Words: hogo, n.

Christopher Hawtree
Sunday 23 October 2011 06:04

THE NATION'S examiners will despair when the glorious inaccuracies of Shakespeare in Love lodged in adolescent brains are presented as GCSE fact ("as Shakespeare's lover reached America . . ."). They should bone up on Anthony Burgess's equally vivacious biography, as headlong as its subject but curiously down on the wordplay of Love's Labours Lost.

Still, of the Protestant crisis, he writes that Shakespeare in London "met the full hogo of an issue that Stratford knew only in stray whiffs". Most likely, Burgess knew it from Ulysses ("a hogo you could hang your hat on"). From haut gout, it reached England after Shakespeare's death - to mean both flavoursome and putrescent. It says something about the English that the latter took the ascendant.

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