Why does our language groan with the weight of puns? What exactly is a pun? And who, or what, is the Thief of Bad Gags?
The English language is chock-full of maritime metaphors: cock up, taken aback, chip on your shoulder, and show a leg. And, with the help of a Greek removals firm, we also find the origin of the word 'metaphor'.
The uses and misuses of quotations are revealed, and there is also a frank confession from a quotation compiler, which we cannot divulge here.
Featuring sick parrots and the cliché crisis that affected the writing of Flaubert, Joyce, and Eliot, and helped shape modern language and culture.
©2008 Testbed Audio Ltd;
Yet another piece of genius from Mr Fry. This was educational, funny, entertaining. Finding out the origins of everyday phrases and sayings was an eye-opener in many cases. Fans of Stephen Fry and of the English language will enjoy this.
I seem to be going through a 'Fry phase' at the moment, as I've just finished the entire series of 'Stephen Fry in America', watched many episodes of 'Jeeves And Wooster' & have listened to his excellent 'Stephen Fry Presents - Short Stories by Anton Chekhov'. I've even watched his videos debating alongside Christopher Hitchens & have yet to find him annoying, snobbish or arrogant, but rather the model of a renaissance man.
Overall I found this lived up to expectations & moves me one stage closer to wanting to explore his books again (which initially put me off his work). As yet, I'm still to find anything from Fry's second-wind that hasn't appealed & educated in equal measure. Here's hoping the sequel is as good...
P.S. If you want to see reviews of the individual sections, please do a search for 'Fry's English Delight' & it should bring them up on page two. The sections are (in order):
1. 'Current Puns'
All good literature (or art) rewards the returning devotee, and this serial of reflections is truly artistic. It is also fascinating in its insightful foray into the structure and history of this melting pot of an international language.
Fry is engaging and enthusiastic in his style, succeeding in drawing the listener closer to the bosom of his speaker unit, rather like having a chum over to tiffin who you can't persuade to shut up and drink his tea. Strangely endearing, you don't want him to leave...
It may require sesveral repeat listens before you retain any significant amount of knowledge, but you will almost immediately FEEL more intelligent. Perhaps Fry's work is already at least half accomplished at this point?
I listen rather than read on train journeys as I can't stand being jostled by other travelers, and walking & listening is so easy
It's great when you find a radio show that is so engaging, interesting and educational that you just HAVE to listen to it again and again, and this is such an example
The show goes from strength to strength, with Stephen Fry giving the overview and experts in the fields along with comedians - this is just a complete and utter joy to listen to
If you love the English language, this radio show in an audio book is a MUST buy - I'm only dropping to 4 stars because it's so short, if it was longer I could enjoy more of the information that the show imparts, and give it all 5 stars
It does no harm to his international credibility that Stephen Fry played the gentleman's gentleman Jeeves in the television versions of PG Wodehouse's Wooster stories. His manners and Englishness were established.
His erudition and verbal/grammatical dexterity are on display both in the way he has written and also performed the four episodes about the foibles of the English language. An appreciation of irony as well as the intricacies of the tongue featuring in the title will help a fuller appreciation of how cleverly it is written and performed. Nevertheless it is a good exposition of some curiousities of English that will edify native speakers and those acquiring the language alike.
It is worth having the audible version, not only to hear Fry speaking his own words with the correct pronounciation and cadence, but also the occasional groan of supposed self-deprecation when straying into a strained pun. It is a performance and series worth listening to several times as there is a richness of language, humour and intelligence in all four pieces that have been broadcast on radio by the BBC.
It doesn't get five stars from me for story as frankly there isn't one and each of the four pieces can stand on their own, although it is better to hear them in order to appreciate his thesis. I would have liked more as there are other avenues and characteristics of the language and the people who speak it to be described.
International audiences may not have appreciated the pun in the title that is rather cheeky in exploiting the BBC's ban on advertising by referring to an advert that is no longer shown, but would have been prominent in Fry's formative years. That is for a sweetmeat made by a company called Fry and widely, repeatedly advertised as "Fry's Turkish Delight".Or should that be allusion?
Very well researched piece of reading. well read and entertaining indeed . what more could I say. Metaphor. puns clichés interviews with many interesting people in the business.
Educational and entertaining
Content and delivery
Enjoyed - Stephen is as ever an engaging and enlightening presenter.
Very concise and enlightening. It brightened up my dark and misty day. Would not hesitate to recommend this audio book to anyone.
Interesting, fast pace, very funny. You have to pay attention to listen and it's easy to miss bits, but what can you expect from a radio show?
Lover of nice voices :)
If you like English and you like Stephen Fry you will certainly enjoy this. It wasn't the most exciting book I've ever listened too, but it's a nice little gem that will make you giggle several times.
"Good, but could have been better"
I love Stephen Fry and I love etymology, so there was a good bit for me to love, here. The overall package was a little lacking, though. The basic format is to take puns, metaphors, cliches, and quotes and to discuss them as four separate subjects. The "puns" and "quotes" episodes bring up a lot of interesting points about why puns are funny and what makes a good quote, and the "metaphor" episode makes an interesting point about metaphors being a birthing ground for new language; but, on the other hand, the metaphor episode seems poorly edited (ending really abruptly) and full of conjecture and the cliche episode could have probably been cut with no significant loss. My final take is that Fry fans and linguophiles especially should check it out and most interested in playing around with language will enjoy at least one of the four episodes.
"This is a very English delight"
Fry's delightfully plummy voice discusses the uses and misuses of the English language in consultation with assorted experts. Many quips from Fry and many "I did not know that" moments about the origin of English expressions. You're unlikely to want to listen to this series more than once but it's a most diverting listen for a long drive.
"Just a friendly chat about this funny language called English."
Just a very conversational discussion about the common language that separates two peoples.
If you've ever asked yourself about why we speak the way we do this series will help explain parts of it.
"for those that enjoy word play"
I love the obvious joy that Mr. Fry shows in all manner of word play in the English language.
This doesn't really apply. Stephen Fry is more of a narrator rather than a performer of characters. This is factual exposition, not a story as such.
no, but I did especially enjoy the part devoted to puns
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