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 […]
The Meaning and Origin of ‘You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It’
In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the origins of perhaps the greatest cake-based proverb in the English language I remember being flummoxed by a number of well-known proverbs when I was very young. The first time I heard ‘a stitch in time saves nine’, […]
The Curious Symbolism of Milk in Literature and Myth
Milk, of course, is the primary source of nourishment for mammals, a word that is ultimately derived from ‘breast’ (as, coincidentally, is the name for the city of Manchester, because it was built on a ‘breast-like’ hill). Because of its pivotal role in providing sustenance for humans and many other […]
The Meaning and Origin of ‘Procrastination is the Thief of Time’
In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the meaning of a famous proverb – and its origins in a work of literature ‘Procrastination is the thief of time’. It’s perhaps one of the best-known proverbs in the English language, and as with most proverbs, the […]
Who Said ‘Better to Have Loved and Lost than Never to Have Loved at All’?
In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the meaning and origin of a well-known proverb ‘Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’ It’s become a proverb, and proverbs are, usually, authorless.