Sara Jeannette Duncan/Lily Lewis Archive

A Long Felt Philological Want (Washington Post, August 8 1885)

This article jumps between several subjects, all related to literature and language. Duncan opens by humorously wishing for a new “vehicle” to discuss the weather with those around her. She speaks sarcastically about the overuse of certain weather terms, wanting stronger and more effective ways to say things like “hot” and “excessively”. She says it is too hot to do anything besides comment on how she wants new weather language. She pokes fun at “American ingenuity” for not offering her new words. She criticizes some works in local magazines and reports on another writer’s melodramatic depiction of two camels which recently arrived at the zoo. She talks about how the camels managed to survive after an arduous journey and makes fun of the other writer’s suggestion that they “be dubbed ‘Call Back’.” She makes fun of an Irish newspaper reporting on the progressive divorce laws in Nebraska, stating that Irish men would be upset at wives’ ability to divorce them for being drunk and hitting them. She also makes fun of a French woman for writing about how modest women should be, believing that she is bragging about her humility. She concludes by talking about the autobiography of Lutfullah, a “Mahomedan gentleman” who comments on English society. She talks about how Lutfullah tries to appeal to English readers by seeming as relatable to them as possible and, specifically, through associating his Muslim heritage with Christian heritage. Duncan says she gets chills seeing how many of his ancestors have similar names to hers.


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