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Anonymous:
hey,

I wonder where the phrase "[O (insert name)], where art thou?" comes from. And could anyone explain the meaning to me as well, although I can imagine it.
I've seen it quite often recently in different variations, like in the movie "O Brother, ..." or even "O Google, ..." .

Thanks,

Kay
Hi,

I wonder where the phrase "[O (insert name)], where art thou?" comes from. And could anyone explain the meaning to me as well, although I can imagine it.
I've seen it quite often recently in different variations, like in the movie "O Brother, ..." or even "O Google, ..." .


Did you try to search via Google? I dodid, and found this information in 1 minute.

The title O Brother, Where Art Thou? is, in fact, an allusion to another movie. In Preston Sturges' 1941 film Sullivan's Travels, the title character is a wealthy Hollywood filmmaker who (in the midst of the Depression) decides to make a film about the suffering of the "common people" in order to redeem himself from the usual commercial pap he has been wont to produce. Drawing his inspiration from fictional novel, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," written by "Sinclair Beckstein"-a clear allusion to the "realist" novels of Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck-Sullivan sets off in hobo garb in order to experience first hand some "common people" of his own. By a series of highly comic accidents, Sullivan eventually winds up on a prison chain gang in the South.

I found this excerpt, and more , on this site. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ma05/cline/obrother/free6/obrother9.htm

Of course, you might also want to check a few other sites, to see if anyone offers a different suggestion.

Best wishes, Clive
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Anonymous:
hi Clive,

thanks for your answer. (I did search google, but only found information about the movie.)

However, I don't think you've answered my question.
I didnt specifically want to know where the makers of the movie "O Brother, where art thou?" got their inspiration for the title from ("...fictional novel ... written by Sinclair Beckstein").

I did want to know where the phrase "where art thou?" combined with an address to someone (as in the "O Brother, ..." version) originally came from.
For example, I could imagine that it was used in the Bible or by Shakespeare, like it's sometimes the case with older sayings that still exist in modified ways in today's English.
But I am not sure and that's why I am asking. Maybe the orginial source can't be clearly traced back today, if that's the case, it's also fine.

Thanks,

Kay
Hi,

This sounds a bit like asking the origin of an everyday modern phrase like 'Where are you?'

However, OK, I'll try again. Here are a couple of interesting quotations, although I wouldn't claim that either is the origin of the phrase.

This is from the King James version of the Bible (Genesis, Chapter 3).

9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
However, please note that English was not God's first language. Emotion: smile The above is a translation.

Here is a sonnet by Shakespeare.

Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power to lend base subjects light?
Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem
In gentle numbers time so idly spent;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem,
And gives thy pen both skill and argument.
Rise, resty Muse, my love's sweet face survey
If time have any wrinkle graven there;
If any, be a satire to decay,
And make time's spoils despisèd everywhere.
Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life;
So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife.


Best wishes, Clive
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Anonymous:
Hi Clive,

I understand that it was a broad question, but my thinking was that it might have been a special phrase in history/literature and just for that reason remained popular (continuing your comment: compare "who art thou?" which is a lot less common, though only based on google hits)

So it seems like the phrase doesnt have one particular source and that is what I wanted to know about. I like the expression much.

Thanks for your help,

Bye,

Kay
Just as an aside -- there is a famous line in "Romeo and Juliet" where Juliet says "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" This is commonly misunderstood to mean "where are you, Romeo?" when in fact it means "why are you Romeo" -- or "why are you called Romeo?"
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KhoffJust as an aside -- there is a famous line in "Romeo and Juliet" where Juliet says "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" This is commonly misunderstood to mean "where are you, Romeo?" when in fact it means "why are you Romeo" -- or "why are you called Romeo?"
You just filled in a hole in my literary background (the Shakespearean holes are particularly numerous). Thanks
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Anonymous:
Its not 'Why are you Romeo', it means "why are you in Montague Romeo"..
Hi,

What makes you interpret it that way?

Best wishes, Clive
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