Monday, June 13, 2011

Socilog*, etc. (for Sociolog*)

Harriet Martineau was born on June 12, 1802, in Norwich, England, the sixth of eight children. According to Wikipedia, she was an "English social theorist and Whig writer" and is widely regarded as the first female sociologist. She wrote over fifty books, translated the works of Auguste Comte, and believed that any study of society should include "an understanding of women's lives," thereby addressing such matters as marriage, children, and the domestic sphere, in addition to religious and racial issues. She was the first feminist to promote "equal pay for equal work"; she also advocated for protections against domestic violence. Martineau was a Unitarian and, while away at school, was greatly influenced by a minister named Lant Carpenter, whose teachings, she said, afforded her "an abominable spiritual rigidity and a truly respectable force of conscience strangely mingled together." Martineau was afflicted with a lack of taste or smell and was also deaf from an early age. Despite these handicaps, along with the fact that her family was left nearly destitute after the death of her father and various financial setbacks, Martineau went on to become an accomplished writer. She counted among her friends and acquaintances such notables as Thomas Malthus, John Stuart Mill, George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Charlotte Brontë. Charles Darwin admired her as a thinker, but seemed almost jealous of her writing ability, and was downright sexist in his assessment of her appeal overall, expressing astonishment at "how ugly she is." He added, however, that she was "not a complete Amazonian, & knows the feeling of exhaustion from thinking too much." Try not to think about that too much and concentrate instead on finding typos for words such as sociology and sociologist: Socilog*, Socolog*, Socioilog*, and Soicolog*, which were found between one and seven times apiece in OhioLINK. These were also found 907*, 74, four, and 14 times each in WorldCat.

*N.B.: if you do a keyword search on a word or typo (or partial one truncated by an asterisk) and some of the hits retrieved are for foreign words that include a diacritic, OCLC apparently skips the letter with the diacritic when it searches. This would explain the large number of hits returned on the typo Socilog*, which brings up records containing the Spanish word sociólogos.

(Portrait of Harriet Martineau by Richard Evans, exhibited in 1834 and currently hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in London, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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