Thursday 10 November 2011

The Epithets of Transferred Wodehouse

There's a fantastic article in The Guardian on P.G. Wodehouse's letters. Being a thoroughly technical chap, what I particularly like about it is the thoroughly technical analysis of Wodehouse's use of the transferred epithet. That's when an adjective is deliberately applied to the wrong thing. For example, one might sip a contemplative whisky, when in fact it is the sipper who is contemplative and the whisky is merely whisky.

Similarly, there are Wordsworth's lonely rooms and Auden's lovely lines:

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm. 

Anyway, go and read the article by clicking hereupon.


  1. Ooh, I wish I could do these as well as Wodehouse. Thanks for the link!

  2. I've always thought this device was called hypallage? Fascinating blog by the way!