It got me thinking about how many other things in books become part of our common knowledge and language. I don't mean things like particularly famous titles, plotlines and characters. I mean iconic lines, images or scenes that have grown bigger than the books themselves. They become either phrases that people use without necessarily even knowing the book at all (think, Catch-22), or - as with The Godfather - ideas that somehow everybody knows about.
So, here are a few of those lines or images that I consider mini-icons from literature. I haven't looked anything up, this is all dredged from the corners of my brain. Do you know which books I'm thinking of? I bet you do, or at least have come across what I'm referring to, even if you don't know the book title! Pop your answers in the comments (and no peeking ahead before having a go yourself!).
- A woman dressed in a wedding dress, sits amongst cobwebs and the rotting remains of a wedding breakfast.
- "Curiouser and curiouser."
- "Please Sir, can I have some more?"
- "My dear, I don't give a damn." (The "frankly" often found at the start of the expression was added by the movie-makers and isn't in the book).
- Don't panic.
- "I don't think we're in Kansas any more." (I use this line every time I'm confused about something!)
- A place where it's always winter but never Christmas.
- "My precious."
- Room 101.
- "Bah! Humbug!"
Actually, because these things are so much in common useage, I found it quite hard to think of them! Can you think of any more icons that aren't just famous storylines but have somehow become more than that?