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.

Accademia della Crusca

“(Ital, ‘Academy of the Chaff‘) Florentine literary academy founded in 1583 to purify Tuscan, the literary language of the Italian Renaissance. It was opposed to Tasso in the debate over the merits of his Gerusalemme Liberata. The first part of its official dictionary appeared in 1612, and the work is still in progress.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Term of Art: Socialization

“Socialization is the process by which we learn to become members of society, both by internalizing the norms and values of society, and also by learning to perform our social roles (as worker, friend, citizen, and so forth).

There is an ongoing dispute about the relative importance of nature versus nurture (or hereditary and environment) in human development. A related debate concerns the extent to which humans are over-socialized. Are humans ruled by their social manners and role-playing skills to the extent that basic human instincts are eradicated? This debate pits the psychological perspective of Freud, which views socialization as working against our natural inclinations and drives, against the functionalist perspective that sees socialization as essential for the integration of society. Recent studies have focused on social class differences in socialization, some of which have to do with language (see B. BernsteinClass, Codes, and Control, 1971), others . of which are more concerned with differences in value orientation (see M. KohnClass and Conformity1969).

Socialization is no longer regarded as the exclusive preserve of childhood, with the primary agents being the family and school. It is now recognized that socialization continues throughout the life-course. It is also recognized that socialization is not simply a one-way process, in which individuals learn how to fit into society, since people may also redefine their social roles and obligations. Any understanding of socialization must therefore take account of how the process relates to social change. In this sense, some schools of sociological theory imply an allegedly ‘over-socialized conception of man in society,’ in that they overstate the extent to which values are internalized and action is normative in orientation–a charge often leveled, for example, against normative functionalism (See D. Wrong, ‘The Oversocialized Conception of Man,’ American Sociological Review1961).”

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


“1. The words in a text, usually a noun phrase, to which a pronoun or other grammatical unit refers back. Cook is the antecedent of him in: ‘In 1772. Cook began his second voyage, which took him further south than he had ever been.’ Similarly, his second voyage is the antecedent of which. With impersonal itthisthatwhich, the antecedent may be a whole clause or paragraph, as in: ‘Might not the coast of New South Wales provide and armed haven? To some people this looked good on paper, but there is no hard evidence that it did so to William Pitt or his ministers.’ Despite the implications of the name, an antecedent can follow rather than precede: ‘For his first Pacific voyage, Cook had no chronometer.’ 2. In logic, the conditional element in a proposition. In If they did that, they deserve our respect, the antecedent is they did that.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Lancet Window

“Lancet Window: A tall and narrow window which comes to an acute point at its head. Commonly used in the 13th century.”

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

Write it Right: Sensation for Emotion

“Sensation for Emotion. ‘The play caused a great sensation.’ A sensation is a physical feeling; an emotion, a mental. Doubtless the one usually accompanies the other, but the good writer will name the one that he has in mind, not the other. There are few errors more common than the one here noted.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Rotten Rejections: James Joyce

“As might be expected, James Joyce’s writings excited some grandiose rejections. His Dubliners was refused by twenty-two publishers and then shot down in flames by an irate citizen. As Joyce reported it, ‘When at last it was printed some very kind person bought out the entire edition and had it burnt in Dublin–a new and private auto-da-fe.’ The odyssey of his Ulysses was even more spectacular–it was rejected, in fire, by two governments. Parts of the novel were serialized in the New York Little Review in 1918–20, and after rejection by a U.S. publisher the whole book was published in France in 1922 by Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare Press. Copies were sent to America and England. They were, reported Joyce, ‘Seized and burnt by the Custom authorities in New York and Folkestone.’ Not until 1933 was the ban on Ulysses lifted; the book was published by Random House the following year.”

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.


“Demonstrative: A term used in association with pronouns and determiners as an adjective and a noun: a demonstrative pronoun; three demonstratives in one sentence. A demonstrative usage indicates relationships and locations, such as between this (near the speaker and perhaps the listener) and that (not near the speaker, perhaps near the listener, or not near either).”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.