The Curious Meaning and Literary Origins of the Phrase ‘Dark Horse’

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the origins of the phrase ‘dark horse’ in a forgotten nineteenth-century novel

The novel The Young Duke may have been forgotten, but its author hasn’t been – even if his reputation as an author is not now as high as it once was. To make sense of this – and to discover what it has to do with the origins of the new well-known phrase, ‘dark horse’ – we need to go back to 1831.

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A Very Short Biography of Benjamin Disraeli

The interesting life of a Prime Minister – and novelist

For Jane Ridley, one of Benjamin Disraeli’s most acclaimed biographers, Disraeli is never boring. With that in mind, in this post we offer a short biography of Benjamin Disraeli that aims to condense some of the most interesting aspects of his colourful life into one very brief article. What made the life of Benjamin Disraeli – politician, Prime Minister, successful novelist – so fascinating?

Benjamin Disraeli was born in 1804 into the Jewish faith, although his father had his son baptised in the Church of England at age 13. That father, Isaac D’Israeli, was the author of the sort of book we here at Interesting Literature love – a collection of anecdotes and intriguing facts called Curiosities of Literature. Like father, like son: they both appear to have gone in terror of the boring.

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