Friday, April 11, 2014

"The Crook Language"

It looks as if at one time criminal slang was threatening to get completely out of hand:
What are we going to do with the crook plays and the crook novels now so much with us? I refer of course to the trouble the authors of them deliberately cause us by their flourishing of the crook language.
. . . I have come to the conclusion that what the reading public needs is a little discreet guidance. To this end I have prepared a short examination paper in crook terms which I give below, and which I believe covers the ground with some completeness.  . . . — Moreby Acklom, " 'Wise-Cracking' Crook Novels," THE BOOKMAN (April 1919)
Take the exam and see how much you know about the subject.

- George Bronson Howard (1884-1922), mentioned in the piece, has an impressive filmography, which is HERE.
- Lists of '20s slang, much of it gangster related, are HERE, HERE, and HERE (but no
fair if you use them to cheat on the exam).

Category: Detective fiction

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