Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 06:19:05 -0400
From: Suzanne Cadwell scadwell[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]EMAIL.UNC.EDU
Subject: Re: Mondegreens
Although Jon Carroll popularized the term "mondegreen" in his 6+ columns
(late eighties, early nineties, I think) in the San Francisco Chronicle,
he did not coin it. Sylvia Wright coined the term in a November 1954
essay in Harper's, "The Death of Lady Mondegreen." This amusing bit of
childhood recollection involves several mishearings of Wright's, the
eponymous one being from the refrain of the ballad "The Earl of Murray."
To Wright's childish ears "They killed the Earl of Murray/ And laid him on
the green," became "They killed the Earl Amurray/ and Lady Mondegreen."
Carroll credits Wright in one of his columns, but gives the wrong journal
and only the decade of publication. I used the Reader's Guide to locate
the original source.
Department of English
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill