I Forgot I Was Taught That ... Book Takes Us All Back to School

Article excerpt

Byline: BY MAEVE QUIGLEY

WE spend 14 years of our lives at school - sometimes even longer.

Studying Shakespeare, the great poets and Pythagoras' theorem will remind everyone of their school days.

But you might remember pythagoras has something to do with triangles - and not much else.

A new book called I Used To Know That goes over the stuff that we probably learned in school but have since filed away in the back of our memories.

Author Caroline Taggart said while writing the book she discovered that she knew a lot more that she first thought.

She explained: "In the course of talking to other people about what I might include I discovered two things.

"One, that everybody I spoke to had been to school. And, two, that was pretty much the only thing they had in common.

"They had all forgotten completely different things."

So from square roots to American presidents, there's something in this book that will jog even the foggiest memories.

Here are a selection of things that you'll be glad we reminded you about.

LITERATURE

John Donne (1572 - 1631, English)

THE greatest of the metaphysical poets (a loose term for a group of 17th century poets whose work investigated the world using intellect rather than intuition, apparently).

His most famous line, "No man is an island, entire of itself", often misquoted, is from a book of devotions rather than a poem.

Sophocles (c.496 - 406 BC Greek)

THOSE Ancient Greeks certainly knew a thing or two about tragedy - how else can you explain Oedipus Rex (the one about the man who accidentally married his mother)?

Then there's Medea, who murdered her children to avenge herself on their father (can't remember what he had done but it must have been quite something), by Euripides.

And playwright Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata about the women who put a stop to a war by refusing to have sex with their husbands.

Gustav Flaubert (1821 - 80, French)

MADAM Bovary earned her reputation when she closes the blinds on the carriage and has sex while driving round Rouen.

There's a bit more to it than that but that's the scene that sticks in people's minds. …