miscellanist n a writer of miscellanies.
miscellany n, pl –nies 1 a mixed assortment of items 2 (sometimes plural) a miscellaneous collection of of essays, poems, etc, by different authors in one volume
In looking at the definition of misanthrope, checking in my own sanity and the appropriateness of the word to describe me, I stumbled on this definition, and had a thought or two about it.
The first word, miscellanist, is rather interesting. Firstly, it is not a common qualifier ; until today, I have never heard anyone being called a miscellanist. Secondly, I can identify to it. This blog is pretty much a heap of various and eclectic writings. Therefore I have a sense of identification with the professional miscellanist. Thirdly, the definition uses the word ‘writer’ to which I want to be identified. Thus the word and its definition ring the bells of identity and originality in my head.
The second definition, that of miscellany, is more tricky. The first sense implies a miscellanist is a sort of collector, not of writings, but of various items. Owners of cabinet de curiosités could there qualify as miscellanist, even with no relation to the world of written words of authors and editors. Applied to them, a miscellanist naturally becomes “a writer of a mixed assortments of written works”, this makes sense.
The second sense however, equates for a miscellanist to be a “writer of collections of essays, poems, etc, by different authors.” Hence a contradiction appears, if one ‘writes’ a collection of essays from different authors, he is not a writer, but an editor. This circular singularity reminds that language is soften simply by being used. Definitions vary, and their interpretation changes.
With all this being said, I think the Collins’ definition of a miscellanist appears incomplete and therefore propose:
miscellanist n a writer or an editor of literary miscellanies.
And only then I am comfortable to pretend to the qualifier.