The origins of the word rhodomontade

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The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby Raphael » Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:33 pm

I had never heard of this word before, but can guess it's meaning- I would say it means sort of to rant or a tirade. I have seen it refers to his outbursts on things he didn't like, approve of etc. It's not in any dictionary I've seen- did John Keats make this word up himself?
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Re: The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby Malia » Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:02 pm

Hi Raphael :)
I don't know if this is a word Keats made up, but it was certainly used to describe his various "rants". Actually, the only time I remember reading it is in a letter from Woodhouse to Taylor. In the letter, Woodhouse describes his conversation with Keats about the Eve of St. Agnes and Keats's hint that Madeline and Prophyro actually "do the deed" though the aren't married. Woodhouse thinks it would be too forward and turn off "delicate" female readers. Keats (getting into the "rhodomontade"--the word used by Woodhouse, himself) says that he doesn't really care if women like his poetry or not. He write for men. And of course Prophyro goes all the way with Madeline--he wouldn't work her up to that point and just *leave* her there, etc. etc.

All this to say, I think it is Woodhouse's word--made up or actually in some dictionary somewhere, I don't know. Might be a French word and not necessarily listed in an English dictionary?
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Re: The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby BrokenLyre » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:37 am

Well, very good question. According to the internet, see below:


rodomontade [ˌrɒdəmɒnˈteɪd -ˈtɑːd] Literary
n
a. boastful words or behaviour; bragging
b. (as modifier) rodomontade behaviour
vb
(intr) to boast, bluster, or rant
[from French, from Italian rodomonte a boaster, from Rodomonte the name of a braggart king of Algiers in epic poems by Boiardo and Ariosto]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 6th Edition 2003. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

It seems as though the word was used semi-frequently in Keats' day. There is also an element of vulgarity associated with the word. It can also mean "Pretentiously boastful" (full of oneself as well). I don't know of a modern day equivalent word, but maybe a combination of "boastful" with a bit of "recalcitrance" combined with "anger" and being "full of yourself"? Hmm. That should cover it :D What do you think?
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Re: The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby mevans » Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:14 am

I pulled out the Oxford English Dictionary today because I'd never heard of rhodomontade before. Interesting enough they cite John Donne as being one of the first to use it in print in his letters. Also, they cite Southey and Hazlitt as using it so, I would imagine it was fairly common during Keats' time. There are two different spellings; Rhodomontade and Rodomontade and also you can use Rodomontadist and Rodomontader.

Thanks for posting this, I learned a new word today. :P
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Re: The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby Raphael » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:51 pm

Hi Raphael :)


Hello Malia! How are you? :D

Actually, the only time I remember reading it is in a letter from Woodhouse to Taylor.


I'm reading a collection of the letters and I'm sure that Junkets himself uses the word to describe himself at some point , mentioning one of "my rodomontades." I'll let you know when I re find it!



In the letter, Woodhouse describes his conversation with Keats about the Eve of St. Agnes and Keats's hint that Madeline and Prophyro actually "do the deed" though the aren't married. Woodhouse thinks it would be too forward and turn off "delicate" female readers. Keats (getting into the "rhodomontade"--the word used by Woodhouse, himself) says that he doesn't really care if women like his poetry or not. He writes for men. And of course Prophyro goes all the way with Madeline--he wouldn't work her up to that point and just *leave* her there, etc. etc.



I love all that! I think that letter is in the collection I borrrowed from the library.Rather good of Junekts I think not to leave a lady wanting... :wink:
I LOVE The Eve of St Agnes and the images in it.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby Raphael » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:55 pm

Thanks Mevans and Broken Lyre for finding the word- I did wonder if it was French - it has that feel to it.I reckon it's time to bring the word back- I have plenty of rants/ rhodomontades about the status quo today lol( and I don't mean the band.. :lol: )
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby mevans » Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:40 pm

I am reading John Keats: The Making of a Poet by Aileen Ward (thanks to several recommendations by people on this very board) and I came across a reference to “rodomontade” by Ward:

We catch echoes of evening parties in Keats’s rooms off Cheapside, lively with wine and wit and disputation, at which Keats once dumbfounded Severn by maintaining that Milton was not a great poet. He was developing a habit of what his friend called rodomontade- upholding the worse side of an argument for the sake of the intellectual drama that ensued. (page 96-7)

So it seems we have another meaning to what the word means.
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Re: The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby BrokenLyre » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:41 am

Yes, Aileen Ward tends to see the word as almost meaning "baiting" as in arguing for arguments' sake. Some people say really off the wall statements just to set up an argument with another - but they have no real "dog in the fight" so to speak. I have seen this all before, unfortunately. Ward defines rhodomontade as if Keats were baiting Severn ("for the intellectual drama that ensued"). If that is the case, it certainly is a flaw in Keats (I think) and (dare I say it?) one of his least desirable traits.

Nobody's perfect.
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Re: The origins of the word rhodomontade

Postby Raphael » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:13 pm

BrokenLyre wrote:Yes, Aileen Ward tends to see the word as almost meaning "baiting" as in arguing for arguments' sake. Some people say really off the wall statements just to set up an argument with another - but they have no real "dog in the fight" so to speak. I have seen this all before, unfortunately. Ward defines rhodomontade as if Keats were baiting Severn ("for the intellectual drama that ensued"). If that is the case, it certainly is a flaw in Keats (I think) and (dare I say it?) one of his least desirable traits.

Nobody's perfect.


I was reading in one of his letters last night that he was trying to not have any fixed opinion and that in the Severn incident he was playing "Devil's Advocate"- presenting a view to get a rounded discussion- I don't see it as being deliberately argumentative. I've had people do that to me in discussions on things- they take the other view of what I'm taking to get a discussions going, even though they might not themselves have that opinion or indeed one fixed one at all. I'm not being saccharin and saying John had no faults (I'll leave that to Charles Brown... :wink: ), as you rightly say BL- nobody is perfect- but this incident might have been like this. Unless we have the views of the people who were there that evening we cannot tell for sure.But heck, I cannot judge John harshly for his flaws as I have enough of my own and at least he was aware of them and doing the best he could ( and I know you don't judge him harshly either BL by the way). Some of his flaws I even find endearing.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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