As in his later novel Crotchet Castle, Peacock assembles a group of eccentrics, each with a single monomaniacal obsession, and derives humor and social satire from their various interactions and conversations. The setting is the country estate of Squire Harry Headlong Ap-Rhaiader, Esq., in Wales.
As part of Mr. Cranium the phrenologist's announcement of his lecture, the author coins the words osteosarchaematosplanchnochondroneuromuelous and osseocarnisanguineoviscericartilaginonervomedullary. They refer to the structure of the human body; they are adjectives compounded by stringing together classical terms that describe the body, using ancient Greek terms for the first word and Latin for the second.
- "Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866)". Encyclopædia Britannica 21. 1911. p. 22.
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