The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When

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9780312340049: The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When

Our language is full of hundreds of quotations that are often cited but seldom confirmed. Ralph Keyes's The Quote Verifier considers not only classic misquotes such as "Nice guys finish last," and "Play it again, Sam," but more surprising ones such as "Ain't I a woman?" and "Golf is a good walk spoiled," as well as the origins of popular sayings such as "The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings," "No one washes a rented car," and "Make my day."

Keyes's in-depth research routinely confounds widespread assumptions about who said what, where, and when. Organized in easy-to-access dictionary form, The Quote Verifier also contains special sections highlighting commonly misquoted people and genres, such as Yogi Berra and Oscar Wilde, famous last words, and misremembered movie lines.

An invaluable resource for not just those with a professional need to quote accurately, but anyone at all who is interested in the roots of words and phrases, The Quote Verifier is not only a fascinating piece of literary sleuthing, but also a great read.

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About the Author:

Ralph Keyes's books include The Post-Truth Era, The Courage to Write, and Is There Life After High School? He lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One “ACADEMIC politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” This observation is routinely attributed to former Harvard professor Henry Kissinger. Well before Kissinger got credit for that thought in the mid-1970s, however, Harvard political scientist Richard Neustadt told a reporter, “Academic politics is much more vicious than real politics. We think it’s because the stakes are so small.” Others believe this quip originated with political scientist Wallace Sayre, Neustadt’s onetime colleague at Columbia University. A 1973 book gave as “Sayre’s Law,“ “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue—that is why academic politics are so bitter.” Sayre’s colleague and coauthor Herbert Kaufman said his usual wording was “The politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low.” In his 1979 book Peter’s People, Laurence Peter wrote, “Competition in academia is so vicious because the stakes are so small.” He called this “Peter’s Theory of Entrepreneurial Aggressiveness in Higher Education.” Variations on that thought have also been attributed to scientist-author C. P. Snow, professor-politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and politician Jesse Unruh (among others). According to the onetime editor of Woodrow Wilson’s papers, however, long before any of them strode the academic-political scene, Wilson observed often that the intensity of academic squabbles he witnessed while president of Princeton University was a function of the “triviality” of the issues being considered.

Verdict: An old academic saw that may have originated with Woodrow Wilson but was put in modern play by Wallace Sayre.

“Half the money I spend on ADVERTISING is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.” In the United States this business truism is most often attributed to department store magnate John Wanamaker (1838–1922), in England to Lord Leverhulme (William H. Lever, founder of Lever Brothers, 1851–1925). The maxim has also been ascribed to chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, adman George Washington Hill, and adman David Ogilvy. In Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963), Ogilvy himself gave the nod to his fellow Englishman Lord Leverhulme (Lever Brothers was an Ogilvy client), adding that John Wanamaker later made the same observation. Since Wanamaker founded his first department store in 1861, when Lever was ten, this seems unlikely. Fortune magazine thought Wanamaker expressed the famous adage in 1885, but it gave no context. While researching John Wanamaker, King of Merchants (1993), biographer William Allen Zulker found the adage typed on a sheet of paper in Wanamaker’s archives, but without a name or source. Wanamaker usually wrote his own material longhand.

Verdict: A maxim of obscure origins, put in famous mouths.

“If you have to ask how much they cost, you can’t AFFORD one.” J. P. Morgan’s alleged response to an inquiry about the cost of his yachts is considered the epitome of wealthy imperiousness. (Some attribute the thought to Cornelius Vanderbilt.) No dependable evidence exists that Morgan actually said this, however, and biographer Jean Strouse doubts that he did. Calling the mot “implausible,“ Strouse concluded, “Morgan was a singularly inarticulate, unreflective man, not likely to come up with a maxim worthy of Oscar Wilde.” The closest analogue Strouse could find on the record was Morgan’s response to oil baron Henry Clay Pierce: “You have no right to own a yacht if you ask that question.”

Verdict: Morgan’s sentiments, not his words.

