Household Words by Stephanie A. Smith
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Household Words
By Stephanie A. Smith

Household Words

Bloomers, Sucker, Bombshell, Scab, Nigger, Cyber

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Format: Hardback

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Household Words by Stephanie A. Smith

Book Description

An enlightening study of six words whose meanings are mistakenly understood to be "common sense." Looking in detail at words that "treat people as things, and things as people, and do so at that strange space where joking, ridiculing, demeaning, oppressing, resisting, and regretting converge," "Household Words" is a study of how certain words act as indices of political and social change, perpetuating anxieties and prejudices even as those ways of thinking have been seemingly resolved or overcome by history. Specifically, Stephanie A. Smith examines six words - bloomer, sucker, bombshell, scab, nigger, and cyber - and explores how these words with their contemporary "universal" meaning appeal to a dangerous idea about what it means to be human, an idea that denies our history of conflict. She traces "bombshell" from Marilyn Monroe through women's liberation and the sexual revolution to Monica Lewinsky, "scab" from blemish to strikebreaker, "sucker" from lollipop to the routinely cheated. Exposing the ambiguities in each of the words, Smith reveals that our language is communal and cutting, democratic and discriminatory, social and psychological.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780816645527
ISBN-10: 0816645523
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 137mm x 17mm)
Pages: 264
Imprint: University of Minnesota Press
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publish Date: 1-Jan-2006
Country of Publication: United States

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Books By Author Stephanie A. Smith

Household Words by Stephanie A. Smith Household Words, Paperback (January 2006)

A study of how certain words act as indices of political and social change, perpetuating anxieties and prejudices even as those ways of thinking have been seemingly resolved or overcome by history. This book specifically discusses six words whose meanings are mistakenly understood to be "common sense."

» View all books by Stephanie A. Smith

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Author Biography - Stephanie A. Smith

Stephanie A. Smith is associate professor of English at the University of Florida and the author of Conceived by Liberty: Maternal Figures and Nineteenth-Century American Literature as well as three novels.

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