living who is almost certainly the bestselling poet in the world (65 million volumes in dozens of languages). He can also claim sales of 100 million as a songwriter. Who is this lucky man?


  1. On the grounds that "I am infinite, I contain multitudes" we are all our own thesaurus these days, Nige. Get with it! I'll go for Hobson Jobson, strictly speaking a dictionary but a generously capacious and far from PC one, when feeling nostalgic. Then I can sleep soundly, dreaming of biryani-flavoured dakinis or, er, whatever. I thought you were alluding to Pam Ayres when you mentioned sales figures, but then you said "He". Hmmn. Name rhymes with Cod?

  2. We are obviously downmarket, the only copy on the shelves is Collins new thesaurus, don't think it's been used since someone spilt sloe gin all over it.
    The only poet with that CV, I thought was dead, the bard himself, Rabbie B. If he's still alive an awful lot of Jan 25ths have been wasted up here.
    And Mark, Pam Eyers, a career made out of an accent

  3. Pam Ayres, poetry's equivalent to the Singing Postman - and from the same county, I think...

  4. And for the record, the poet is Rod Mckuen, whom nobody in the UK has heard of (I hope).

  5. Nige, anything to do with the folk singer ?