Quotations about Quotations

Like your body your mind also gets tired so refresh it by wise sayings. ~Hazrat Ali

The only way to read a book of aphorisms without being bored is to open it at random and, having found something that interests you, close the book and meditate. ~Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne, 1796

I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself. ~Marlene Dietrich

In places this book is a little over-written, because Mr Blunden is no more able to resist a quotation than some people are to refuse a drink.~George Orwell, review of Cricket Country by Edmund Blunden, April 20, 1944, in Manchester Evening News

Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted, than when we read it in the original author? ~Philip Gilbert Hamerton, The Intellectual Life, 1873

Many useful and valuable books lie buried in shops and libraries, unknown and unexamined, unless some lucky compiler opens them by chance, and finds an easy spoil of wit and learning. ~Samuel Johnson, 1760

It sometimes happens at the end of a dinner, when jokes and walnuts are cracked together, that the paternity of some trite quotation is put in question, and at once the wit of the whole company is set wool-gathering. ~Frederic Swartwout Cozzens, "Phrases and Filberts," Sayings, Wise and Otherwise

Quotations will tell the full measure of meaning, if you have enough of them. ~James Murray

The quoting of an aphorism, like the angry barking of a dog or the smell of overcooked broccoli, rarely indicates that something helpful is about to happen. ~Lemony Snicket, The Vile Village, 2001

Life itself is a quotation. ~Jorge Luis Borges

While reading writers of great formulatory power - Henry James, Santayana, Proust - I find I can scarcely get through a page without having to stop to record some lapidary sentence. Reading Henry James, for example, I have muttered to myself, "C'mon, Henry, turn down the brilliance a notch, so I can get some reading done." I may be one of a very small number of people who have developed writer's cramp while reading. ~Joseph Epstein, "Quotatious," A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays, 1991

It is a pleasure to be able to quote lines to fit any occasion... ~Abraham Lincoln

A quote is just a tattoo on the tongue. ~Attributed to William F. DeVault

For I often please myself with the fancy, now that I may have saved from oblivion the only striking passage in a whole volume, and now that I may have attracted notice to a writer undeservedly forgotten. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Ralph Keyes calls quotation collectors "quotographers," the men and women who gather catchwords, watchwords, war words, winged words, maxims, mottos, sayings, and quips into books of a thousand pages. Through the centuries quotation collectors have saved quotations that would otherwise be lost. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

Quotology disdains no quotations whatsoever, a duty it bears stoutly, with bloodshot eyes and sagging shelves. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

I've compiled a book from the Internet. It's a book of quotations attributed to the wrong people. ~Jerry Seinfeld

It is the little writer rather than the great writer who seems never to quote, and the reason is that he is never really doing anything else. ~Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life, 1923

To engage in the agreeable task of culling the beauties of English literature, is like entering into a garden richly stocked with fruits and flowers. There is such an endless variety of blossoms on every side—so much to charm the eye, and woo the touch, that he who merely aims at arranging a suitable wreath, is apt to fail, from the very profusion of materials that are scattered around him. ~Classic Cullings and Fugitive Gatherings by An Experienced Editor, 1831

I have heard that nothing gives an Author so great Pleasure, as to find his Works respectfully quoted by other learned Authors. ~Benjamin Franklin, "Preface," Poor Richard Improved, wording verified by Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations

I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative; grow weary of preparation, and connection, and illustration, and all those arts by which a big book is made. ~Samuel Johnson, quoted in The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, with Samuel Johnson, LL.D. by James Boswell, 1785

My readers, who may at first be apt to consider Quotation as downright pedantry, will be surprised when I assure them, that next to the simple imitation of sounds and gestures, Quotation is the most natural and most frequent habitude of human nature. For, Quotation must not be confined to passages adduced out of authors. He who cites the opinion, or remark, or saying of another, whether it has been written or spoken, is certainly one who quotes; and this we shall find to be universally practiced. ~James Boswell, "The Hypochondriack," No.XXI, The London Magazine: Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer, June 1779

There is indeed a strange prejudice against Quotation. ~James Boswell, "The Hypochondriack," No. XXII, 1779

