Monday, December 30, 2013

Some Great Literary Catchphrases

Flavorwire published an article online last week called The Greatest Literary Catchphrases by Alison Nastasi. One of these phrases is even appropriate to this time of year, if you are lacking in holiday spirit. There are some phrases that are well known, but there were a few where I knew the saying but had no idea where the phrase came from. See how many you know, and check out the article by clicking on the title above. As always, happy reading!!

1. "Bah! Humbug!"- Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens                   FIC DICKENS

Where would those individuals who lack Christmas spirit be without this particular phrase to voice? 

2. "Old sport."- Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald             FIC FITZGERA

You have probably been called this or heard someone being called this before. Though I don't think that F. Scott Fitzgerald intended for his phrase to be used sarcastically, as it so often is now. 

3. "Big brother is watching you." - from 1984 by George Orwell        FIC ORWELL

Whether you know this phrase from its meaning in the book, or you just know it by the name of the reality television show, most everyone is aware of this issue.

4. "The old ultra-violence." - from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess   FIC BURGESS

This is one that I had never heard before, but apparently the characters work "ultra-violence" on every unsuspecting character that they come into contact with.

5. "So it goes." - from Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut          FIC VONNEGUT

This deep and meaningful (and fatalistic) phrase is used over 100 times in the novel. Things will happen in the way that they have happened and will continue to happen, as "so it goes." 

6. "Constant vigilance!" - Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling    J FIC ROWLING

I personally have not heard many people saying this out loud, unless it has been in reference to Dumbledore, but he does have a point. Even though most of us aren't dealing with Death Dealers or "He who must not be named," it is useful to always be aware of what goes on around you.  

7. "All that glitters is not gold." - from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare       822.33 SHAKESPE

Of course, this is just one of the many phrases of wisdom that come from the playwright and are constantly used, but it is a good one to think about.  

8. "Can't live with them, or without them." - from Lysistrata by Aristophanes      882.01 ARISTOPH

Of course, Aristophanes was speaking of women.     I am sure that everyone has heard this phrase used in this context, at least once in their lives (whether they are referring to men, women, children, dogs...).

9. "Catch-22" - from Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

I am sure that most everyone has been in a "Catch-22" at least once in their lives. It is a little bit worse than being "stuck between a rock and a hard place," as usually neither choice you make will turn out to be good (at all). 

10. "Begin at the beginning." - from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll                                    J FIC CARROLL

A very simple but deep phrase from the King of Hearts, followed by "and go on till you come to the end: then stop." 

11. "The Horror! The Horror!" - from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad         FIC CONRAD 

I have heard this phrase many times, and I had no idea where it came from. Even though Conrad used this phrase during a most dramatic death scene, most people now seem to use the phrase more sarcastically, though. 

12. "Ships that pass in the night." - from the poem The Theologian's Tale: Elizabeth from Tales of a Wayside Inn by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 811.3 LONGFELL

Another saying that I have heard over and over and did not know the reference to. How many times in dramatic romances have we heard about these ships. Where would all of those characters be without Longfellow?

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