Category Archives: Reference Materials

This category includes materials excerpted from a variety of reference books, as well as other material used as reference sources such as learning supports and style sheets.

Tea and Sympathy

“A play (1953) by the US writer Robert Anderson about the problems faced by a sensitive teenage boy at an elite New England boarding school who is accused of homosexuality. The ‘tea and sympathy’ in question is provided by the housemaster’s wife. A bowdlerized film version followed in 1956.

All you’re supposed to do is every once in a while give the boys a little tea and sympathy.

Robert Anderson: Tea and Sympathy (1953). I

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Metaphysical Art

“The movement pittura metafisica founded by Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Carra, and F. de Pisis in 1917. Now seen as a bridge between certain forms of Romantic painting and Surrealism. Metaphysical painters created haunting images with dreamlike fusions of reality and unreality. The movement ended by 1920.

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Term of Art: Aberrant Behavior

“Irregular behavior that deviates from what is considered normal. In sociology, the use of the term implies that the behavior in question is performed in secret and mainly for reasons of self-interest, as for example in the case of certain unusual sexual practices. This may be contrasted with ‘non-conforming behavior,’ which usually refers to public violations of social norms, often carried out specifically to promote social change. Thus the political or religious dissenter proclaims his or her deviance to as wide an audience as possible. The implications of this distinction for theories of deviance are discussed fully by Robert K. Merton in his essay ‘Social Problems and Sociological Theory’ (R.K. Merton and R. Nisbet, Contemporary Social Problems, 1971).

Excerpted from: Matthews, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Pathetic Fallacy

“Pathetic Fallacy: The ascribing of human traits and feelings to inanimate objects or nature, or the use of anthropomorphic images or metaphors. Also ANTHROPOPATHISM

John Ruskin coined the name and a later writer, James Thurber, created our favorite example of the pathetic fallacy in a cartoon caption for The New Yorker: ‘It’s a naive domestic Burgundy without any breeding, but I think you’ll be amused at its presumption.’”

William and Mary Morris, Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

An Affectionate View of the Feline Race

“Cat: One Hell of a nice animal, frequently mistaken for a meatloaf.”

B. Kliban, U.S. Cartoonist, (1935-1990)


Excerpted from: Shapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Learning Support: Citing Sources

This learning support on citing sources is part of an entire lesson plan on the subject that I thought I’d previously posted in these pages. I couldn’t find it when I searched. I’ll take a stroll through the archive soon and get that material out here for teachers’ use.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

9 Nights of Odin’s Sacrifice

Odin, the chief Norse god, made a sacrifice to himself, plucking out one eye and hanging for nine days and nine nights from the world tree Yggdrasil, pierced through his side by his magical spear. Gunghir [sic]. This allowed his soul to wander and gain insight into the nine realms of existence as well as to learn two sets of nine magical songs and rune spells. This shamanic sacrifice is told in the Norse Havanal epic: ‘Downwards I peered; I took up the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there.'”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.