Quotation is more universal and more ancient than one would perhaps believe. ~James Boswell, "The Hypochondriack," No.XXI, The London Magazine: Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer, June 1779

He wrapped himself in quotations—as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors. ~Rudyard Kipling

I am not merely a habitual quoter but an incorrigible one. I am, I may as well face it, more quotatious than an old stock-market ticker-tape machine, except that you can't unplug me. ~Joseph Epstein, "Quotatious," A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays, 1991

For, what though his Head be empty, provided his Common place-Book be full... ~Jonathan Swift, "A Digression in Praise of Digressions," A Tale of a Tub: Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind. To Which is Added, An Account of a Battel Between the Antient and Modern Books in St. James's Library, 1704

I'm discovering that everybody is a closet quotesmith. Just give them a chance. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

I am wonderfully pleased when I meet with any passage in an old Greek or Latin author, that is not blown upon, and which I have never met with in any quotation. ~Joseph Addison, Spectator, No.464

Quotologists encounter happy surprises, bright books by faded authors, treasures hidden under dust. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

A book of quotations... can never be complete. ~Robert M. Hamilton

What is all wisdom save a collection of platitudes? Take fifty of our current proverbial sayings—they are so trite, so threadbare, that we can hardly bring our lips to utter them. None the less they embody the concentrated experience of the race, and the man who orders his life according to their teaching cannot go far wrong. How easy that seems! Has any one ever done so? Never. Has any man ever attained to inner harmony by pondering the experience of others? Not since the world began! He must pass through the fire. ~Norman Douglas, South Wind, 1921

Collecting quotations is an insidious, even embarrassing habit, like ragpicking or hoarding rocks or trying on other people's laundry. I got into it originally while trying to break an addiction to candy. I kicked candy and now seem to be stuck with quotations, which are attacking my brain instead of my teeth. ~Robert Byrne, "Sources, References, and Notes," The Other 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1984

Fine phrases I value more than bank-notes. I have ear for no other harmony than the harmony of words. To be occasionally quoted is the only fame I care for. ~Alexander Smith

Shake was a dramatist of note;
He lived by writing things to quote...
~V. Hugo Dusenbury, "The Private Pantheon of Puck's Private Poet," Puck, January 28, 1880, Vol. VI, No. 151

Learning is often spoken of as if we are watching the open pages of all the books which we have ever read, and then, when occasion arises, we select the right page to read aloud to the universe. ~Alfred North Whitehead, address delivered to the Training College Association of England, quoted in Bulletin of The American Association of University Professors, November 1923, Volume IX, Number 7

Always verify quotations! ~Martin Joseph Routh, quoted in Catholic World: A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science, March 1882; in other sources sometimes quoted as "your references"

Collect as precious pearls the words of the wise and virtuous. ~El Amir Abdelkader

Proverbs are potted wisdom. ~Charles Buxton

In such a case the writer is apt to have recourse to epigrams. Somewhere in this world there is an epigram for every dilemma. ~Hendrik Willem van Loon, The Liberation of Mankind, 1926

Most collectors collect tangibles. As a quotation collector, I collect wisdom, life, invisible beauty, souls alive in ink. ~Terri Guillemets

I here present thee with a hive of bees, laden some with wax, and some with honey. Fear not to approach! there are no wasps, there are no hornets here. If some wanton bee chance to buzz about thine ears, stand thy ground and hold thy hands—there's none will sting thee, if thou strike not first. If any do, she hath honey in her bag will cure thee too. ~Francis Quarles

We love quotations; they strengthen us in our own belief; they show that some other spirit, perhaps a master-spirit, has gone thus far with us: to such we cling as the ivy to the oak. ~S.J.W., "On Female Education," in The Christian Teacher (National Review), 1835

It is a rich storehouse for those who love quotations. It is as full of fine bon mots as a Christmas pudding is full of plums. ~"Fitz-Greene Halleck as a Poet," Hours at Home: A Popular Monthly of Instruction and Recreation, February 1868, about Halleck's poem "Fanny"

Don't you love quotations? I am immensely fond of them; a certain proof of erudition.... [I]f you should happen to write an insipid poem... send it to me, and my fiat shall crown you with immortality. ~Frances Brooke, Lady Julia Mandeville , 1763

