alec ramsdell a_ramsdell at
Fri Jul 31 09:28:45 PDT 1998

Barkley Rosser writes:

> Sorry, but the etymological roots of "defenestrate"
>have to do with tossing things out windows.

uh, thanks. (I was trying to make a funny)

>(with a cirumflex over the second e indicating that it used
>to be followed by an s) is French for window and comes from
>the Latin.
> The historical reference is to two such incidents in
>Prague during the Reformation when nationalist Hussite
>Czechs tossed Catholic leaders beholden to the Habsburgs
>out windows of the palace.

Has anyone read "The Defenstration of Prague" by the poet Susan Howe (also author of _The Nonconformist's Memorial_)? She's great. A library cormorant, she does a lot of work on marginalia of authors in original manuscripts (Melville, Dickinson, others). _The Birth-Mark: Unsettling the Wilderness in American Literary History_ gives an interesting look at the construction of "incloser", property, etc.


Many view the "accidental" fall
>of Prime Minister Masaryk off a balcony in 1948 as a rather
>curious echo of this, albeit that did not precisely involve
>any windows.
>Barkley Rosser

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