PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books

This article is taken from PN Review 13, Volume 6 Number 5, May - June 1980.

The English of Series 3 Holy Communion Basil Cottle
 
THE most striking thing about the syntax and vocabulary of Series 3 is their inconsistency; the compilers, rejecting a version uniformly written when English was at its best, have not even composed a version uniformly written in present-day English, but one marked by many anomalies of archaism and ambiguity. Because my work on the Series is destructive, it must be thorough and systematic, and I shall deal, not with any vague or imprecise dislike of the booklets, but only with An Order for Holy Communion and with its words and constructions, which are wantonly varied in strict accord with neither tradition nor trend.

First, then, the expression of purpose or result by the mere word that or the modern idiom so that: we all know that the Book of Common Prayer uses plain that ('that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful') or one prefaced at a distance by a so which clearly means in such a way ('Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works'). This is lost on the compilers; the Seasonal Blessing for Passiontide contains 'so that you find in him', that for Ascension 'that you may reign with him', and neither of these is current idiom, which would be 'so that you may find/reign'. The mere that in the Seasonal Sentence for Passiontide, in 'that we may perfectly love you' on p. 6, in 'that we . . . may unite' and 'that men may honour one another' ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image