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Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf _ Glossary #1


ABSTRUSE: Hard to understand.

ALICE FAYE: Blond film star of the 1940s, known for her musical roles.
"BERGIN" : Variation on bourbon, coined in the story George tells about a friend of his youth.
BUCOLIC: Descriptive of an idealized rural life, shepherds, and farmland.
CHROMOSOMES: Threadlike bodies found in a human cell that carry the genes.
CLIP JOINT: Slang term for a bar or nightclub that overcharges its customers.
DAGUERREOTYPE: Photo created by an obsolete photographic process using a silver plate. The
process was invented by a French painter, Louis Daguerre (1789-1851).
8. DIES IRAE: Latin for Day of Wrath, name of a hymn on Judgment Day sung in requiem masses in the
Roman Catholic church. George recites the Dies Irae as Martha describes their son during the
9. EXORCISM: Religious rite in which a person is freed from a demon that possesses the soul. Albee
named the play's third act "The Exorcism" to suggest that Martha and George's imaginary child was such
a demon.
10. FLOOZIE: Slang term for a gaudily dressed woman; a prostitute.
11. FRAU: German word for "wife."
12. GENES: Chemical units that carry hereditary characteristics from parent to child.
13. MALLEABILITY: Ability to be shaped or easily influenced.
14. NEW CARTHAGE: College town where George and Martha live, named after the North African state
conquered by the Romans in the Punic Wars.
15. PAGAN: Heathen; a person with either primitive or no religious beliefs.
16. PERITONITIS: Disease where the lining of the abdomen is inflamed.
17. PROHIBITION: Period from 1920 to 1933 when the sale of alcoholic beverages was forbidden in the
United States.
18. RECONDITE: Difficult to understand, obscure.
19. REQUIEM MASS: Mass said for the dead.
20. THEATER OF THE ABSURD: Theatrical movement (loosely grouped and not formally organized)
whose writers are characterized by a bleak and often hopeless view of the world, as well as a disregard
for "standard" theatrical techniques to convey their messages. Albee is considered to have been
influenced by the Absurdists and to incorporate some of their techniques in his work.
21. VOYEUR: Person who gets sexual gratification from looking at the sexual actions of others.
22. WALPURGISNACHT: Literally "Witches' Night," a legendary rite taking place when witches gather for
the purposes of evil and sexual wantonness. Albee named Act II of Virginia Woolf after this rite to
suggest the wickedness engaged in by the characters.
23. WANTON: Characterized by immoral behavior.
24. WOOLF, VIRGINIA: British writer (1882-1941) known for her experiments in fictional technique. Her
relationship to the play's title is indirect at best. That her name is used in a parody song at an academic
party suggests more about the intellectual level of the characters than it does about her own writings or
personal life.

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