A Translation that Begat a Nation
Its publication was a milestone in the making of modern England. For centuries, it was all the literature many English speakers around the world ever knew. It peppered our language with phrases like ‘let there be light’, ‘a fly in the ointment’, ‘new wine in old bottles’ and ‘how are the mighty fallen’. It “gave us not only cadences and rhythms but metaphors and references,” writes Melvyn Bragg on its impact on his youth. It’s still commonly found in the bedside drawers of many hotels and motels. In fact, in one gaol in South Carolina, it’s still the only book prisoners are allowed to read.
It’s the King James Bible, and it’s celebrating its 400th birthday, prompting all kinds of wild parties… if by wild parties you mean some books and documentaries. Melvyn Bragg’s new book is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s the movie, the BBC doco, the preview of the BBC doco, the special edition (you know, the one that works miracles), there’s the book that isn’t by Melvyn Bragg, and the other book that isn’t by Melvyn Bragg.