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September 1963

Polite Euphemisms

Author Affiliations

Calgary Associate Clinic Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(3):438-439. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860030192026

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The terms in use for the water closet among the peoples of the world in times ancient and modern have always been a subject for profound discussion by serious thinkers, whether in the field of sanitation, folklore, anthropology, or sociology. It is a subject of vast magnitude, enough to daunt even the most single-minded historian or public health official. I refer to it at this time to draw attention to the exhaustive and scholarly treatise on the matter written by the erudite and inimitable Mr. Reginald Reynolds who contrives to combine history, politics, and poetry in his dissertation entitled Cleanliness and Godliness, published by Double- day and Company (New York, 1946). His brilliant survey covers the developments of sanitation in this regard from the venerable privies of the Sumerians, the water closets of Crete, down through the classical communication of Sir John Harington in 1596 entitled The Metamorphosis of Ajax

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