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God's own country

Posted by R.Murugesan on April 07, 2009 at 16:49

What is the origin of the phrase "God's own country". The following dialogue that appears in the 'The Razor's Edge'(Somerset Maugham) makes it appear as a reference to Americas.

" 'A propos, is that poor Larry still among the Redskins?

For that was the disrespectful way in which she was accustomed to refer to the inhabitants of God's own country"

Incidentally, in India it is currently taken as a reference to the state of Kerala, perhaps after a publication of a book under that title. Would someone be kind enough to explain the origin of the phrase in detail.