After my last post, Kathleen Kirk was kind enough to dig up a slightly different pronunciation for feuilleton. I was doubly grateful, because this version was one I had some hope of being able to pronounce. The word did remind me, though, of the word 'phaeton' and perhaps it did Kathleen as well, as she suggested riding around the city in a phaeton, talking about the universe, religion, and words, words, words. Sounds like a nice afternoon to me.
Of course, with me there is always a catch, and this time I have to admit that I am not entirely sure what a phaeton is. I have a feeling that originally it was something Greek, and I think it might have been a chariot of some sort. My next impression is a very large open carriage, or even a sleigh. But then I think it might also be a large car.
Not that any of this is mutually exclusive. When I did a recent post about the landaulet, I entirely left out the fact that there are very prestigious automobiles that have taken over the name.
"Phaeton" also has some ghostly phantom overtones to it. Well, a ghostly vehicle would be a good one to discuss the universe and religion in. Perhaps there would be some strange echoes...
But time to come back down to earth.
Oh, yeah--that Phaeton. Burnt by the sun.* A cautionary tale for overly indulgent parents. I guess my last comment above the asterisks was a little too apt.
Well, by this time in our common human life, there are a lot of connections to that tragic son of Apollo. There are carriages, cars, and ships. There is even a South Korean roller coaster, although this one is spelled Phaethon and pronounced "Python". Doesn't anyone else think that naming things after Phaeton might be tempting fate a little?
I guess it's just me.
But let's narrow it down a bit. There is both a carriage:
and a touring car:
|1929 Packard sport Phaeton|
that would be good places for this discussion.
Kathleen also had a sort of hunch that Dorothy Parker might have ridden around in Phaetons, and I am able to confirm this hunch now. At least this was true after she arrived in Beverly Hills, where Alexander Woolcott visited her and found her living in a large white house "Southern style", with a "brand new Picasso" and a "Packard convertible phaeton".
So carriage or touring car, Kathleen--your call. I'd even try the roller coaster, though I have a feeling that the conversation might be a tad too existential...
(*Burnt by the Sun is also a great movie, by the way, which I don't mind sharing every chance I get, no matter how irrelevant this is to the topic at hand.)