Posted by R. Berg on December 12, 2002
In Reply to: And yet...and yet... posted by Woodchuck on December 12, 2002
: : : hi, i'm the book critic of the san francisco chronicle, drawn here from google by your excellent treeing of the phrase 'weapons of mass destruction.' here's one that's been bothering me for a while: the now-ubiquitous repetitive phrase 'and yet...and yet...' where did it come from, and how did it become so inescapable?
: : : btw, who are you guys? how do you do it? and can you reply via e-mail to email@example.com as well as on the bulletin board? i've got a newspaper column to fill in the next 3.5 hours, in case the answers are newsworthy and you're feeling especially industrious.
: : : all finest,
: : : david kipen
: : We are an international group of volunteers who share a love and fascination of and with the English Language.
: : I do not have an answer for you on your phrase inquiry but hopefully someone will post something here to help you out.
: : Please visit again!
: I can never resist tracking down a vaguely familiar quotation. I found so many, I will not quote them all, but will cite a few that may have served to popularize the phrase.
: * W. B. Yeats, "The Wild Swans at Coole"
: * Charles Hamilton Sorley circa 1912
: * Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 19th century poet
: * George Eliot in _Middlemarch_ (1871-1872)
: The earliest usage I've found so far (assuming the English translation was made in the author's lifetime) is a haiku by Kobayashi Issa (1762 -1827):
: The world of dew
: is the world of dew,
: And yet, and yet--
: And yet, and yet... I doubt that's the earliest usage. I did try searching the Oxford Shakespeare at Bartleby and as much as I wish I could pin it on Shakespeare, it seems we can't.
: A 17th or early 18th century origin seems likely, but there's just too much ground to cover in one day.
Another use of this evocative phrase (found using Google): Emma Goldman's essay "Durruti Is Dead, Yet Living" , linked below. If a follow-up post removes the link, return to this post for it or use