adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Cliches, New and Old

The phrase ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ is so common now that I quoted it in THE SONG OF THE SWORD as ‘that cliché.’ But where does it actually come from?

From THE GODFATHER. There is no known use of it exactly in that form before the novel and movie. It is definitely not, as it is sometimes mistakenly attributed, from Sun-Tzu. It is a paraphrase of Machiavelli (who may have borrowed it, in turn, from Petrarch).

At any rate, it is an old sentiment which is why I felt it safe to use. However, I did add ‘but not close enough to slip a knife into one.’

I am awaiting my proof copy of TSOTS to arrive (as well as the redo of RETELLINGS, which had some printing problems). As soon as it comes, I will make the official announcement of its publication. Assuming, of course, that everything looks right.

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