Saturday, 6 March 2021

'The pen is mightier than the sword'

"Who first said 'The pen is mightier than the sword'?"   by Alison Gee, BBC News, 9 January 2015



"The English words "The pen is mightier than the sword" were first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu.

Richelieu, chief minister to King Louis XIII, discovers a plot to kill him, but as a priest he is unable to take up arms against his enemies.

His page, Francois, points out: But now, at your command are other weapons, my good Lord.

Richelieu agrees: The pen is mightier than the sword... Take away the sword; States can be saved without it!

The saying quickly gained currency, says Susan Ratcliffe, associate editor of the Oxford Quotations Dictionaries. "By the 1840s it was a commonplace."

Today it is used in many languages, mostly translated from the English. The French version is: "La plume est plus forte que l'epee."'


"According to the Cambridge Dictionaries website the saying emphasises that "thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence"."


"Robert Burton, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, published in the early 17th Century, describes how bitter jests and satire can cause distress - and he suggests that "A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword" was already, even in his day, an "old saying".


"... When Napoleon came to power there were dozens of newspapers in France but he suppressed most of them, sanctioning just a handful of publications.

He also realised that the pen, in his own hand could be a weapon, says Broers. "He knew that he could undermine the allies who had defeated him through his memoirs and he did."'

London trips 2015-2017 photo albums - visits to speak out on mental health matters ...

 Here are Flickr photo albums from trips to London for mental health events and visits between 2015 and 2017, including to the Carers UK conference at Canary Wharf [I'd campaigned to raise Scottish travel expenses from £100 to £260], a book launch at St George's [I'd co-written a chapter], a visit to Middlesex University for a Coproduction conference and to Drayton Park Women's Crisis House [when preparing for a PhD researching Safe Houses for Psychosis which didn't transpire].

I didn't get paid to speak although I did get expenses for travel and accommodation on some of the trips, from Carers UK and the Minorities Group.

London 25-27 November 2015


London 4-5 July 2016


London 17-19 July 2016


London by scooter 7 November 2016


London Kyoto Garden 9 November 2016


London Mudchute Farm, Isle of Dogs 10 November 2016


London 6-8 March 2017 MH Nursing book launch St George's


London Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge 7 March 2017