I finished Black Eagle and Grey Falcon, all 1150 pages, not counting the index or bibliography. I had to read it at the breakfast table because I couldn't hold the book in my hands. It's a wonderful book and West is a wonderful writer, arguably the finest woman writer of the 20th century. There's a lot to absorb and I'm still absorbing it. It is ostensibly first and foremost an analysis of the history of Yugoslavia, and the Balkans. It is also a fascinating travel piece with stunning descriptions of people, art, food, scenery, and arrangements (food, wine, comfort, transportation et al.) West also offers insights into relationships with people and between people she encounters. I have a a pretty good vocabulary but as you know, I have been looking up Wests' words since I began to read her book, some for assurance but most for information and knowledge. I have a few more:
catamount| (also catamountain) noun N. Amer.a puma.• archaic any medium-sized or large wild cat. ORIGIN late Middle English (as catamountain): from the phrase cat of the mountain.
cloaca noun Zoology a common cavity at the end of the digestive tract for the release of both excretory and genital products in vertebrates (except most mammals) and certain invertebrates. 2 archaic a sewer .DERIVATIVES cloacal adjective [That's what I was looking up again - I couldn't retain it.] ORIGIN late 16th cent. (in the sense ‘sewer’): from Latin, related to cluere ‘cleanse’. The first sense dates from the mid 19th cent.
cambium mass noun Botany: a cellular plant tissue from which phloem, xylem, or cork grows by division, resulting (in woody plants) in secondary thickening. DERIVATIVES cambial adjective ORIGIN late 16th cent. (denoting one of the alimentary humours once supposed to nourish the body): from medieval Latin, ‘change, exchange’. [Doubt I'll ever use this.]
tontine noun: an annuity shared by subscribers to a loan or common fund, the shares increasing as subscribers die until the last survivor enjoys the whole income.• a scheme for life assurance in which the beneficiaries are those who survive and maintain a policy to the end of a given period. ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from French, named after Lorenzo Tonti (1630–95), a Neapolitan banker who started such a scheme to raise government loans in France ( c.1653). [This not West; this is from Old Age: A Beginner's Guide ( 2016) by Michael Kinsley. Like the Boomer's aphorism about competitive longevity: " last one with all the toys/money? wins." I'll get to tho book soon.]
serotinous - Not in the online dictionary but I noted that it described a kind of pine cone.
praxiological - Also not there.
I'm not worried and I'm sure you're not either.
I found a review of BlackEagle online: "Rebecca West's vast, complex book Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is more than a timeless guide to Yugoslavia - it is a portrait of the author's soul and of Europe on the brink of war. Geoff Dyer explores one of the neglected masterpieces of 20th-century travel writing." You can check that out if you're interested. I also intend to re-read the introduction to my edition of the book by Christopher Hitchens. I recommend that, too, if you decide not to read the entire book. It depends how much time you have.