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Outrageous FortuneGloomy Reflections on Luck and Life$
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William Ian Miller

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197530689

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197530689.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

Epilogue: Go Litel Boke amidst a Flurry of Auto-Antonyms

Epilogue: Go Litel Boke amidst a Flurry of Auto-Antonyms

(p.145) 9 Epilogue: Go Litel Boke amidst a Flurry of Auto-Antonyms
Outrageous Fortune

William Ian Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter is a commencement address the author gave to graduating law students. It deals with the words graduation, degree, and gray. Degree is simply ‘degrade’ in a Frenchified form. Just as commencements can mark a beginning as well as an end, so reflexes of Latin gradus (step) can indicate going down, going up, or being leveled out. Gradus plays an outside role in the punning and word games in Nabokov’s Pale Fire. So the author meant to give an anti-commencement address by pointing to the down as well as up sense of the degree the students were getting. This provides a fitting end in this book to the number of auto-antonyms that figured in many of the preceding chapters.

Keywords:   graduation, auto-antonyms, Pale Fire, Nabokov, etymology, degree

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