Some maintain that the origin of this expression meaning divorced from reality is the Bible, Song of Solomon, 7:4 “Thy neck is as a tower of ivory” but this was perhaps the first literal use, referring to the whiteness of the neck in question, ivory having long been a symbol of whiteness or purity. Who was the first to use it in the figurative sense of living in an ivory tower, divorced from reality? Both Homer in The Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid make mention that dreams during sleep pass through two towered gates, one of horn and one of ivory. Dreams that pass through the ivory gate are false and come to nothing, but those that pass through gates of horn bring true results. Here perhaps was the first association of ivory being somehow divorced from the true measure of things. The concept seems to have slumbered for centuries because it was not until the 19th century that the expression gained currency. In 1837, the French poet, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, in Pensέes d’Août writing about two other poets, Victor Hugo and Alfred de Vigny, wrote, “Vigny, more secret, as if in his ivory tower, retired before noon.” Not long afterwards, the French philosopher Jules de Gaultier (1858-1942) in an essay entitled La Guerre et les Destinέes de l’Art wrote, “The poet, retired in his Tower of Ivory, isolated, according to his desire, from the world.” This opened the floodgates, as it were, because authors like Henry James, H G Wells, Aldous Huxley, Ezra Pound and many others have used the expression to the point of it becoming a cliché.