Word Ways

Article Title

Transcendental Wordplay


A. Ross Eckler


The title of this book by Michael West, an English professor at the University of Pittsburgh, suggested that it might be of interest to Word Ways readers. This was confirmed by a letter from the author, who asserted that "[the book] has much to say about the historical background of many varieties of language play in which your journal specializes. When the book received the 2001 Phi Beta Kappa book award, the publicity release noted that "West ... tries to determine where and how Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson, Melville and others got their proclivity for extravagant puns, riddles, acrostics, anagrams and other forms of word play."