...the curious hunter-up of rare quotations... the young and struggling scribbler... ~William Francis Henry King, "Introduction," Classical and Foreign Quotations, 1889

...the taste of the finely-worded truth rolled upon the tongue as its thought is revolved in the mind. ~William Francis Henry King, "Introduction," Classical and Foreign Quotations, 1889

It has been said that death ends all things. This is a mistake. It does not end the volume of practical quotations, and it will not until the sequence of the alphabet is so materially changed as to place D where Z now stands. ~Harper's Bazar: Facetiæ, September 1, 1888, quoted in A Dictionary of Quotations in Prose by Anna L. Ward, 1889

Quotation is the highest compliment you can pay to an author. ~André-Marie Ampère

They have written volumes out of which a couplet of verse, a period in prose, may cling to the rock of ages, as a shell that survives a deluge. ~Edward Bulwer Lytton

Not everything that can be extracted appears in anthologies of quotations, in commonplace books, or on the back of Celestial Seasonings boxes. Only certain sorts of extracts become quotations. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011

The multiplicity of facts and writings is become so great that every thing must soon be reduced to extracts and dictionaries. ~Voltaire

He picked something out of everything he read. ~Pliny

Books are the beehives of thought; laconics, the honey taken from them. ~James Ellis, quoted in Edge-Tools of Speech by Maturin M. Ballou, 1899

Life is like quotations. Sometimes it makes you laugh. Sometimes it makes you cry. Most of the time, you just don't get it. ~Author Unknown

A case which commonly happens with us in London, as well as our Neighbours in Paris, where if a Witty Man starts a happy thought, a Million of sordid Imitators ride it to death. ~Thomas Brown, Laconics: Or, New Maxims of State and Conversation

A well arranged scrapbook, filled with choice selections, is a most excellent companion for anyone who has the least literary taste. ~Chaning, quoted in Sayings: Proverbs, Maxims, Mottoes by Charles F. Schutz, 1915

Most of the noted literary men have indulged in the prudent habit of selecting favorite passages for future reference. ~Charles F. Schutz, Sayings: Proverbs, Maxims, Mottoes, 1915

It is bad enough to see one's own good things fathered on other people, but it is worse to have other people's rubbish fathered upon oneself. ~Samuel Butler

[W]hen I hear or read a good line I can hardly wait to tell it to somebody else... ~Robert Byrne, The Third and Possibly the Best 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1986

Particles of science are often very widely scattered. Writers of extensive comprehension have incidental remarks upon topicks very remote from the principal subject, which are often more valuable than formal treatises, and which yet are not known because they are not promised in the title. He that collects those under proper heads is very laudably employed, for though he exerts no great abilities in the work, he facilitates the progress of others, and by making that easy of attainment which is already written, may give some mind, more vigorous or more adventurous than his own, leisure for new thoughts and original designs. ~Samuel Johnson, The Idler, December 1, 1759

Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests and mines and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Plato; Or, The Philosopher"

The mind will quote whether the tongue does or not. ~Attributed to Emerson in Edge-Tools of Speech by Maturin M. Ballou, 1886

I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there; but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book and ransack every page. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many moons ago dictionaries of quotations may have been less needed than they are today. In those good/bad old days, people walked around with entire poems and all the Shakespearean soliloquies in their heads.... ~Joseph Epstein, Foreword to Fred R. Shapiro's Yale Book of Quotations, 2006

Is all literature eavesdropping, and all art Chinese imitation? our life a custom, and our body borrowed, like a beggar's dinner, from a hundred charities? ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

Short sentences drawn from long experience. ~Miguel de Cervantes

In phrases as brief as a breath worldly wisdom concentrates. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

It is my belief that nearly any invented quotation, played with confidence, stands a good chance to deceive. ~Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens), Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World, 1897

As by some might be saide of me: that here I have but gathered a nosegay of strange floures, and have put nothing of mine unto it, but the thred to binde them. Certes, I have given unto publike opinion, that these borrowed ornaments accompany me; but I meane not they should cover or hide me... ~Michel de Montaigne, "Of Phisiognomy," translated by John Florio; commonly modernized to "I have gathered a posy of other men's flowers, and nothing but the thread that binds them is my own."

