Saturday, October 6, 2007

In the Purple of Emperors

“He wrapped himself in quotations- as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.”-Rudyard Kipling

I have no gift for clever or pithy sayings but appreciate that aptitude in others. Therefore, I use my skill at online research to locate appropriate quotes for my blog postings.

Clay Burell has suggested that I archive my collection of famous sayings on quotiki. Unfortunately, none of my submissions are showing up on the site yet. So for the time being, Journeys will have to serve as my quotation cache.

Literary luminaries seem to be divided on the question of citing other authors. Anatole France advised, “When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.” Samuel Johnson firmly believed that “Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language.” Pierre Bayle flatly stated, “There is not less wit nor less invention in applying rightly a thought one finds in a book, than in being the first author of that thought.”

Not every author agreed with this philosophy. Dorothy L. Sayers' fictional detective, Lord Peter Whimsey, scornfully observed, “A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.” W. Somerset Maugham "compliments" a female acquaintance by commenting that “She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.” (I'm glad he's not around to read this blog!)

Ralph Waldo Emerson evidently couldn't decide whether or not he approved of this tendency to quote others. On the one hand, he warned writers, "I hate quotation. Tell me what you know." Yet he also said, "Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it."

Sophocles believed that “A short saying oft contains much wisdom.” My feelings exactly.

“The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages is preserved into perpetuity by a nation's proverbs, fables, folk sayings and quotations.”-William Feather

“I didn't really say everything I said.”
-Yogi Berra


Clay Burell said...

Well update us when Quotiki catches up to you, okay?

diane said...


You'd think that they could keep up with a "lady of a certain age" who has spotty tech skills. Maybe it's jealousy!

I'll keep you posted.


"Good ideas and innovations must be driven into existence by courageous patience." -Hyman G. Rickover