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A globe with corners

November 28, 2013

 Just heard a panellist on Question Time on BBC1 say that Scots live in ‘literally every corner of the globe’. Leave aside literally, which I’ve blogged about enough – but what about that curious, contradictory expression corners of the globe? I would love to know where it comes from; my suspicion is that it was originally a joke, a deliberate piece of illogicality, but the humour has worn away and now it is used with a straight face. It must be very old, because John Donne used it in a knowing way in one of his Holy Sonnets in the 17th century: ‘At the round Earth’s imagined corners’.

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