The phrase "ash heap of history",[n 1] is a derogatory metaphoric reference to oblivion of things no longer relevant.[1]

In 1887 the English essayist Augustine Birrell (1850–1933) coined the term in his series of essays, "Obiter Dicta": that great dust heap called 'history.' [1]

A notable usage was that of the Russian Bolshevik Leon Trotsky referring to the Mensheviks: "Go where you belong from now on – into the dustbin of history!" as the Menshevik faction walked out of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets on 25 October 1917 in Petrograd.[2][3][4][5][n 2]

In a speech to the British House of Commons, on 8 June 1982, U.S. President Ronald Reagan later responded that "freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history".[6]

Similar expressions are "sink into oblivion", "fall into oblivion", "drop off radar", "fall off radar". Lethe, in Greek mythology, a river of oblivion, gave rise to the Russian expression of the same kind: "sink into Lethe" (кануть в лету).

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Alternatively: "dustbin of history", "dust heap of history", "trash heap of history", "garbage heap of history", and "ashcan of history".[1]
  2. ^ Trotsky actually said "на свалку истории", "to the dump of history".

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Safire, William (16 October 1983). "On Language; Dust Heaps of History". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  2. ^ Liberman, Mark (23 December 2011). "The What of History?". Language Log. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  3. ^ Sonne, Paul, "The Dustbunnies of History"[usurped], The Oxonian Review 8 June 2009 • Issue 9.7. ISBN 978-0-571-22875-1
  4. ^ Bertrand M. Patenade (2009) Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky, Faber and Faber, pp. 193–194, 352. ISBN 978-0-571-22875-1
  5. ^ Maureen Healey (2004), "11 Dictator in a Dumpster: Thoughts on History and Garbage", in Alun Munslow, Robert A. Rosenstone (ed.), Experiments in Rethinking History (illustrated ed.), Routledge, p. 225, ISBN 978-0-415-30146-6
  6. ^ Pipes, Richard (3 June 2002). "Ash Heap of History: President Reagan's Westminster Address 20 Years Later". Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 September 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2007.