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
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
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
[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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