Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Aug 19 04:16:20 UTC 1999
This is from the BARNHART DICTIONARY OF ETYMOLOGY:
The phrase _ivory tower_, meaning a condition of seclusion or withdrawal
from the realities of life, is first recorded in English as a translation of
the French _tour d'ivoire_ (1911), coined by the French critic and poet
Charles A. Sainte-Beuve. The English phrase was then used as a loan
translation from the French by Henry James in his novel _The Ivory Tower_
(1916)and popularized by Hart Crane, Ezra Pound, H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley,
Burton Stevenson's quotation book has:
Tower of ivory. (Tour d'ivoire.)
CHARLES-AUGUSTIN SAINTE-BEUVE, _Pensees d'Aout: A' M. Villemain_. St. 3
(1837). Sainte-Beuve compares Victor Hugo to a feudal baron with his armor
on, and then says of Alfred de Vigny,
Et Vigny, plus secret,
Comme en sa tour d'ivoire, avant midi rentrait.
(Citations from Oscar Wilde 1895, Riben Dario 1900, Jules de Gaultier 1908,
and Vachel Lindsay 1914 follow--ed.)
Checks on the English Poetry and English Drama databases show four
"ivory tower" citations before 1700:
Francis Quarles, DIVINE POEMS, "Sonnet Sung By Solomon the King" (1632):
They Necke doth represent an Ivory Tower, In perfect purenesse, and united
George Sandys, A PARAPHRASE UPON THE SONG OF SOLOMON (1641):
...Thy Neck, an Ivory Tower displayes...
Samuel Slater, EPITHALAMIUM: THE SONG OF SOLOMON (1653):
Like to a Tower of Ivory, so is thy neck for state...
Samuel Woodford, A PARAPHRASE UPON THE CANTICLES (1679):
Thy Neck is like a Tower of Ivory, Hung with the Trophies of Love's Victory.
This is from the SONG OF SOLOMON 7:4:
Thy neck _is_ a tower of ivory; thine eyes _like_ the fishpools in Heshbon,
by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose _is_ as the tower of Lebanon which
looketh toward Damascus.
Check the Anchor Bible series (Doubleday publishers) for commentary on
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