Thursday, March 08, 2012

What do you notice about the following extract?

What do you notice about the following extract?  ...except for some trimming here and there and the shifting of the gold deeds of the Black Knight to the shoulders of Ivanhoe.

It comes from a review of the movie, Ivanhoe, by Bosley Crowther, which I copied to Evernote recently after I'd read the book by Walter Scott.   It seems to me in this sentence from the review that Bosley has mixed up his good with his gold.  Perhaps it's because Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is also mentioned in the review a couple of times.   

It's interesting how often the word gold is used more as part of a metaphorical expression than in terms of itself as a precious metal.  Gold and gold bullion has been around so long in human history that we tend to equate it with its value rather than its actual physical self.  (If 'self' is the word I want.)

Looking through my famous clippings (again, on Evernote - not that I'm trying to promote Evernote today, particularly) it's intriguing how rarely the word turns up just as plain old ordinary gold.  Much more often it's within an expression: he turned his company to gold; such and such is the gold standard of the business, or the mission, or the something else.  

In our minds, gold is much more than itself.  I'm sure there are other words like this, though I'm not sure that silver has got quite the same clout, though diamonds comes close.   Although what do you make of this sentence?  We make our lives tiny diamonds in the cosmic sands.  (It comes from an article on Ronald Dworkin written in The Guardian.

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