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Surviving Awkward Social Situations

by Elizabeth Ryan 

Tags: Great Writing, dictionaries, social etiquette, Flaubert, The Point, Elizabeth Ryan,

thepointThe French writer Flaubert dreamt up the satirical “Dictionary of Received Ideas,” a reference guide to positions and thoughts that “right-thinking people” ought to hold for various subjects. The Point, a new journal in our library, saw it fitting to amend the work. “Social situations have arisen of which Flaubert could not have dreamed,” writes Justin Evans, “while others have fallen away, and now as then the good citizen needs an aide for those tricky moments in life when saying or thinking the wrong thing could lead to social disaster.”

Evans keeps a few of Flaubert’s entries, but most are new. Note: The ~ symbol is used to refer back to the original term, and words in italics are defined elsewhere.

Here’s a sampling:

Source: The Point  (article not available online)