A profusion of fancies and quotations is out of place in a love-letter. True feeling is always direct, and never deviates into by-ways to cull flowers of rhetoric. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought: Vol. II, 1862

I believe it was Gayelord Hauser, the nutritionist, who said that "you are what you eat," but if you happen to be an intellectual, you are what you quote. ~Joseph Epstein, "Quotatious," A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays, 1991

Some lines are born quotations, some are made quotations, and some have "quotation" thrust upon them. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011

Luminous quotations, also, atone, by their interest, for the dulness of an inferior book, and add to the value of a superior work by the variety which they lend to its style and treatment. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, "Quoters and Quoting," Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862

Patch grief with proverbs; make misfortune drunk... ~William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, c.1598

For I am proverbed with a grandsire phrase... ~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

The devil can cite scripture for his purpose. ~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons peas;
And utters it again when God doth please:
He is wit's pedler; and retails his wares...
~William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost (Boyet)

Our "experienced Editor" has learnt the advantages of variety in his experience. The volume before us contains a little of every thing. Sense and nonsense, sentiment and wit, pathos and merriment, short passages from different authors, a stock of anecdote, and a number of bon-mots. It is an agreeable miscellany, best characterised in the words of Shakespeare: "He has been at a great feast of languages, and stolen all the scraps." ~The London Literary Gazette; and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c., December 4, 1830, No.724, "Review of New Books," about Classic Cullings and Fugitive Gatherings by An Experienced Editor

Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations. ~Orson Welles, attributed

Anatole France frankly advised, "When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it." Yes, indeed, but do more. Copy many well-said things. Pierce them together. Assimilate them. Make the process of reading them a way to form the mind and shape the soul. As anthologies can never be complete, we will never exhaust the ways quotations can enrich our lives. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011

A good maxim is never out of season. ~English Proverb

A proverb is to speech what salt is to food. ~Arabic Proverb

Don't quote your proverb till you bring your ship into port. ~Gaelic Proverb

Good sayings are like pearls strung together. ~Chinese Proverb

Proverbs are the daughters of daily experience. ~Dutch Proverb

Proverbs are the lamps to words. ~Arabian Proverb

Proverbs are the literature of reason. ~French Proverb

We who are quotatious are never truly alone, but always hear the cheerful flow of remarks made by dead writers so much more intelligent than we. ~Joseph Epstein, "Quotatious," A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays, 1991

The best aphorisms are.... portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feeling. They furnish the largest amount of intellectual stimulus and nutriment in the smallest compass. About every weak point in human nature, or vicious spot in human life, there is deposited a crystallization of warning and protective proverbs. ~William Rounseville Alger, "The Utility and the Futility of Aphorisms," The Atlantic Monthly, February 1863

It is the habit of the mind to condense into diminutive, agreeable and striking forms the results of experience and observation in all the departments of life. As the carbon, disengaged by fire in its multitudinous offices, crystallizes into a diamond that flashes fire from every facet, and bears at every angle the solvent power of the mother flame; so great clouds of truth are evolved by human experience, which are crystallized at last into proverbs, that flash with the lights of history and illuminate the darkness which rests upon the track of the future. ~Timothy Titcomb (J.G. Holland), "An Exordial Essay," Gold-foil: Hammered from Popular Proverbs, 1859

The proverbs of a nation furnish the index to its spirit and the results of its civilization. ~Timothy Titcomb (J.G. Holland), "An Exordial Essay," Gold-foil: Hammered from Popular Proverbs, 1859

[T]hey are the offspring of experience... instinct with blood and breath and vitality.... They are not propositions, conceived in the understanding and addressed to life, but propositions born of life itself, and addressed to the heart. They were not conceived in the minds of the great few, but they sprang from the life of the people. ~Timothy Titcomb (J.G. Holland), "An Exordial Essay," Gold-foil: Hammered from Popular Proverbs, 1859

A single gnomic line can come to resonate with centuries of subsequent wisdom. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011

Proverbs were bright shafts in the Greek and Latin quivers... ~Isaac D'Israeli, "The Philosophy of Proverbs," Curiosities of Literature, 1893

