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A.Word.A.Day--Grand Guignol

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Grand Guignol (grahn gee-NYOL) noun

Drama that emphasizes the horrifying or the macabre.

[After Le Grand Guignol, a theater in Paris.]

"Thus Crowbar (1990), which takes place in an old Broadway theatre, is a kind of vaudeville show for ghosts - casualties of history - who compulsively turn their lives and deaths into grand guignol." Savran, David, The world according to Wellman: a political and linguistic outlaw revels in the theatre of excess, American Theatre, 19 Feb 99.

With Halloween around the corner almost every town in the US and perhaps in many other parts of the world sports a Haunted Hoochie or two. But those would appear like children's playgrounds compared to Le Theatre du Grand Guignol, the ultimate in horror and the grotesque. This turn-of-the-century Parisian theater was known for its true-to-life, or should I say true-to-death, portrayal of all things ghastly, grisly, and frightful. The theater's expertise in creating gory effects can be judged from the fact that its actors counted their successes by the number of faintings in the audience. The theater eventually died out but its name lives on in dictionaries.

During the rest of this week, we'll see other words or phrases derived from the names of landmarks, some of which you may even wish to visit. -Anu

X-Bonus

There are two perfect men; one dead, and the other unborn. -Chinese proverb


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