Episode 152: As the Saying Goes

John Heywood was a playwright and poet who made two important contributions to the history of English. He was a key figure in the emergence of modern English drama which led directly to William Shakespeare at the end of the century. He was also a proverb collector who assembled most of the common proverbs in English into a popular poem that serves as an important resource for modern historians of the language. In this episode, we examine English proverbs, the emergence of modern English drama, and words associated with comedy and humor in Tudor England.


6 thoughts on “Episode 152: As the Saying Goes

  1. Another fascinating episode. Re: spade a spade. My aunt, a pithy Yorkshirewoman, used a variation to describe a vulgar, outspoken sort: calls a spade a bloody shovel.
    I have always found this most useful.

    • Cool. Had a friend who in mid-conversation combined adages for non sequitur fun; not sure, but I seem to recall, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, call it a spade.”

  2. Yet another fascinating episode. It’s amazing what you have discovered, then presented in a very accessible non-academic manner.

    The stories about the language intermingled with the history of the time, make this my favourite podcast and one I will stop listening to all others to get my Kevin Stroud fix.

    I’m so looking forward to your book.

  3. In Britain, “pants” typically refers to underwear. Short for “underpants”. It is also a slang term for “rubbish”. As in “That’s pants”.

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