October 10, 2002
Curious Literary Coincidences

1. Though it has only recently been turned into a verb, we all know that 'Fisk' must be a very old name, unless Robert Fisk was cloned in a government laboratory and designated with a significant acronym. (Suggestions for possible expansions of F.I.S.K. may be left in the comment section.) But I didn't know that even "fisker" goes back at least to the 19th century. A Fisker is a character in Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now (1875). Here is what the Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope has to say about him:

Fisker, Hamilton K., dapper American entrepreneur.

So far, so good. The rest will be less pleasing to modern fiskers:

He makes Augustus Melmotte head of a questionable American railway scheme, thus involving enormous English financial speculation. Untroubled by scruples, he supplies confidence and dash to the enterprise. When it crashes, he marries Marie Melmotte and takes her back to San Francisco with him.

Greedy investors, financial crashes, huge monetary losses, and San Francisco: sounds like an internet venture to me. Now I need to find time to actually sit down and read the novel, which many seem to think is Trollope's best and most Juvenalian (the latter definitely a plus for me).

2. It will probably please all the wrong people to know this, but 'Ann Coulter' is the name of a woman mentioned in Chapter II of Silas Marner who ignores good advice on the proper herbs to wear in pregnancy and gives birth to an idiot child.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 10, 2002 09:50 PM


Fantastically Idiotic Spewer of Kvetch?

(Yes, "kvetch" is a word. It's a Yiddish derivative of the German "Quatsch", meaning "nonsense")

Posted by: Misha I on October 11, 2002 06:29 PM

Foolish Idiotarian Scribbler and Klutz.

Posted by: Mike Morley on October 17, 2002 08:37 PM