Anagrammy Awards > Literary Archives > Mike Keith
Original text in yellow, anagram in pink.
Pride and Prejudice
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of someone or other of their daughters.
"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
"But it is, returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
"Do you not want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.
"YOU want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."
This was invitation enough.
"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."
"What is his name?"
"Is he married or single?"
"Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"
"How so? How can it affect them?"
"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."
"Is that his design in settling here?"
"Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he MAY fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."
"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley may like you the best of the party."
"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly HAVE had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty."
"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."
"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood."
"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."
"But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know, they visit no newcomers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for US to visit him if you do not."
"You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls; though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."
"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving HER the preference."
"They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he; "they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters."
"Mr. Bennet, how CAN you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves."
"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least."
Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. HER mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.
Did Juice Rend Paper?
Hi. It seems a fact everywhere admitted, that a nimble human having keen intelligence must be in need of an anagram.
Although the byways of said human may be somewhat unknown, I find this is so clearly known among the deifiers of wordy burnishers that this maxim is deemed the rightful possession of everyone who wills.
"Ahh, my dear Mr. Brodie," said I to my friend, unwished, one evening, "have you heard I am now trying to set down some modes for the creation of long anagrams?"
He merely said, "Huh? Ohhh, no! Hush!"
"Heh-heh-heh-heh," he finished, red.
"Why, I am!" I effused, huffily. "For they have asked me to speak on healthy idioms at Ars Magna LXII in Lyme Regis."
So, listeners, began my journey.
You surely already know some elementary ideas, however I hear you will forbear to listen to them. Firstly, we see it's infeasible and unworthy to generate long anagrams automatically using these new computer gadgets. At least, it is not possible to make them in their entirety, because the permutations (to use one of Mr. Brodie's stuffy words) are too many, and the diffused challenges of correct grammar - not to mention coherent story - still lie beyond the everyday abilities of these new-fangled devices (hah!).
As I shyly said to Mrs. Short here today, "Hi. It may be that this explains some of the fiery, shimmery allure in the long anagram - the fortuitous combination of the human mind and the calculating device which, though it be not able to do the task alone, can be useful as an assistant." ("Oh, no.", she held.)
The next idea is a little more subtle, though, I am sure, quite obvious to an astute audience like yourselves: write your anagram in non-linear fashion. Thus, do not go from the beginning to end, but instead write the sections which you deem the most critical first, where your writing constraint will be felt the least - that is, where you have the most room to move. For instance, what I am saying to you now is important to my thesis, so it was written first. Other parts - you might be able to notice - contain comments and parenthetical material which can be altered a good deal without affecting the overall story.
This brings me to a hint (significant observation, even) first realized while I was riding hither one day in Pemberley: the anagram constraint is different in a basic way from many other writing tricks such as the lipogram (writing while avoid certain letters) or the palindrome. Why? Honey, those constraints are felt with constant strength as one writes. But the anagram requirement? He starts out very weak and gradually tightens, noose-like, around the dumbfounded writer. (I speak here mainly in regards to a long, husky piece of writing.)
Oh, I should like to dwell more on the analogy between the hardy pleasures of the long anagram and the unholy practice of auto-erotic suffocation, but I fear this would, alas, be too indelicate.
So, heed now a few more short guidelines:
- Synonyms: Just for crossword solving? Oh, no, honey! Also very useful for suffusing thy work with a symphony of unknown or humorous words.
- Freud: Just for analysis? Oh, no, honey! Unfreeze your mind, use subconscious rhythm; look for and tote useful inversions; work the many sensory dimensions (...ahhhh, thyme!...).
- Meditate: Ignore the housewife or other sundry things. Be obdurate, be vehement! Demand unreserved peace for your work.
- Be sedate. Shiny dazzlement is unadvised - be subtle, men.
- Euphony hint: Read hymns. Word sounds edify you, make heavy omens.
- Remember: Work hard, train, maneuver fervently. Anagramming's no undue nonsense - hah! End rewards are well-deserved.
In conclusion, the anagram is such an odd mixture of puzzle, sardonic humor, and foolhardy work, that my experience of thirty-shy years has been insufficient for me to fully grasp it. Why, oh why? Perhaps my heavy mind has been slow to develop hitherto, but I am happy to have given these few thoughts to you heroes today. The business of my life is now to get back to anagramming. Oh, I'm finished. Good day.
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Updated: May 10, 2016