Posted by Bob on April 19, 2007
In Reply to: Onward and upward posted by Denis on April 19, 2007
: : : : "Onward and Upward with the Arts". What is the origin of this phrase? I've seen a threat here identifying "onward and upward" as coming from a Lowell poem, and I know The New Yorker uses "Onward and Upward with the Arts" as a section heading, but did the magazine originate it? Seeing it in Moss Hart's autobiography "Act One" made me think not. The phrase seems lightly satirical to me, but I'm not certain of what it is generally intended or taken to convey. Any thoughts would be welcome.
: : : "Onward and upward" is the most often used translation of the Latin motto "Excelsior" (incidentally the state motto of New York).
: : "Act One," a delightful biography, does not predate The New Yorker.
: Right--I was aware that Act One post-dated the New Yorker. It just seemed unlikely to me that Hart would be using an expression that originated in the New Yorker. As for the relation of "onward and upward" to Excelsior, a prior thread here addresses that issue, and the whole issue of "onward and upward" by itself. What I'm wondering about is where "with the arts" got tacked on to "onward and upward," and what the tenor of the expression is.
As the New Yorker uses it (and, I confess, I use it) is to address a bit of absurdity in a tone that says "there's nothing more to say. Moving right along...."