January 19th, 2006

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Generic as a quarry

Winter

Winter is good - his Hoar Delights
Italic flavor yield
To Intellects inebriate
With Summer, or the World -

Generic as a Quarry
And hearty - as a Rose -
Invited with Asperity
But welcome when he goes.

Emily Dickinson

From languagehat where a commentator says 'what does "Generic as a quarry" mean?' I have no idea. Anyone got any thoughts on that?

'Italic flavor' I am OK with - the frosting and sparseness makes the world more intense but also less comfortable like an italic font does

'Hearty as a rose' I am OK with - Winter is as sensually intense in its own way as a rose is, though in a totally different way.

But the generic quarry - not so sure. It's an excellent poem though.
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Find your name

This site (currently very busy) allows you to consruct a map showing the distribution of a surname in Britain recently (1998) and in Victorian times (1881).

I tested it. My mother always told me her maiden name (Bryant) was a Huguenot name, brought by French protestants escaping persecution. The site tells me it may be Breton. The name is distributed in Britain, even today like this. It is most common in Kent and Cornwall, which is consistent with a Breton-refugee origin. Page on the other hand was an East Anglian name in Victorian times by the look of it (I never knew that).

It's very interesting, but everyone seems to have cottoned on to this at the same time (as usual), so you may have to persist.

Other names in my family are Catholic (Rudge) Jewish (Jacobs) and Dutch (Gotch). I think we are all a mix of ethnicities as I have said before.

ETA - The International Huguenot Society records several documented 'ancestral Hugeunots' (I think from the 16th-18th Century) called Briant, so there may be something in my mum's claim.