A dictionary of quotations published next week aims to reflect "the widening of our cultural sphere" with thousands of hitherto neglected sayings by black and Asian people, and from popular culture and the world of business.
The 19th century US black activist Booker T Washington is in with "No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem", as is bluesman BB King with "Nobody loves me but my mother/And she could be jiving too".
The 1,300-page Encarta Book of Quotations criticises others for "under-representing or overlooking" such sources. But it omits many hallowed texts from the Bible and Shakespeare. The editor, Bill Swainson, said yesterday that the aim was better to reflect contemporary reality.
Compiled by the London
publisher Bloomsbury and backed by the software giant Microsoft, the book aims to follow up Encarta's World English Dictionary. This also had Microsoft finance and has sold more than 100,000 copies in 15 months in Britain, despite some criticism for its US emphasis.
The quotations dictionary
has 502 passages from the Bible compared with 1,301 in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
Passages discarded include "Consider the lilies of the field ... they toil not, neither do they spin" (St Matthew, 6.28). There are 660 Shakespeare quotations, as against 1,346 in the Oxford.
Mr Swainson, brought up a churchgoer, regretted the loss of biblical texts, but said: "If the Bible, sadly, is less referred to and less of a source of folk lore than it used to be, this is inevitably going to be reflected in a book whose take on the world is international, wide-ranging and contemporary. We now inhabit and share a much wider world.
"The book moves away from being a canon of quotation. It is influenced by the fact that our culture has become a much more popular culture, influenced by things like TV shows."