One very short story – often attributed to Ernest Hemingway but actually the work of another writer – is just six words long: ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’. And some of the greatest fiction-writers of the last two centuries have written memorable short stories which stretch to little more […]
In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the origins of a famous expression in a classic work of children’s literature The more I return to Lewis Carroll, the more convinced I become that he, not Dickens, has perhaps the strongest claim to being the key […]
The story of how the sun stood still during one of Joshua’s battles is well-known, although that battle it was and why the sun might have stood still are questions whose answers are less well-known, and, in the case of the ‘why’ question, may be ultimately unanswerable altogether.
Although we know Franz Kafka’s novel under the English title The Castle, it’s worth pointing out that we might also make a case for calling it ‘The Lock’: Schloss, in the novel’s original German title, means both ‘castle’ and ‘lock’. Kafka’s The Castle is about both a castle and about […]
In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the origins of a famous quotation – and its less famous source ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.’ This line is often quoted, but it’s actually, technically, a misquotation. What’s more, the meaning of this aperçu is […]