Sunday, February 26, 2012 | By: Brianna


This morning when I saw the prompt from Sunday Scribblings was "modern," the first thing I thought was of "Thoroughly Modern Millie," a musical set in 1922, an extremely modern age.

I really like this musical because it's so silly.  I've seen it twice, each time it was a high school production, and they were both fantastic.  I've never been in it, and I'm not really sure who I would play if I were in it's probably better this way.

The dictionary tells me that "modern" has to do with present and recent time.  But another definition says that "modern" is everything after the Middle Ages.  I find this really amusing if only because sure, today is a time after the Middle Ages, but "everything after the Middle Ages" covers quite a bit of time, if I'm remembering correctly.  So that means that yes, Jane Austen is modern.

That means Shakespeare is modern too, right?  Hm.  I have a couple classmates who would argue differently because they don't understand what the man's trying to say in all that language dripping with imagery.  But my classmates would probably lose this argument because Shakespeare's English is actually considered "modern English."  Everyone who says that Shakespeare is "Old English" is not only wrong, but has never heard old English before and how not like today's English it sounds. I'm going to see if I can find a video recording of old English to illustrate my point...I tried to find a video that didn't have a creepy voice...I'm not sure I succeeded.  Heh.

So does that sound like English to you?  Heck, does that even sound like Shakespeare?  Does that sound like Hamlet?  What's kinda neat is that Middle English (as opposed to Old English) sounds a little bit more like modern English.  I know this because last spring I took a class on Geoffrey Chaucer and read a bunch of The Canterbury Tales in Middle English.  It was pretty awesome.  But Middle English has more of a melodic sound than modern English does, it reminds me of a mix of Gaelic with the musicality of the language and of French with the pronunciation of some of the words.

Point being, as much as people would like to think otherwise and it's crazy, but Shakespeare?  He's modern.

Thank you to Sunday Scribblings for the prompt: Modern

"Everything today is thoroughly modern,
check your personality,
everything today makes yesterday slow,
better face reality..."
- "Thoroughly Modern Millie"


Josie Two Shoes said...

Very interesting, who would have thought of all that as being "modern"? Even at my old age I learn something new everyday! :-)

Mary Mansfield said...

What a thought provoking write! First off, Thoroughly Modern Millie has to be one of my favorite musicals, can't even begin to tell you how many times I've watched the movie version.

Your piece certainly helps to illustrate how centered we are on our own particular time period, ignoring the fact that the years stretch on endlessly and future generations will certainly regard us as anything but modern.

Anonymous said...

interesting and thought provoking

senryu of lost soldiers

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