Subscribe to our RSS feed:

RSS Feed Button

An 1831 engraving of a Venetian woman, before and after contracting cholera, from Elizabeth Pisani et al., Dirt, The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life, 2012, Profile Books
   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  

by James Croak

“Dirt is not dirt, but only matter in the wrong place.” Variations of this quote have been attributed to William James, Sigmund Freud, Mary Douglas, John Ruskin and a host of others, but an 1883 issue of Longman’s Magazine confirms its author was Lord Palmerston. He aired his starched Sunday shirt on a gooseberry bush only to have it flitter into the mud, but he donned it anyway, uttering this now famous line.