The English Major System of Weight Measurement

Many English majors, if not most, will admit to having no talent for math. I certainly will. To give English majors a point of reference when judging weight, which will help in planning trips to the library to trade out textbooks, I give you the English Major System of Weight Measurement. Its basis is imperial units, but as textbooks have the same heft regardless of the country in which they are read, the EMSWM will assist in international communication between scholars.

Here are some handy conversions for quick reference. I suggest printing out this little chart and keeping it in your wallet in case of emergency.

Oxford English Dictionary (Full): 27.5 lbs 1 OEDf = 5 Shakespeare
Complete Works of Charles Dickens: 25 lbs 1 OEDf = 6.1 Norton
Oxford English Dictionary (Compact): 18 lbs 1 OEDc = 4 Norton
Complete Works of Shakespeare: 5.5 lbs 1 Dickens = 4.5 Shakespeare
Norton: 4.5 lbs
MLA Handbook: 1 lb

As you can see, the EMSWM is simple to use. Soon, it will become an international standard. Here are some examples of how the EMSWM can be used:

Recipe for MLA Cake:

1 MLA butter
1 MLA eggs
1 MLA sugar
1 MLA flour
Cream butter, eggs, and sugar, then add flour and mix thoroughly. Bake at 350F/177C in greased Bundt cake pan for 1 hour or until golden brown. Note: I haven’t actually tried this. Let me know how it turns out.

Workout Program:

The EMSWM can also be used for devising a workout program, increasing strength to maximize the efficiency of library trips with the ability to carry more books. Curls should be done beginning with 1MLA dumbbells, then should increase to ½ Norton, then a full Norton or a Shakespeare as strength improves. Since bench presses and squats target stronger muscle groups, one may wish to begin such exercises with an OEDc and an OEDf respectively. For safety’s sake, be certain to consult your doctor librarian before putting together an exercise regimen.


The English Major System of Weight Measurement — 6 Comments

  1. Hah! I’ll definitely have to save this for reference for next semester.

    One little correction, though. You have 1 Dickens equaling 5.6 Shakespeare. It should be either 1 Dickens = 4.5 Shakespeare or 1 Dickens = 5.6 Norton. :)

    • You’re right! (In my own defense, it’s not that I miscalculated–it’s that I didn’t bother looking at my keyboard while typing and punched numbers 1 key to far to the right.) Thank you for letting me know! I’m quite pleased that somebody bothered to check my calculations. :) Or should the previous viewers all be embarrassed for not noticing?

  2. This is shear brilliance. Every university English department should print this out (and laminate it) and hand it out to students on the first day of comp. I in the interest of the health and safety of their students. They may have to remove the cake recipe to discourage cooking in dorm rooms.

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