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Begat : The King James Bible and the English Language (Hardcover)

Author: Crystal, David

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This astonishing book has `contributed far more to English in the way of idiomatic or quasi-proverbial expressions than any other literary source,' wrote David Crystal in 2004. In Begat he returns to the subject: he asks how a work published in 1611 could have had such an influence on the language and looks closely at what that influence has been. He comes to some surprising conclusions.

No other version of the Bible however popular (such as the Good News Bible) or imposed upon the church (like the New English Bible) has had anything like the same impact. David Crystal shows how its words and phrases got independent life in the work of poets, play-wrights, novelists, and politicians, and how more recently they have been taken up by journalists, advertiser, Hollywood, and hip-hop. He reveals the great debt the King James Bible owes to its English forebears, especially John Wycliffe's translation in the fourteenth century and William Tyndale's in the sixteenth. He also shows that the revisions and changes made by King James's translators were crucial to its success.

`A person who professes to be a critic in the delicacies of the English language ought to have the Bible at his finger's ends,' Lord Macaulay advised Lady Holland in 1831. David Crystal shows how true this remains. His book is a revelation.


Publisher Oxford Univ Pr
Mfg Part# 9780199585854
SKU 214950950
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0199585857
Release Date 11/1/2010
Product Attributes
Book Format Hardcover
Number of Pages 0327
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
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