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Friday
Jul202012

Sentence of the Week

From Life Itself, Roger Ebert's memoir:

When April with its sweet showers brought flowers to the lawns of May and birds filled the air with melodies, Dan-Dan the Yo-Yo Man made his annual pilgrimage to our playground at St. Mary's School. (p.49)

This is a parody of the first few lines of the "Prologue" from Chaucer's Cauntebury Tales. Most of us English majors had to memorize these lines during our college days.

Ebert's riff on the 700 year-old poem is quite unexpected in a plainspoken modern memoir, and for me, quite pleasing. He does a fine job of evoking the music of the original without copying it (the consonant s sound of sweet showers and the assonance of "showers brought flowers"), and then crashes the poetry into the crass advertising vernacular of Dan-Dan the Yo-Yo Man.

Nicely done.

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Reader Comments (1)

Very nice post. I learned.
August 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjanine

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