Wednesday, April 13, 2011

anomie

anomie [ˈænəˌmi] n. also anomy

1.) Absence of accepted social standards or values; the state or condition of an individual or society lacking such standards.
2.) [Obs.] Disregard of law, lawlessness; esp. (in 17th c. theology) disregard of divine law (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition).

Etymology: French, from Greek anomi, lawlessness, from anomos, lawless : a-, without + nomos, law.

"But young adults of the nineties—many of whom are, of course, the children of all the impassioned infidelities and divorces Updike wrote about so beautifully, and who got to watch all this brave new individualism and sexual freedom deteriorate into the joyless and anomic self-indulgence of the Me generation—today's subforties have very different horrors, prominent among which are anomie and solipsism and a peculiarly American loneliness: the prospect of dying without even once having loved something more than yourself" ("Certainly the End of Something or Other", David Foster Wallace, 1998).

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Some of you might have noticed that I'm a big David Foster Wallace fan. His posthumous novel The Pale King is being published on Friday. Here's the review in the London Review of Books for those that are interested. I was somewhat annoyed by the reviewer's complaining about the weak ending of Infinite Jest, as though it was unintentional. That's always been sort of the point of DFW's fiction: it operates in pure form rather than narrative movement. Anyway, I don't know if I'll read The Pale King since it's not really DFW's book.

16 comments:

thenitefalls said...

Some people tend to be anomie because they are introverted.

Patti D. said...

Great word, that book went under the radar for me, thanks for the heads up.

Anna-Nelsey said...

hah, good word. I have a roommate that is anomie...

princy gupta said...

nice blog!!!
great work... :)
+1 follower

Necroticism said...

That's an interesting word, remind me of Nietzsche.

amBored said...

lawlessness sounds great to me well I'll definitely check that book out seems nice as well

Lemmiwinks said...

great post as always

Biff Tanner said...

Good one.

Meghan Moran said...

I'm a big fan of this word.

A Beer for the Shower said...

As a citizen of a former British colony, in which language is rapidly decaying, I appreciate your work. Let me just say...Thx!

Team Panda said...

a good noun

The Old Master said...

ahahaha beer so true! thx !

Major.Mack said...

first time ive been here and you describe me perfectly :)

Endless said...

thx for sharing!

vidoblogo said...

threw my dictionary in the bucket...

Venus said...

I´ll try to used it in a sentence: "they labelled him as an anomie, but he was just doing what he thought was right."

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