Memories, Thoughts, Libraries, and Honey Bees
In her Book of Memory, Mary Carruthers discusses the trope of the bee as a gatherer of knowledge:
The earliest surviving example of the metaphoric association of beehive and bookcase is offered by Longinus, and Quintilian compares the orator, "who makes eloquence from many arts and disciplines, to a bee producing honey." Similarly, in a frequently used "metaphor for study," the bee collecting nectar and pollen from flowers and later storing it in the hive's "cella," is likened to the reader who gathers knowlege from books and stores it "in the 'cella' of memory" (Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory. [Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990], pp. 36-38).
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