"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Oxymorons - love 'em or hate 'em

I was a bit sniffy about oxymorons in my last post but they can be a very precise shorthand and phrases like eloquent silence and expensive economy are a pretty neat way of summing up complex situations. I just hate the knee jerk clash of opposites as in - groan - forgotten memories.
I've done a little research (as a way of avoiding more pressing duties i.e. revising a manuscript) and come up with these very satisfying gems....anyone got others they would like to share?

I do here make humbly bold to present them with a short account of themselves and their art. . . .   Jonathan Swift
The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
With loads of learned lumber in his head
Alexander Pope
He was now sufficiently composed to order a funeral of modest magnificence...
Samuel Johnson
I burn and freeze like ice -- a description of hell in Milton’s Paradise Lost


Anonymous said...

"An awful black sun from which the night shines" (Victor Hugo, Les Contemplations) = is my favorite oxymoron

But I am not sure 100% of the translation in English!

MorningAJ said...

Ooo I like those! Specially "modest magnificence".