The ancients, who in these matters were not perhaps such blockheads as some may conceive, considered poetical quotation as one of the requisite ornaments of oratory. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

All this is labour which never meets the eye.... But too open and generous a revelation of the chapter and the page of the original quoted, has often proved detrimental to the legitimate honours of the quoter. They are unfairly appropriated by the next comer; the quoter is never quoted, but the authority he has afforded is produced by his successor with the air of an original research. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

Whatever is felicitously expressed risks being worse expressed: it is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us. We quote, to save proving what has been demonstrated, referring to where the proofs may be found. We quote, to screen ourselves from the odium of doubtful opinions, which the world would not willingly accept from ourselves; and we may quote from the curiosity which only a quotation itself can give, when in our own words it would be divested of that tint of ancient phrase, that detail of narrative, and that naïveté, which we have for ever lost, and which we like to recollect once had an existence. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

A well-read writer, with good taste, is one who has the command of the wit of other men; he searches where knowledge is to be found; and though he may not himself excel in invention, his ingenuity may compose one of those agreeable books, the deliciæ of literature, that will out-last the fading meteors of his day. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

The art of quotation requires more delicacy in the practice than those conceive who can see nothing more in a quotation than an extract. Whenever the mind of a writer is saturated with the full inspiration of a great author, a quotation gives completeness to the whole; it seals his feelings with undisputed authority. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

Centuries have not worm-eaten the solidity of this ancient furniture of the mind. ~Isaac D'Israeli

Nor must you find fault with me if I often give you what I have borrowed from my various reading, in the very words of the authors themselves. ~Macrobius, translated from Latin

If you would the truth oppose
By quotations, you will find
Plenty; but, when all is done,
Though they're many, truth is one.
~Tomas de Iriarte, Fabulas Literarias, translated from Spanish

Unless created as freestanding works, quotations resemble "found" art. They are analogous, say, to a piece of driftwood identified as formally interesting enough to be displayed in an art museum or to a weapon moved from an anthropological to an artistic display.... The presenter of found art, whether material or verbal, has become a sort of artist. He has not made the object, but he has made it as art. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011

You complain, Velox, that the epigrams which I write are long. You yourself write nothing; your attempts are shorter. ~Marcus Valerius Martialis, translated from Latin

Most of those who make collections of verse or epigram are like men eating cherries or oysters: they choose out the best at first, and end by eating all. ~Sébastien-Roch Nicolas

A classic lecture, rich in sentiment,
With scraps of thundrous Epic lilted out
By violet-hooded Doctors, elegies
And quoted odes, and jewels five-words-long
That on the stretch'd forefinger of all Time
Sparkle for ever...
~Alfred Tennyson, The Princess: A Medley, 1847

A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool. ~Joseph Roux, Meditations of a Parish Priest, 1886, translated from French by Isabel F. Hapgood

A wise word is not a substitute for a piece of herring. ~Sholom Aleichem

I wonder if "an" ever occurs before "haughty" except in a quotation, or whether you can make anything sound like a quotation by adding a word like "goeth"? ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011

There is hardly a mistake which in the course of our lives we have committed, but some proverb, had we known and attended to its lesson, might have saved us from it. ~Richard Chenevix Trench, Proverbs and Their Lessons, 1905

Language would be tolerable without spicy, epigrammatic sayings, and life could no doubt be carried on by means of plain language wholly bereft of ornament. But if we wish to relish language, if we wish to give it point and piquancy, and if we want to drive home a truth, to whip up the flagging attention of our listener, to point a moral or adorn a tale, we must flavour our speech with proverbs. ~John Christian, "Introduction," Behar Proverbs, 1891

Aphorism or maxim, let us remember that this wisdom of life is the true salt of literature; that those books, at least in prose, are most nourishing which are most richly stored with it; and that it is one of the great objects, apart from the mere acquisition of knowledge, which men ought to seek in the reading of books. ~John Morley, Aphorisms: An Address Delivered Before the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution, November 11, 1887

Proverbs accordingly are somewhat analogous to those medical Formulas which, being in frequent use, are kept ready-made-up in the chemists’ shops, and which often save the framing of a distinct Prescription. ~Richard Whately, Elements of Rhetoric

The words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels. ~Hazrat Inayat Khan

