Thursday, May 11, 2006

English idiom. Spanish origin.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. When Don Quixote, the “first modern” novel by Shakespeare’s Spanish contemporary, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), and the most widely published book in the world after the Bible, was rendered into English, several now well-known idiomatic expressions entered the linguistic mainstream. Noteworthy among these are: "sky's the limit"; "thanks for nothing"; "a finger in every pie"; "paid in his own coin"; "a wild-goose chase"; "mind your own business"; "think before you speak"; "forgive and forget"; "to smell a rat"; "turning over a new leaf"; "the haves and have-nots"; "born with a silver spoon in his mouth"; "the pot calling the kettle black"; and "you've seen nothing yet." Where did I find this gem? In the serendipitous ocean that’s the World Wide Web.
P.S. : I have a rather unusual Shakespeareana of contemporary origin: After-Dinner Shakespeare by Barry Kraft, a set of one hundred parlour cards with questions and answers about the playwright and his works. It is published by Viking. I got it from Strand Book Stall along with a similar product on Freud of which I wrote in the previous post.

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