“AFTER us, the deluge.” (“Aprés nous le déluge.”) This classic remark is generally thought to have been uttered by King Louis XV of France after his forces were defeated by those of Frederick the Great at the battle of Rossbach in 1757. Biographer Olivier Bernier calls the attribution “wholly apocryphal.” At least two memoirs by contemporaries attributed these words in the plural to the king’s mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour. Others to whom the saying has been attributed include Prince Metternich, Marie Antoinette, and Verdi. However “Aprés moi le déluge” was a French proverb in common use long before Louis XV or anyone else was alleged to have said it.

Verdict: An old proverb put in many mouths, especially that of Louis XV.

“AIN’T I a woman?” This is the phrase ex-slave Sojourner Truth used to bring an 1851 convention of feminists to its feet. Or so we like to imagine. Contemporary news accounts of her talk reported no such exclamation. After exhaustive research, biographer Carleton Mabee concluded that Truth’s rallying cry was actually concocted by convention chair Frances Dana Gage, a poet and antislavery feminist who inserted the phrase “Ar’n’t I a woman?” repeatedly into her subsequent account of Truth’s speech. According to Mabee this account, which was published twelve years after the fact, is “folklore.” Most likely Gage simply abridged an antislavery motto, “Am I not a Woman and a Sister?”, and translated it into dialect for her report on Truth. Over time “Ar’n’t I a woman?” mutated into “Ain’t I a woman?” Far from being what Sojourner Truth actually said, concluded historian Nell Irvin Painter, these famous four words are “what we need her to have said.”

Verdict: Credit Frances Dana Gage for this feminist saying, not Sojourner Truth.

“It AIN’T so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.” In various forms this popular observation gets attributed most often to Mark Twain, as well as to his fellow humorists Artemus Ward, Kin Hubbard, and Will Rogers. Others to whom it’s been credited include inventor Charles Kettering, pianist Eubie Blake, and—by Al Gore—baseball player Yogi Berra. Twain did once observe, “It isn’t so astonishing the things that I can remember, as the number of things I can remember that aren’t so,“ but biographer Albert Bigelow Paine said he was paraphrasing a remark by humorist Josh Billings. (In Following the Equator Twain also wrote, “Yet it was the schoolboy who said, ‘Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.’“) Billings, whose real name was Henry Wheeler Shaw, repeated this theme often in different forms. On one occasion Billings wrote, “I honestly beleave it iz better tew know nothing than two know what ain’t so.” A handbill for one of his lectures included the line “It iz better to kno less than to kno so much that ain’t so.” Across this handbill Billings wrote longhand, “You’d better not kno so much than know so many things that ain’t so.” Apparently the humorist considered this his signature “affurism.”

Verdict: Credit Josh Billings.

“I want to be ALONE.” Greta Garbo did say this, to John Barrymore, in the 1932 movie Grand Hotel, whose screenplay was written by William A. Drake. That movie was based on a 1929 novel with the same title by Austrian author Vicki Baum. In the English translation of Baum’s novel, the character eventually played by Garbo says, “But I wish to be alone.” In time that sentiment was attributed to the reclusive actress herself. Garbo was not happy about

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Our language is full of hundreds of quotations that are often cited but seldom confirmed. Ralph Keyes s The Quote Verifier considers not only classic misquotes such as Nice guys finish last, and Play it again, Sam, but more surprising ones such as Ain t I a woman? and Golf is a good walk spoiled, as well as the origins of popular sayings such as The opera ain t over till the fat lady sings, No one washes a rented car, and Make my day. Keyes s in-depth research routinely confounds widespread assumptions about who said what, where, and when. Organized in easy-to-access dictionary form, The Quote Verifier also contains special sections highlighting commonly misquoted people and genres, such as Yogi Berra and Oscar Wilde, famous last words, and misremembered movie lines. An invaluable resource for not just those with a professional need to quote accurately, but anyone at all who is interested in the roots of words and phrases, The Quote Verifier is not only a fascinating piece of literary sleuthing, but also a great read. Codice libro della libreria BZE9780312340049

