DIRIMENT.

As longtime readers will know, I am extremely fond of the poetry of David Jones (see here, here, and here), so I was delighted to come across the latest post at Bebrowed’s Blog (“writing about writing (and reading)”), David Jones’ “The Fatigue”; the blogger feels as strongly about the oblivion into which Jones has fallen as I do (“I cannot understand why a poet of Jones’ talent and originality should be known more for his work as an artist than as one of the great modernist poets of the last century”), and I recommend his discussion of Jones and his work. I’ll just mention a word both he and I had to look up in the line “It’s whoresons like you as can’t keep those swivel eyes to front one short vigilia through as are diriment to our unific and expanding order”; according to the OED, diriment means “That renders absolutely void; nullifying; chiefly in diriment impediment, one that renders marriage null and void from the beginning,” and it’s from Latin dirimĕre ‘to separate, interrupt, frustrate’ (there is an even more obsolete and much rarer adjective dirempt “Distinct, divided, separate”). The blogger says he is “now of the view that we ought to make much more use of” diriment, and I can’t say I disagree. Caviar to the general, of course, but a splendid specimen of Latinity. “That admission, sir, is diriment to your entire line of reasoning!”

Comments

  1. John Armstrong is male, so far as I know. Creditable example of non-gender-specific “she”?

  2. dearieme says:

    I didn’t know it either.

  3. John Armstrong is male, so far as I know.
    Undoubtedly, but I looked around the blog and couldn’t find an About page or any indication of the blogger’s name, and I could have sworn I saw a post that claimed a female identity. Apparently I was wrong, and I’ve changed the pronoun accordingly; thanks for the heads-up.

  4. “the blogger feels as strongly about the oblivion into which Jones has fallen as I do.”
    I bought In Parenthesis a year or two ago, but scarcely had I opened it when I realized that a decent knowledge of Welsh history and Arthurian legend would be required, and so I’ve put it off until I can study those prerequisites.

  5. Dirimieren is still extant in German, but only barely, and primarily in connection with Hegel (there is also, according to Duden, an Austrian German sense “break a tie vote”). I remember encountering the word in some book by Habermas, because I had to look it up. It simply means “divide into (two) parts”. Of course, when Hegel writes “sich in sich zu dirimieren” you suspect that things are not that simple after all, so that generations of mooters will have plenty to do:

    Mainly, ‘diremption’ means reflective differentiation, cognitively in the sense of gaining “field independence” which is a key feature for Habermas’ sense of the dynamic of stage transition in cognitive development (last page of “Moral Development and Ego Identity,” _Communication & the Evolution of Society). But there, JH makes no association with Hegel. I believe, though, that this may be what Hegel has in mind. …

    Zzzzzzz …

  6. I just found an aspect of the use of Latin dirimere that throws light on Hegel’s use of dirimieren:

    d) einen Streit, Feindschaft, Krieg usw. schlichten, beilegen, beseitigen, ausgleichen, aufheben, certamen, Ov.: duellum, Tab. Regill. bei Liv.: bellum inter Philippum atque Aetolos, Liv.: litem, Ov.: controversiam, Cic.: simultates, Liv.: aemulationem inter duos, Tac.: consiliorum diversitatem, Tac.
          [Georges: Lateinisch-Deutsch / Deutsch-Lateinisch, S. 18355, http://www.digitale-bibliothek.de/band69.htm

    This is Hegel’s means-a-zillion-things concept of aufheben.

  7. David Jones was briefly engaged to Eric Gill’s teenage daughter, Petra, until she tired of his diffidence.

  8. Surely the author means daffydence ?

  9. Trond Engen says:

    He means that the engagement was broken because of irreconcileable diffidences.

  10. Two wallflowers separated by 10 centimeters for all eternity.

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