When reading historical novels, I often run across the use of anachronisms. As discussed earlier (see below), there is nothing particularly wrong with anachronisms in novels, but it is fun to take notice of them. So, here is a place to park any choice examples you may come across in novels or elsewhere.
Anachronisms were previously discussed in the postings anachronisms in translations and an example was discussed in the posting like shooting fish in a barrel.
ANACHRONISM noun : [[Out of place in time]]. 1) An error in chronology; especially, a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other. 2) A person or a thing that is chronologically out of place. (Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary).
In a novel I’m now reading, the following quote was uttered by one of the characters in the year 1540:
Although the expression has the appearance of being quite old, out of curiosity, I thought I’d check it out.<2006 “He [[Henry VIII]] forgives their trespasses and at the same time makes it clear that if those oaths are broken they can expect no mercy. Carrot and stick, that is how one deals with donkeys like these.”—Sovereign by C. J. Sansom, page 102>
Anachronismwise, the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms dated carrot and stick from the late 1800s. But to add insult to injury, Jonathon Green (author of Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang) came up with the following in our own Ask the Wordwizard:
____________________CARROT AND STICK
The image of the carrot being dangled over a donkey's head as a means of urging him forward dates to around 1895 and was used in this citation as an image of promises being made to electors, were they to vote for a given candidate; the addition of the stick, to beat him if he refuses to work merely for a reward, does not appear until the late 1940s. As in so many popular phrases there seems to be no specific moment of coinage, simply a figurative use that, following one coiner's inspiration, has permeated the language.
So, 1540 versus late 1940s does qualify carrot and stick as a certified anachronism. And, not that it’s any big deal, but in doing some further checking I found a source that pushed the date back slightly to an earlier appearance in 1943:
The following quotes are from archived sources:<“A riddle that seems to have confounded many students of language is the origin of the carrot and stick expression. Research in Aesop’s Fables, the Uncle Remus folk tales and other such sources didn’t turn up any answers. Then we found that it was said by Winston Churchill in a press conference, May 25, 1943: ‘We shall continue to operate on the Italian donkey at both ends, with a carrot and with a stick.’ But the suspicion would not die that the expression was not original with him. . . .”—Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, page 114>
_____________________<1953 “The Democratic donkey plans to reverse the usual role and try the ‘carrot and stick’ treatment on people.—New York Times, 14 December>
<1974 “London apparently has adopted a carrot-and-stick approach to Pretoria--tough on support for Rhodesia, gentle on other issues.”—Christian Science Monitor, 25 October>
<1991 “The carrot-and-stick approach would reward states that adopt the proposed limits by increasing their share of Medicare and Medicaid funds, while penalizing those that don’t with corresponding reductions in those federal payments.”—Spartanburg Herald-Journal (South Carolina), 14 May, page A4>
<2012 “The U.S. prefers the carrot-and-stick approach of talks aimed at convincing Iran to stick to a peaceful nuclear regime, combined with increasingly harsh economic sanctions to punish Iran as it improves its current program.”—Associated Press Worldstream, 8 July>
Ken G – August 8, 2012