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Other People Say It Better

I have always been a quote collector. The walls of my bedroom used to be papered with quotations (usually printed out in whatever cool fonts were available on our Apple IIE computer). When I got my own apartment in NC, I hung quotes up all over my "dining area" -- something that Chris later told me he found "weird."

I recently read a funny article in the New Yorker about quotes. Apparently many famous quotes were never actually quoted by the people they're attributed to; for example, Patrick Henry probably did not say "Give me liberty or give me death." And, um, well, other people did not say things we think they said but I don't have the magazine in front of me so you'll just have to wonder. Sorry, how lame am I?

In the meantime, here are some of the quotes that got me through college and graduate school:

"But it is very difficult to be learned; it seems as if people were worn out on the way to great thoughts and can never enjoy them because they are too tired." -- George Eliot, Middlemarch

"Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own." -- Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot

"This was torment, indeed, to inherit the responsibility of one's own life." D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow

"One mustn't have human affections -- or rather one must love every soul as if it were one's own child." -- Graham Green, The Power and the Glory

"It may be possible to do without dancing entirely." --Jane Austen, Emma

That's not all! Stay tuned for more, on another day when I feel I should post but have nothing much to say!

Comments

aimee said…
I agree that other people say it better than I do. I always wondered if people said things and thought, "Hmm, I wonder if they'll quote me on that?"
Chris said…
Speaking of attributing quotes to people who never said them, I never said that was weird. I have 10,000 plastic super heroes, for crying out loud. I may have said something along the lines of the fact that you must have had lots of free time to do that sort of thing, but not that it was weird. So there. Weirdo.

-Chris
J&H Noble said…
Interesting idea, to think that we quote people on things they didn't say.
I will say that I have read "The Power and the Glory" and was never so glad to finish a book in my life. It wasn't by choice, but in a British Prose Fiction course at Tech. Sorry.
Holly
Anonymous said…
Actually, Patrick Henry really did say "Give me liberty, etc." It was in his Speech to the Virginia Convention. Since I taught that speech approximately 250 times, at least, I do know that!

Holly, I agree with you on the Power and the Glory. I read it by choice, but was really glad when I finished it!

Mom
Marijke said…
Great work.

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