Katarina’s pupils grew large and her lips parted slightly. While Richard would not describe her expression as one of pity, the word that came to mind was in his Latin vocabulary—misericors—caring heart.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
When a word won't do
One of my favorite passages from This Time, my first book about Richard III in the 21st-century, came about because I couldn't use the word sympathy. Early in the novel, Richard observed what we would call a sympathetic expression from Katarina, a linguist who was part of the team helping Richard adjust to this century. Being a man of the late 15th-century, he spoke what is now called Early Modern English. According to The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Word Histories, sympathy did not come into use until the late 16th-century, and the adjective, sympathetic, until the mid 17th-century. The following short paragraph is the result.