Excerpt from Les Miserables, Vol. 3 of 3
Certainly it is neither an attractive nor an easy task to seek in the lowest depths of social order, where the earth leaves off and mud begins, to grope in these vague densities, to pursue, seize, and throw quivering on the pavement that abject idiom which drips with filth when thus brought to light, that pustul ous vocabulary of which each word 'seems an unclean ring of a monster of the mud and darkness. Nothing is more mournful than thus to contemplate, by the light of thought, the frightful vermin swarm of slang in its nudity. It seems, in fact, as if you have just drawn from its sewer a sort of horrible beast made for the night, and you fancy you see a frightful, living, and brist ling polype, which shivers, moves, is agitated, demands the shadow again, menaces, and looks. One word resembles a claw, another a lustreless and bleeding eye, and some phrases seem to snap like the pincers of a crab. All this lives with the hideous Vitality of things which are organized in disorganization. N ow, let us ask, when did horror begin to exclude study? Or the malady drive away the physician Can we imagine a naturalist who would refuse to examine a Viper, a bat, a scorpion, a scolo pendra, or a tarantula, and throw them into the darkness, say ing, Pie, how ugly they are! The thinker who turned away from slang would resemble a surgeon who turned away from an ulcer or a wart. He would be a philologist hesitating to examine a fact of language, a philosopher hesitating to scruti nize a fact of humanity. For we must tell all those ignorant of the fact, that Slang is at once a literary phenomenon and a social result. What is Slang, properly so called 2' it is the lan guage of misery.
About the Publisher
Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com
This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.show more