18 juillet 2010

We more typicaUy remember Lincoln's speeches for their eloquence

We more typicaUy remember Lincoln's speeches for their eloquence. Tiffany Knots ring of this, as I have suggested, is achieved through his intuitive feel for appropriate diction and rhythmic emphasis, manifested, most famously, in every phrase of the Gettysburg Address, as in the grand concluding sweep of "we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain," moving on to the cUmactic anaphora, "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shaU not perish from the earth." Only a single phrase in the Address is expUcidy bibUcal, though one might argue that the very use of a language that is both plain and dignified, resonant in its very ordinariness, is in part inspired by the diction of the King James Version. Many people, I suspect, assume that the opening phrase, "Four score and seven years ago," is explicitly biblical, though in fact it is merely modeled on the "three score and ten" of the King James Version, a phrase that, given the sacred status of the formulaic number seventy, appears in times in the 1611 translation. The Hebrew actually has no equivalent expression and simply says "seventy," as does Tyndale's translation, which was a principal source for the King James translators. Their decision to use this compound form would seem to reflect a desire to give their version a heightened and deliberately archaic flourish (it seems unlikely that this is the way ordinary Englishmen said "seventy" in the seventeenth century), and Lincoln clearly Return to Tiffany Heart tag necklace to this aim in adopting the form. The difference between "eighty-seven" and "four score and seven" is that the former is a mere numerical indication whereas the latter gives the passage of time since the founding of the Republic weight and solemnity. This effect in part is a consequence of breaking the number into two pieces, forcing us to slow down as we take it in and compute it. But it also has something to do with the archaic character of the phrase, and in this regard the background of the King James Version has a direct relevance. The 1611 translation, as has often been observed, was in general a little archaic even in its own time. By the middle decades of the nineteenth century, much of its language was surely felt to be archaic (and even then, perhaps not always perfectly understood), and yet the text was, paradoxically, part of everyday Ufe, a familiar fixture of hearth and home. In this way, the sheer dissemination of the King James Version created a stylistic precedent for the American ear in which a language that was Return to Tiffany old-fashioned, that stood at a distance from contemporary usage, was assumed to be the vehicle for expressing matters of high import and grand spiritual scope. Thus, "four score seven years ago," a biblicizing phrase that is not an actual quotation, sounds a strong note of biblical authority at the beginning of the Gettysburg Address.


 

Posté par rings718 à 09:31 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]


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