NC Literary Hall of Fame



Going to Hell in a Hen Basket: An Illustrated Dictionary of Modern Malapropisms by Robert Alden Rubin

Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan
$17.99, hardcover / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-250066275
August, 2015
Humor: Puns & Wordplay; Literature and Language
Available from your local bookstore or

"I am internally grateful to Rubin for unearthing these jar-dropping tongue jumbles. My favorite of all is probably those folks [who] will cut off their nose despite their faces, but the constellation prize goes to all of us who compete in our doggy dog world. Trust me, you’ll double over into a feeble position at some of these not-so-bon-mots.Time to batter down the hatches and buy this book."
—Dinty Moore, Brevity

Have you ever eaten a vegetable melody, pushed a wheelbarrel, or curled up in a feeble position? If so, maybe you need Robert Rubin’s Going To Hell in a Hen Basket: An Illustrated Dictionary of Modern Malapropisms. A whimsical and erudite illustrated collection of more than 600 contemporary language goofs, harvested from the Internet, books, magazines, and newspapers, Rubin’s dictionary both defines and explores the stories behind lexical miscues, and shows what happens (sometimes hilariously) to words when those stories are forgotten. To borrow a phrase from the philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember a word are condemned to create a malapropism.”

Robert Alden Rubin grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He holds an MA in creative writing from Hollins University, and a Ph.D in English from the University of North Carolina. He has worked as a journalist, as a book editor for Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and as a college writing instructor at UNC and Meredith College. He is married and lives in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.

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