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.

Read more