How to pronounce Locus Amœnus, the title of my new novel

lacoversmallOkay, so maybe picking a Latin phrase, Locus Amœnus, with its weird spelling, for the title of my latest novel might make it a little hard for people to recommend it to friends. (If you  order now from Amazon you can get 13% off.) Locus amœnus can be pronounced in English, Low cuss a men us, with stresses on “low” and “a.” In Latin you want to make “amœnus” sound more like “a moin us.” I have also heard amœnus pronounced “uh mean us.” Any of these are acceptable. This is America, after all.

Locus Amœnus means “pleasant location,” and it’s used in poetry to describe a restful place where nothing bad ever happens. It also happens to be the scene of the crime in many of Ovid’s tales, an idea which fits well with the theme of my novel. I couldn’t pass up this phrase for my title, despite its awkwardness, because the story is set in the rural upstate town of Amenia, a would-be pastoral paradise where I own a sheep farm. The name “Amenia” of course comes from the same Latin word as amœnus. Amenia is, by the way, variously pronounced  as “Uh many uh” or “Uh meanie uh.”

 

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