If we pay attention to its etymology this word comes from the Latin miscellanea and this one from the verb miscere, which means to mix or match. It is used in those contexts in which different or unrelated things are presented in the same area.
A type of commercial establishment in Colombia and Mexico
Some commercial stores sell very varied products and among them there is no type of connection. In the speech of Colombians and Mexicans, these businesses are known as miscellaneous. Typical examples in this regard are grocery stores, tobacconists or stationery stores.
The historical origin of these establishments is related to the pre-Hispanic cultures of Latin America, since at that time the commercial activity was carried out in popular markets where there were establishments dedicated to very varied products. From the perspective of the consumer , these stores are interesting because in them it is possible to acquire a wide range of products.
In the written press
In the written media there are all kinds of fixed sections, such as editorial , local, international news, events, sports, etc. In the miscellaneous section the reader finds a mix of information: curiosities, articles about daily life, interesting facts about a subject, jokes, hobbies, etc.
A literary genre that is considered the precedent of the essay
In the Renaissance the figure of the humanist acquired its true and full meaning. The humanist was a scholar interested in all kinds of subjects ( philosophy , science, medicine, art ...). His intellectual restlessness towards all kinds of areas ended up becoming a specific literary genre . In the miscellaneous books there was no definite theme , but a mixture of different knowledge was presented. The purpose of these publications was fundamentally didactic.
Marco Polo's stories about his trips to the East are a clear example of this narrative genre. In them, the author explains the route he took to complete his commercial activity, but also the cultural traditions of the visited territories or his personal assessments of the different ways of life. This narrative format called attention to European readers and for this reason the miscellaneous genre became fashionable.
The multidisciplinary spaces
Certain cultural centers avoid specialization and promote very diverse creative activities. Some libraries are not limited to classic book lending activities, but also develop talks, workshops, exhibitions or conferences.
This approach is a miscellaneous, since different dimensions or aspects end up having a common space.
Photo: Fotolia - Ruslan