Saturday, March 05, 2022

Joyce's "hurooshoos" and Burgess's "horrorshow"

A word in James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake"(1939)  is reminiscent of a coinage in Anthony Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange" (1962): "turning his fez menialstrait in the direction of Moscas, he first got rid of a few mitsmillers and hurooshoos" (FW 83.36-84.2). In "Annotations to Finnegans Wake", Ronald McHugh parses "hurooshoos" as "horseshoes" and Russian "khorosho" ("very well"). That Russian word also inspired Burgess's "horrorshow", part of the novel's Nadsat slang. While Burgess wrote frequently about the Wake and his "horrorshow" might come from Joyce's "hurooshoos", the two authors' borrowings from the Russian word might well just be a coincidence. But I prefer to think anachronistically that Joyce took his word from Burgess. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 5 March 2022)

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