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I've often thought about this myself. Not just the loss of… - Off the Cliff

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Mon Jun 1st, 2015

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09:44 pm
I've often thought about this myself. Not just the loss of Shakespearean and biblical references from people's backgrounds, but the loss of references to several decades of English humour. Flanders and Swann, Beyond the Fringe, possibly even the more obscure parts of Python? OTOH, even though I studied Latin from the age of twelve, what's absent from *my* background are the treasury of Latin tags and allusions that educated English people had at their fingertips up to the mid-20th century at least. Can't say I've missed it at all, not knowing all of Vergil and Horace and oh god no Cicero. I can find a use for 'Quantum mutatus ab illo Hectore', perhaps, but very few people are likely to get the allusion, so might as well phrase it another way.

Must go by Bakka and get the Pratchett essays, supposing they're out this side of the pond. Weren't, last April.

(5 comments | post comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2015 11:18 pm (UTC)
My mother once pointed out a reference in Antonia Forest's _Cricket Term_ (I think) to "centrifugal bumble-puppy". IIRC, one of the girls is saying to another that "Crommy says we might as well just be playing centrifugal bumble-puppy". And getting that reference requires having read _Brave New World_...
[User Picture]
Date:June 3rd, 2015 12:50 am (UTC)
I remember the bumble-puppy reference in Forest. Had no idea what it meant and thought vaguely it was some kind of knife game played by street kids. Can't remember it from Brave New World at all, not surprisingly since I skimmed a lot of that book. But I have to wonder why Crommie would expect girls to get a reference from a work they would under no circumstances be allowed to read.
[User Picture]
Date:June 3rd, 2015 01:05 am (UTC)
I suspect Crommie was the sort to throw off references even if the girls had no chance of having read the book. I didn't actually get it myself at the time until I read _Brave New World_ later.

And since I am being lazy and looking it up on line:

The Director and his students stood for a short time watching a game of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy. Twenty children were grouped in a circle round a chrome steel tower. A ball thrown up so as to land on the platform at the top of the tower rolled down into the interior, fell on a rapidly revolving disk, was hurled through one or other of the numerous apertures pierced in the cylindrical casing, and had to be caught.

My parents had _Brave New World_ on one of the bookshelves. I partly read it there, partly at school. They also had _The Devils of Loudun_ which was far more intriguing. Though at that age (junior teens) I can't really claim I understood either very well.
[User Picture]
Date:June 3rd, 2015 01:42 am (UTC)
I'd have thought The Devils of Loudun would traumatise one at that age, but maybe not. When I think of the horror stories I read as a child, which purported to be saints' lives for kids, well...
[User Picture]
Date:June 3rd, 2015 01:46 am (UTC)
I think I was imperceptive enough at the time that it seemed more like fiction than fact, and so it didn't traumatise me in the way that it might have done.

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