Thursday, 15 October 2015


Lovely phrase

This expression emerged out of today's sitting of the Parliamentary Public Administration Committee. It may prove generalisable to other utterances in other contexts.

'Verbal ectoplasm' is not a new phrase, going back at least to the 1990s. It not unknown in a UK Parliamentary context, but is not uniquely British. Perhaps this recent airing will enhance its currency.

Who knows, it might even find application with respect to Conductive Education.


Gayle, D,(2015) Kids Company hearing : Batmanghelidjh accused of 'verbal ectoplasm' – as it happened, Guardian, 15 October



Blogger NormanP said...

You may be as delighted as I am to discover that the originator of the phrase "verbal ectoplasm" may have been that master wordsmith and poet Dylan Thomas.

He deployed the phrase in a talk "A Few Words of a Kind" at MIT on 7th March 1952, about poetry and what poetry means to him. There are several audio copies of the talk online but, as far as I can see, only the one transcript:

He considers what 'words of a kind' he should say between poems at readings of his poems. He considers silence "Indeed I thought they want from me no introduction at all; let them stand on their own feet the little lyrical cripples." But he concludes that "A whole hour of loud and unrelieved verse speaking is, I imagine, hell" except to (mentioning several types of audience member) "Or to the infernal androgynous literary ladies with three names who produce a kind of verbal ectoplasm to order as the waiter dishes up spaghetti." Delightful.

Friday, 16 October 2015 at 14:14:00 BST  
Anonymous Andrew Sutton said...

Thanks, Norman, it is one to treasure.

Friday, 16 October 2015 at 20:36:00 BST  

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