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Oct 12, 2017
This week’s theme
There’s a word for it

This week’s words
acarophobia
exclosure
untrack
mise en abyme
zetetic

mise en abyme
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

mise en abyme

PRONUNCIATION:
(mee-zan-nah-BEEM)

MEANING:
noun: Self-reflection in a literary work, a work of art, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French mise en abyme/abîme (placed into abyss). Originally, the term applied to heraldic shields in which a smaller shield was put into the center of the shield. Earliest documented use: 1968.

NOTES:
Some examples are play within a play (Hamlet), story within a story, film within a film, dream within a dream, the placement of a small copy of a work within itself, infinite reflection between two facing mirrors, etc.

USAGE:
“The critics haven’t paid attention enough to its self-conscious narrator. It takes you from mise en abyme to mise en abyme.”
Arturo Fontaine Talavera (translator Megan McDowell); La Vida Doble; Yale University Press; 2013.

“There’s a shot that pops up again and again in attempts to document the Church of Scientology: two people holding cameras, filming each other, caught in a reconnaissance stalemate. It’s a cinematographic mise en abyme. The surveillance and counter-surveillance recurs in an infinite loop, feeding a sinister sense of paranoia.”
John Semley; In L. Ron We Trust; Maclean’s (Toronto, Canada); May 2, 2016.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Someone is Hindu, someone is Muslim, someone is Christian / Everyone is hell-bent on not becoming a human being. -Nida Fazli, poet (12 Oct 1938-2016)

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