“My sweetheart is more to me than a coined hemisphere.”


This is a quote from the great Victorian author Anthony Trollope, and it is also where I got my blog title from.  But what the hell does it mean?  It may be Trollope at his most nonsensical.  It may have some deep meaning.  It may be that I will never know.  Still, I like it.  I looked up the word “coined”, because I think I know what a hemisphere is, but I thought “coined” might have some obscure meaning I wasn’t aware of.  Google, as usual, is a fount of information.

Coincoined past tense – 1. make (coins) by stamping metal.  2.  invent or devise (a new word or phrase).

Did Trollope mean his sweetheart is more to him than a place full of money?  Did he mean that his sweetheart is more to him than a newly named place?

Google got more interesting, as I went down the entries.  Dictionary.com was piquant:




Archaic. a corner cupboard of the 18th century.


British Informal. to counterfeit, especially to make counterfeit money.
Surely Trollope wasn’t talking about a cupboard??  I like the British informal verb – to counterfeit.  As if a hemisphere were false, a fake.
Dictionary.com also tells me that “coined” originated in 1304, with a meaning of “cornerstone, wedge”.  It was an architectural term to begin with.  I like that, too.  A hemisphere with a corner.  Or a hemisphere wedged between others.
Cambridge Dictionaries Online simply say the verb is to “invent”.  I like the notion of an invented hemisphere, an invented place.  A blog is certainly that.
I doubt Trollope consulted the Urban Dictionary online, but for your edification I can tell you that according to them, “coined” can mean 1. to describe a personal gain of someone else  2. A Super Mario Brothers reference when Mario jumps up and hits the boxes to get coins.  3. To beat someone at something; or
To ram into them or hit them;  4.To have sex doggy style, each thrust is a coin
You see the possibilities are endless.
So I’ve come up with my own interpretation, for the purposes of this blog.  I think I’ve decided that “My sweetheart is more to me than a coined hemisphere,” means that something precious is more than a so-called place.  A coined hemisphere is merely a construct, something we’ve made up.  That it exists is only due to our imagination.  A coined hemisphere is something we’ve given a name to, but it’s almost too much to wrap your head around
I feel that way about the world a lot of the time.
So in this blog I will write about our world, particularly the themes that appear in my memoir, My Heart is a Wilderness.  Some of those themes include travel, education, sex and sexuality,  the concept of home and belonging, labor and labor rights, mental illness and its challenges, and  possibly a wide assortment of other things.  When you’re looking at a “coined hemisphere”, it’s hard to limit yourself!
I’m also happy to hear from you!  What do you think a “coined hemisphere” means?

3 thoughts on ““My sweetheart is more to me than a coined hemisphere.”

  1. From the context of the novel the phrase is from, “Ralph the Heir” (published exactly 100 years before the year of our births), I’d say it is meant to mean a half-a-world of gold or treasure. Even within the novel, Trollope tells us that the expression was “absurd, but the feeling was there.”

    But I like the idea of re-imaging the phrase to be a referencing to naming the world (or half the world), like a play on Edward Said’s ideas of Orientalism. The West (such as it is) has benefited a lot from coining a term that holds the wide diversity of the so-called “Orient” – It has been valuable in both finance and culture to the colonial powers, so to say something is worth more to you than that is to limn the edge of the two meanings: the value of that coining (and here there meaning sneaks up against the edge of the other meaning of coin) and also that dark and violent and exploitative aspects which we hope to not subject the beloved. . .

    Looking forward to reading more. Be sure to link the updates on facebook and consider getting on Twitter.

    • Thanks Osvaldo! Now I feel a bit foolish – I haven’t yet read “Ralph the Heir”. I didn’t know the quote came from it. Now I know. I’m glad, at least, that Trollope acknowledged it was a teensy bit “absurd.”
      I hope I can address Orientalism and the things you write about. It always seems to come up, doesn’t it? I should also probably read Edward Said.
      I am still finding my way around WordPress, so I know I need to link the updates to Facebook. I have a Twitter account that I never use, and yes, I know I should. But blah. You know what I mean?
      Thanks again for the correct interpretation. Good to start off humble!

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