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The E-Sylum:  Volume 4, Number 12, March 18, 2001, Article 9

NUMISMATIC ANGUISH 

   Like I said, the smartypants answers are always the first 
   to arrive.  In response to the usage of the term "numismatic 
   anguish", one anonymous wag writes: "Perhaps the term 
   "numismatic anguish" refers to the underbidder on a 1953-S 
   Franklin half dollar selling for $69,000. ... or maybe it refers 
   to the successful bidder." 

   Bill Bischoff writes: "The current E-Sylum devotes considerable 
   space to the topic of Nobel Prize-Winning numismatic authors. 
   I would say T. Mommsen is the best answer, because he was 
   a practicing numismatist as well as an historian, whereas Yeats 
   was a poet who had an incidental, short-term encounter with 
   numismatics. 

   As for Miguel Angel Asturias (not Asturio), who is quoted as 
   saying, "This novel shares - consciously or unconsciously - the 
   characteristics of the indigenous texts; their freshness and power, 
   the numismatic anguish in the eyes of the Creoles who awaited 
   the dawn in the colonial night, more luminous however than this 
   night that threatens us now. Above all, it is the affirmation of the 
   optimism of those writers that defied the Inquisition, opening a 
   breach in the conscience of the people for the march of the 
   Liberators." 

   The word "numismatic" is used incorrectly here, due either to 
   the Nobel author's or the translator's inadequate command 
   of English. The word "numismatic" in the quotation  may be 
   intended for "numinous" -- meaning that the Creoles in 
   question feared for their very Being.  But hey, at least the term 
   wasn't "philatelic!" 

   [Editor's note:  this is the best explanation I've heard yet 
    (it's also the only one).  But it seems to make sense. You 
   know, the word "philatelist" sounds to me like it ought to 
   mean "one who has gas"...  as in "too many philatelists in a 
   room make me feel numinous"] 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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