Between the Lines
Books for Lovers of Language Writing
(The Orlando Sentinel, December 1, 1991)
By Nancy Pate
. . .
Michael Macrone, who wrote the useful and amusing Brush Up Your
Shakespeare, now offers It's Greek to Me! Brush Up Your Classics
(HarperCollins, $17). Don't worry—this isn't a Berlitz course in how to
speak Greek. Actually, you probably know more Greek than you realize
because many common terms and phrases have their origin in classical
literature, philosophy, drama and history. "To bite the dust" comes from
Homer's Iliad, "sour grapes" from Aesop's fable about the fox and the
grapes, "dog days" from Pliny the Elder's Natural History and
"cloud-cuckoo-land" from Aristophanes' The Birds. The original meanings
of some expressions may surprise you. The famous Trojan horse, for
example, was built by the Greeks, who presented it to the unsuspecting
Trojans. Hence the warning, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."
. . .