In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the meaning – and literary origins – of a well-known phrase ‘All that glitters is not gold’. Who gave us that famous expression? William Shakespeare? Thomas Gray? That prolific but elusive author, ‘Anon’?
A few days ago, we delved into the curious origins and meaning of the phrase ‘curiosity killed the cat’. That got us thinking about another popular feline phrase, ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’. We all know the rough meaning of the phrase: namely, if it’s raining cats and dogs, it’s […]
In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the eighteenth-century origins of nonsense literature When did the tradition of English nonsense literature arise? Who invented nonsense literature? Although Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear are the names that immediately spring to mind, several eighteenth-century writers should get […]
The literary origin of the expression ‘swings and roundabouts’ in a forgotten poem Where does the phrase ‘swings and roundabouts’ originate? It’s widely believed that it had its origins in a little-known poem by Irish writer Patrick Reginald Chalmers (1872-1942). Chalmers was a banker as well as a poet, and he […]
The King James Version of the Bible was first published on this day, 2 May, in 1611. This is arguably still the definitive English translation of the Bible, containing a lyricism and beauty of phrasing which many find largely absent from the more recent translations of the Bible into English. Although […]