You may get a large amount of truth into a brief space. ~Attributed to Beecher in Edge-Tools of Speech by Maturin M. Ballou, 1899

I said that I loved the wise proverb,
Brief, simple and deep;
For it I'd exchange the great poem
That sends us to sleep.
~Bryan Waller Procter

Who knows but that all the men to whom reference has been made, and a multitude of others who lived in by-gone ages borrowed their wise sayings from the talk of the firesides and the conversations of the market places; so that the origin of many proverbs now flippantly quoted in the converse of men is lost in the mists of forgotten centuries. ~Dwight Edwards Marvin, The Antiquity of Proverbs, 1922

The teachings of elegant sayings
Should be collected when one can.
For the supreme gift of words of wisdom,
Any price will be paid.

The lips of the wise are as the doors of a cabinet; no sooner are they opened, but treasures are poured out before thee. Like unto trees of gold arranged in beds of silver, are wise sentences uttered in due season. ~The Economy of Human Life, Translated from an Indian Manuscript, Written by an Ancient Bramin

Miss Amesbury is especially happy in the use of quotations—and an apt quotation is like a lamp which flings its light over the whole sentence. ~L.E. Landon, Romance and Reality, 1832

All quotation dictionaries stand on the shoulders of their predecessors, which must be consulted as part of the effort to make sure that no famous quotations are missed. ~Fred R. Shapiro, The Yale Book of Quotations, 2006 (Acknowledgements)

People will accept your idea more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first. ~David H. Comins, quoted in The Washingtonian, Volume 14, 1978

The attribution of a speaker is in fact a part of the quotation. Some statements simply are better if a certain famous person said them. ~Gary Saul Morson, "Bakhtin, The Genres of Quotation, and The Aphoristic Consciousness," The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 50, No. 1, 2006

[D]ifferent people have different quotational gravity. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

The great writers of aphorisms read as if they had all known each other well. ~Elias Canetti

Our live experiences fixed in aphorisms stiffen into cold epigram. Our heart's blood, as we write with it, darkens into ink. ~F.H. Bradley

APHORISM, n. Predigested wisdom.
    The flabby wine-skin of his brain
    Yields to some pathologic strain,
    And voids from its unstored abysm
    The driblet of an aphorism.
    "The Mad Philosopher," 1697
~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

QUOTATION, n. The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. The words erroneously repeated. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

I feel a reassuring oneness with other people when I find that even my most intimate, anguished, socially inadmissible emotions and desires are known to others.... Kindred souls—indeed, my selves otherwise costumed—turn up in books in the most unexpected places. Discovering them is one of the great rewards of a liberal education. If I quote liberally, it is not to show off book learning, which at my stage of life can only invite ridicule, but rather to bathe in this kinship of strangers. ~Yi-fu Tuan, "Intimate: From Justice to Love," Who Am I?: An Autobiography of Emotion, Mind, and Spirit, 1999

An aphorism is never exactly true.
It is either a half-truth or a truth and a half.
~Karl Kraus

Someone who can write aphorisms should not fritter away his time writing essays. ~Karl Kraus, translated from German by Harry Zohn

Aphorism, n.: A concise, clever statement you don't think of until too late. ~James Alexander Thom

You could compile, I should think, the worst book in the world entirely out of selecting passages from the best writers in the world. ~G.K. Chesterton, "On Writing Badly"

I am fully conscious of the fact, that aphorisms are like wandering Gypsies. They must always be published without guarantee of the authenticity. ~Erkki Melartin

It's such a pleasure to write down splendid words—almost as though one were inventing them. ~Rupert Hart-Davis

Reframing an extract as a quotation constitutes a kind of coauthorship. With no change in wording, the cited passage becomes different. I imagine that the thrill of making an anthology includes the opportunity to become such a coauthor. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011

The man who writes a single line,
And hears it often quoted,
Will in his life time surely shine,
And be hereafter noted.
~Frederic Swartwout Cozzens, "Phrases and Filberts," Sayings, Wise and Otherwise

