"Now he belongs to the ages/angels" (Stanton on Lincoln, in The New Yorker)

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Sun May 27 03:01:05 UTC 2007

>Interesting question.
>Whatever Stanton may have said,  the "ages" version is the one that,
>itself, belongs to the ages.
>The rather pedestrian piety of the "angels" version might be an argument in
>its favor,  but it hardly puts it into the memorable & moving class.

In other words, ask not what he said. Ask what he should have said.

Thucydides wrote history that way just fine, putting down what a
reasonable person might expect the people's words to have been, if
the people said what they should have. He tells the reader that's
what he did... which is more than we can say for some historians.

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list