in Barchester Towers

Chapter 53 – Conclusion


This word comes from ancient Greece and refers to a song of victory or a song which invoked victory.  It was also adapted into Latin as paean, and retained the same meaning as a hymn or chant of victory. It is used here to describe Archdeacon Grantly’s song of triumph over Mr. Slope, since he has won their battle over religious power in Barchester. This word is cited by the OED as occurring in English literature as early as 1589.  [MD 2005]

The word has a Classical flavor, which can be humorously juxtaposed with its Christian context here.  Perhaps it is slightly unseemly for Dr. Grantly to take “pagan” glee in his religious victory?  [RR 2011]

Sources:  OED.



This Greek word, adopted into English, is used here as an exclamation, condemning those people who might disagree with Eleanor Bold’s religious views and practices in her new station as the wife of Dean Arabin.  [MD 2005]