Sunday, 5 July 2009

chiasmus and chocolate cheese cake

My sister prepared a chocolate cheese cake last night and we just ate some of it, in a celebration of all that is unhealthy in delicious food, a symphony of fat and sugar that will sing through the veins and into the organs and probably settle on the hips forever. (I said 'prepared' rather than 'baked', because it's a frozen, uncooked one, and not such a good choice for a barbecue on a summer's day - but that's another story.)

We felt a teensy bit guilty eating it, but comforted ourselves with the knowledge that although it would have been unhealthy to eat a large portion, we each took a piece that was quite small compared to a huge serve. And then had to admit it was undeniably huge, compared to a small serve.

An example of chiasmus! The very first day after I learned this new word, it slid quietly into the lunchtime conversation. defines chiasmus:
A verbal pattern (a type of antithesis) in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first with the parts reversed. Essentially the same as antimetabole.
Of the examples quoted after the definition, my favorite would have to be Samuel Johnson's "Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."

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