Friday, January 27, 2012


Lethean [lɪˈθiən] a.

1.) Pertaining to the river Lethe; hence, pertaining to or causing oblivion or forgetfulness of the past.

Etymology: from Latin Lēthæ-us (adoption of Greek ληθαῖος, from λήθη Lethe, one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld) + -an.

"From the slain Victims pour the streaming Blood,
And leave their Bodies in the shady Wood:
Nine Mornings thence, Lethean Poppy bring,
T' appease the Manes of the Poets King:
And to propitiate his offended Bride,
A fatted Calf, and a black Ewe provide:
This finish'd, to the former Woods repair."
(Georgics by Virgil, John Dryden (trans.), 1697)

(The Waters of Lethe, Thomas Benjamin Kennington, 1890)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


elan [eɪˈlɑːn] n.

1.) An impetuous rush (e.g. of troops).
2.) In English use chiefly abstract: Ardour, impetuousness, vivacity (O.E.D. 2nd Ed.).

Etymology: French; believed to be from élancer, from Latin ex, out + late Latin lanceāre, from lancea, lance.

"But Blondel contests the very idea of a natural happiness for man, just as he contests the idea of a natural religion, based on no more than human musings about the divine, without some revelation from God in his transcendence, that is, for a nature whose very elan is a quest for the infinite, an aspiration at once congenital and inefficacious by itself, for a knowledge that saturates and a fruition that leaves nothing to be desired" (Maurice Blondel: A Philosophical Life, Oliva Blanchette, 2010).

(Trasfigurazione, Raffaello Sanzio, 1520)