March 04, 2008

Rushdie turns a phrase or two

Last week's New Yorker had a Salman Rushdie story with numerous succulent bits. The bit that especially caught my eye:

Bhakti Ram Jain proudly held the rank of Imperial Flatterer First Class, and was a master of the ornate, old-school style known as cumulative fawning. Only a man with an excellent memory for the baroque formulations of excessive encomiums could fawn cumulatively, on account of the repetitions required and the necessary precision of the sequencing. Bhakti Ram Jainís memory was unerring. He could fawn for hours.
The phrase "excessive encomiums" has a stylistic sonority (some might find it objectionably orotund), and I got to wondering about its other contexts. A Google search turns up eight instances besides Rushdie's use, and Yahoo finds a couple of others (one in a rock music review, the other in a letter of Benjamin Franklin, Dec 21 1789...)

Posted by oook at March 4, 2008 03:37 PM