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Our language is full of hundreds of quotations that are often cited but seldom confirmed. Ralph Keyes s The Quote Verifier considers not only classic misquotes such as Nice guys finish last, and Play it again, Sam, but more surprising ones such as Ain t I a woman? and Golf is a good walk spoiled, as well as the origins of popular sayings such as The opera ain t over till the fat lady sings, No one washes a rented car, and Make my day. Keyes s in-depth research routinely confounds widespread assumptions about who said what, where, and when. Organized in easy-to-access dictionary form, The Quote Verifier also contains special sections highlighting commonly misquoted people and genres, such as Yogi Berra and Oscar Wilde, famous last words, and misremembered movie lines. An invaluable resource for not just those with a professional need to quote accurately, but anyone at all who is interested in the roots of words and phrases, The Quote Verifier is not only a fascinating piece of literary sleuthing, but also a great read. Codice libro della libreria APC9780312340049

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Our language is full of hundreds of quotations that are often cited but seldom confirmed. Ralph Keyes s The Quote Verifier considers not only classic misquotes such as Nice guys finish last, and Play it again, Sam, but more surprising ones such as Ain t I a woman? and Golf is a good walk spoiled, as well as the origins of popular sayings such as The opera ain t over till the fat lady sings, No one washes a rented car, and Make my day. Keyes s in-depth research routinely confounds widespread assumptions about who said what, where, and when. Organized in easy-to-access dictionary form, The Quote Verifier also contains special sections highlighting commonly misquoted people and genres, such as Yogi Berra and Oscar Wilde, famous last words, and misremembered movie lines. An invaluable resource for not just those with a professional need to quote accurately, but anyone at all who is interested in the roots of words and phrases, The Quote Verifier is not only a fascinating piece of literary sleuthing, but also a great read. Codice libro della libreria APC9780312340049

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Descrizione libro St. Martin's Griffin. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Paperback. 416 pages. Dimensions: 8.2in. x 5.5in. x 1.1in.Our language is full of hundreds of quotations that are often cited but seldom confirmed. Ralph Keyess The Quote Verifier considers not only classic misquotes such as Nice guys finish last, and Play it again, Sam, but more surprising ones such as Aint I a woman and Golf is a good walk spoiled, as well as the origins of popular sayings such as The opera aint over till the fat lady sings, No one washes a rented car, and Make my day. Keyess in-depth research routinely confounds widespread assumptions about who said what, where, and when. Organized in easy-to-access dictionary form, The Quote Verifier also contains special sections highlighting commonly misquoted people and genres, such as Yogi Berra and Oscar Wilde, famous last words, and misremembered movie lines. An invaluable resource for not just those with a professional need to quote accurately, but anyone at all who is interested in the roots of words and phrases, The Quote Verifier is not only a fascinating piece of literary sleuthing, but also a great read. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Codice libro della libreria 9780312340049

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Descrizione libro St Martin's Press. Paperback / softback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When, Ralph Keyes, Our language is full of hundreds of quotations that are often cited but seldom confirmed. Ralph Keyes's "The Quote Verifier "considers not only classic misquotes such as "Nice guys finish last," and "Play it again, Sam," but more surprising ones such as "Ain't I a woman?" and "Golf is a good walk spoiled," as well as the origins of popular sayings such as "The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings," "No one washes a rented car," and "Make my day."Keyes's in-depth research routinely confounds widespread assumptions about who said what, where, and when. Organized in easy-to-access dictionary form, "The Quote Verifier" also contains special sections highlighting commonly misquoted people and genres, such as Yogi Berra and Oscar Wilde, famous last words, and misremembered movie lines.An invaluable resource for not just those with a professional need to quote accurately, but anyone at all who is interested in the roots of words and phrases, "The Quote Verifier" is not only a fascinating piece of literary sleuthing, " "but also a great read. Codice libro della libreria B9780312340049

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