Glossary investigation – Teeter

Unbalance: Teeter

1867 James Russell Lowell Biglow Papers Series II

      An’ I tell you you’ve gut to larn thet War ain’t one long teeter
      Betwixt I wan’ to an’ ‘Twun’t du

      war
      hell
      dead
      enemy
      failed
      fighting
      god
      lost
      adversity
      apologizing
      appeal
      aspirations
      blood
      bloodshed
      brotherly
      carry
      charm
      crimes
      crueler
      cruelty
      danger
      dangers
      defeated
      dissatisfied
      facts
      forever     
      golden
      grow
      guilty
      hardship
      hate
      hesitate
      hopes
      humiliation
      inheritance     
      killed
      killing     
      kindness
      liberties
      liberty
      lies
      life
      love
      magnitude
      momentous
      nothing
      owned
      perfect
      power
      promise 
      purged
      reform
      sadness
      share
      spies
      strife
      truth
      vainly
      whipping
      wish



Notes: Lowell wrote this long poem in response to or inspired by the American Civil War. In this and other writing he attempted to emulate the true Yankee accent in the dialogue of his characters. See https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/13310/pg13310-images.html – a search for “teeter” in the document will bring you to the passage.

I find it next to impossible to read. What language were others using at that time? Using around twenty quotes about the Civil War, written at that time, I selected key words and ordered them by count of occurrences and then alphabetically to create the accompanying list.

Materials used: Galvanised steel wire, fishing weights, wooden block. Photographic documentation continues to be unsatisfying, so I have made an initial experiment with video. One of the delightful things about this piece is how much it teeters, while still requiring surprising effort to dislodge. The balance point is a vertical wire sharpened to a point, on which sits a horizontal 1.57 mm wire that has been hammered flat and given a pockmark. The fact that it can fail, can fall, seems important and appropriate.


More glossary entries
Structure based on lists

Glossary as a list of words connected with unbalance

  • Oxford English Dictionary used as source of quotations, not definitions
  • Making, motion, and photo documentation in response to quote
  • Text response in a list
  • Process notes
  • 1 Response to “Glossary investigation – Teeter”



    1. 1 Momentary (un)balance | Fibres of Being Trackback on June 22, 2019 at 5:52 pm

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