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October 1961

Tower of Babel 1961

Author Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine College of Medicine University of Iowa Iowa City

Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(4):541-544. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580160005001

A specter haunts our culture—it is that people will eventually be unable to say "They fell in love and married," let alone understand the language of Romeo and Juliet, but will as a matter of course say, "Their libidinal impulses being reciprocal, they activated their individual erotic drives and integrated them within the same frame of reference."—Lionel Trilling

Some people float about in a linguistic fog and never forsake it for the world of clarity. Others care enormously but by nature or by training are so ill attuned to the felicitous use of words that they recognize neither their own stylistic lapses nor such lapses in others. They cannot even identify excellence when they see it. For a few sensitive souls a grammatical blunder produces a physical effect like being hit in the midriff by a not quite spent bullet. Such errors they may forgive but cannot forget. This state

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