Saturday, September 17, 2022

Bleeding Heart Yard, in London and Charles Dickens's "Little Dorrit", and the history of "bleeding hearts"

Bleeding Heart Yard in the London borough of Camden is where the Plornish family lives in Charles Dickens's "Little Dorrit" (1857). Its name is said to come from a Bleeding Heart pub situated there in the sixteenth century; the heart in question was the bleeding heart of the Virgin Mary. Bleeding Heart flowers have been called that since the seventeenth century. The modern sense of a "bleeding heart" as someone too sympathetic to the downtrodden is attested as early as 1951 and attributed without attestation to the anti-New Deal journalist Westbrook Pegler, who was kicked out of the John Birch Society in the 1960s for being too extreme even for them. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 17 September 2022)
An image of Bleeding Heart Yard from Walter Thornbury's Old and New London, 1873–8. (Wikipedia)

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