The Vocabulary I Learned Today

poignantly (adv)

in a way that evokes a keen sense of sadness or regret.

enunciation (n)

the way of articulating words clearly and distinctly according to the rules governing the language

Roland Barthes, whose Camera Lucida4bears witness to this relationship most poignantly. It is not only the book itself but also its position of enunciation which illustrates this kinship, since the work was written just after (and because of) the death of the mother, and just before the death of the writer. 

treacherously (adj)

guilty of or involving betrayal or deception.

Photography is the mirror, more faithful than any actual mirror, in which we witness at every age, our own aging. The actual mirror accompanies us through time, thoughtfully and treacherously; it changes with us, so that we appear not to change. 

castration (n)

the removal of the testicles of a male animal or man.

The fear of castration and its further consequence, its “fate,” are necessarily different, at least partially, in children whose body is similar to the mother’s. 

simile (n)

a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g., as brave as a lion, crazy like a fox ).

Peter Wollen states this in an apt simile: photography preserves fragments of the past “like flies in amber.” 

perpetuate (v)

make (something, typically an undesirable situation or an unfounded belief) continue indefinitely.

Film is able to perpetuate the memory of dead persons, or of dead moments of their lives. 

libido (n)

sexual desire

verdict (n)

a decision on a disputed issue in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.

The compromise which normally concludes this inner struggle consists in transforming the very nature of the feeling for the object, in learning progressively to love this object as dead, instead of continuing to desire a living presence and ignoring the verdict of reality, hence prolonging the intensity of suffering. 

disavowal (n)

the denial of any responsibility or support for something; repudiation.

metonymically (adv)

a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (such as “crown” in “lands belonging to the crown”)