Last of X


  1. Spell Me Jeff said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    "Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?"

    One can't help thinking that the ubi sunt meme and all its cousins is as old as language itself. E.g., "There's goes Yurgg, last of the inarticulates."

    [(myl) There are certainly plenty of books whose titles involve "the last X".]

  2. Joseph Center said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 10:09 am

    I miss Yurgg, but I think I teach all of his descendants in my 7th grade science class.

  3. richard howland-bolton said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    Yeah! Just how many people, for example, were described as Ultimus Romanorum?

  4. Spell Me Jeff said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    Remember the Golden Age of seventh grade? Ahh . . .

  5. YM said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    The vogue for book titles starting with "The Last…" seem to have started with the Romantics: "Roderick, the last of the Goths"; "The last of the Mohicans" (ugh); and Sir Walter Scott's poem "The Lay of the Last Minstrel".

  6. J. W. Brewer said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    Miss Taylor was also described as the "last of the Hollywood giants" (Elton John, or someone paraphrasing him) which as with "larger-than-life" seems a potentially unfortunate choice of phrasing given the degree of cruel tabloid coverage of her failure in later decades to be as slender as she was in her prime. Prior last Hollywood giants seem to have included John Wayne, Paul Newman, Tony Curtis, and Lew Wasserman.

  7. Rubrick said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

    This is the last comment.

  8. Faith said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    (Sorry, Rubrick).

    There's a fascinating essay by Simon Rawidowicz called "Israel, the ever-dying people" about how traditional Jewish culture is predicated on the presumption that each generation of sages or scholars is the "last." Rawidowicz posits that this rhetorical strategy feeds on the fear of Jewish society ending, provided an impetus to continue. "Our incessant dying means uninterrupted living, rising, standing up, beginning anew." You can read the essay on Google Books. I'm not sure there's anything nearly as grand going on with Elizabeth Taylor, mind you.

  9. Matt McIrvin said,

    March 24, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    Someone (Roger Ebert? I forget) once pointed out that movie titles of the form "The Last X" were almost always a warning sign. (But the only one Elizabeth Taylor was ever in was "The Last Time I Saw Paris", which doesn't quite feel like it fits the scheme.)

  10. Vasha said,

    March 25, 2011 @ 5:20 am

    Someone (Roger Ebert? I forget) once pointed out that movie titles of the form "The Last X" were almost always a warning sign.

    Well, there's surely a bit of confirmation bias going on there, like with the game of coming up with criminals whose middle name is Wayne. I can think of at least 3 highly-regarded "last" movies: "Der letzte Mann" a.k.a. "The Last Laugh"; "The Last Waltz"; "Last Tango in Paris". There are way, way more mediocre and bad ones fitting that criterion, but that's the nature of anything. Come up with some other random template, say "[The] Three Xs", and see if the proportion of gold to dross isn't the same.

    [(myl) Don't forget The Last Airbender, The Last Samurai, The Last of the Mohicans, The Last Boy Scout, The Last Dragon, The Last House on the Left, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Last Legion, and many, many others.]

  11. Xmun said,

    March 26, 2011 @ 1:17 am

    And don't forget "The Last Latinist", the little essay, 4000 words long, written by Scott-King to commemorate the tercentenary in 1946 of the death of the neo-Latin poet Bellorius.

  12. A. Marina Fournier said,

    March 27, 2011 @ 4:01 am

    Not the Last of the Red-Hot Mamas?

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