A few of these phrases, usually found floating in the currents of ordinary conversation, will be sufficient to consider in a paper like this: if we were to include those embraced in literature and oratory, it would require foolscap enough to cover the sands of Egypt, and an inkstand as large as one of the pyramids. Not being disposed to make such an investment in stationery at present, we shall only play the literary chiffonier and hook a few scraps from the heaps of talk we meet with every day. ~Frederic Swartwout Cozzens, "Phrases and Filberts," Sayings, Wise and Otherwise

Proverbs often contradict one another, as any reader soon discovers. The sagacity that advises us to look before we leap promptly warns us that if we hesitate we are lost; that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but out of sight, out of mind. ~Leo Calvin Rosten

It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water. ~Franklin P. Jones

Gnomic wisdom, however, is notoriously polychrome, and proverbs depend for their truth entirely on the occasion they are applied to. Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it... ~George Santayana, "Chapter VIII: Prerational Morality," The Life of Reason: Volume Five, Reason in Science, 1906

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. ~Niels Bohr

Many are the sayings of Elia... scattered about in obscure periodicals and forgotten miscellanies. From the dust of some of these it is our intention occasionally to revive a tract or two that shall seem worthy of a better fate.... seeing that Messieurs the Quarterly Reviewers have chosen to embellish their last dry pages with fruitful quotations therefrom... ~Charles Lamb, "Confessions of a Drunkard," The London Magazine, August 1822

But I have long thought that if you knew a column of advertisements by heart, you could achieve unexpected felicities with them. You can get a happy quotation anywhere if you have the eye. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1923, quoted in Holmes-Laski Letters: The Correspondence of Mr. Justice Holmes and Harold J. Laski, 1916-1935, Volume 1, Harvard University Press, 1953

An anthology of quotations is a museum of utterances. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011

All of us encounter, at least once in our life, some individual who utters words that make us think forever. There are men whose phrases are oracles; who can condense in one sentence the secrets of life; who blurt out an aphorism that forms a character, or illustrates an existence. ~Benjamin Disraeli

A vast meaning is unfolded in each line, with such power that a sentence only a line long would suffice for a whole life's training. ~Rufinus (translated from Latin), about The Sentences of Sextus

A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words, but cannot a few well-spoken words convey as many pictures? ~Author Unknown

To me, novels are just quotations with a bunch of filler. ~Terri Guillemets

And, for the learned Bishop, it is observable, that at that time, there fell to be a modest debate about Predestination, and Sanctity of life; of both which, the Orator did not long after send the Bishop some safe and useful Aphorisms, in a long Letter written in Greek; which, was so remarkable for the language, and matter, that after the reading of it, the Bishop put it into his bosom, and did often shew it to Scholars, both of this, and forreign Nations; but did alwayes return it back to the place where he first lodg'd it, and continu'd it so near his heart, till the last day of his life. ~Izaack Walton, The Life of Mr. George Herbert, 1670 ("Bishop" = Dr. Andrews Bishop of Winchester, "Orator" = Mr. George Herbert)

The hunter for aphorisms on human nature has to fish in muddy water, and he is even condemned to find much of his own mind. ~Francis H. Bradley, Aphorisms, 1930

Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted. ~Hesketh Pearson

Misquotation is, in fact, the pride and privilege of the learned. A widely-read man never quotes accurately, for the rather obvious reason that he has read too widely. ~Hesketh Pearson

Misquotation is quotology's swamp. Amateur quoters mix and mangle Shakespeare and Scripture. Professors gaffe and printers bungle. It's a mess we must wade into. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

What remains therefore, but that our last Recourse must be had to large Indexes, and little Compendiums; Quotations must be plentifully gathered, and bookt in Alphabet; To this End, tho' Authors need be little consulted, yet Criticks, and Commentators, and Lexicons carefully must. But above all, those judicious Collectors of bright Parts, and Flowers, and Observanda's, are to be nicely dwelt on; by some called the Sieves and Boulters of Learning; tho' it is left undetermined, whether they dealt in Pearls or Meal; and consequently, whether we are more to value that which passed thro', or what staid behind. ~Jonathan Swift, "A Digression In Praise of Digressions," A Tale of a Tub: Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind. To Which is Added, An Account of a Battel Between the Antient and Modern Books in St. James's Library, 1704

Quotations about Quotations 2 
Copyright © Kata-Kata Mutiara