Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 02:20:29 -0600
From: Mike Salovesh t20mxs1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Subject: Re: March hare

Barry (bapopik) wrote:


It's almost March. "March Madness" was posted a year ago. "Mad as a
March hare" is not in Christine Ammer's new book of idioms, and it's poorly
explained in Bartlett's, where John Skelton and John Heywood are both cited.
This item was also in my files from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Questions and
Answers, 24 March 1929:

"Mad as a March hare."
Will you kindly inform me how the expression, "Mad as a March hare,"
originated and where it is found?

big snip

Our correspondent may have in mind the March hare of
"Alice in Wonderland."

Bringing up the the subject of "the Mad Hatter", who shares the stage of
the Mad Tea Party with the March Hare and the Dormouse.

A long time ago, Isaac Asimov commented on the apparent insanity of
Isaac Newton's last years. He thought it was highly probable that
Newton had gone mad as a result of mercury poisoning -- which certainly
wasn't unlikely, given that Newton did play around with mercury a lot.
Asimov went on to say that "mad as a hatter" had its origin in the fact
that hatmakers treated felt with mercury to get a more attractive pile.
Insanity in hatters was simply an occupational hazard.

Anyone have a sighting on whether Asimov was right about mad hatters?

-- mike salovesh salovesh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
anthropology department
northern illinois university PEACE !!!