Everyone Is Jumping Off the Brooklyn Bridge

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Phantasmagoria

A cow with antlers standing on a pole.
Okay. I'm really not sure
what to say here.
Phantasmagoria is a fantastic sequence of images randomly strewn together, as in a surreal dream. Dictionary.com also lists it as "a shifting series of phantasms, illusions, or deceptive appearances, as in a dream or as created by the imagination."

One of us has had a little too much,
and I'm not sure which it is.

In fact, the word is closely related to "phantasm" or "phantasma" (a phantom or apparition), and may be a joining of that word with the word "allegory". Alternatively, the second part may be related to "agorá", a Greek word for "assembly" or "gathering" (thus, a gathering of phantasms).

It would appear that Jack London was a fan of the word, as he used it in at least four of his stories: Before Adam, Jerry of the Islands, John Barleycorn, and Martin Eden.

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