Quotes of Note

“Age doesn’t alter one’s outlook on the world, Belle.  The essential person is always there.  Sometimes, I’m perfectly horrified to look at myself in the mirror and see an ancient crone staring back.  I feel no different than I did at forty or even sixty; why shouldn’t my face and body match my spirit?” – Nero Blanc, A Crossword to Die For

“Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.  And to have the ability to explain afterwards why it didn’t happen.” – Winston S. Churchill

“I do not want actors and actresses to understand my plays.  That is not necessary.  If they will only pronounce the correct sounds I can guarantee the rest.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Autobiography is an unrivaled vehicle for telling the truth about other people.” – Philip Guedalla

“[Singer Julius] La Rosa also told me [at lunch one day] that Sinatra was number one and that the next-best singer ‘was number thirty-seven.’” – David Lehman, Sinatra’s Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World

“Around February 1622, printing began on Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, remembered by the world today as the First Folio.  This landmark publication has been called, in classic canonical book-speech, ‘incomparably the most important work in the English language.’  Of the thirty-eight (or thirty-nine) plays known to be authored by Shakespeare, eighteen of them (almost half) appear here for the first time, meaning they still exist only because of this collection.  Without the efforts of [John] Heminges and [Henry] Condell, there would be no Macbeth, no Twelfth Night, no Julius Caesar.” – J. P. Romney and Rebecca Romney, Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History

“The moment the book [Ulysses by James Joyce] was published on February 2, 1922, it ceased to be his and became ours.  Thanks all the same, Jim, but further assistance is no longer required of the author; we’ll make the decisions from here on out.  Writers can suggest meaning and significance, but ultimately, readers make the final call.” – Thomas C. Foster, How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World’s Favorite Literary Form 

“The bottom line, for me, is that in the early days of the novel, it was all exciting.  Readers couldn’t say, ‘Oh, we’ve seen that before; that’s so old hat.’  Every novel was experimental, every foray opened new ground.  That may not have been the case, of course, but it’s certainly how it looks from the twenty-first century.” – Thomas C. Foster, How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World’s Favorite Literary Form 

“Today we stand on the brink of discovering the ultimate ‘theory of everything,’ which may, after a two-millennium search provide us with a detailed understanding of how our universe is built and ordered at the most fundamental level. At the foundation of that theory lies one key idea: All matter is really made of is quarks and leptons.” – Robert M. Hazen and James Trefil, Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy [The word “quark” was used by James Joyce in Finnegan’s Wake.  American physicist Murray Gell-Mann decided to use it as the name for the building blocks of both protons and neutrons.  “Leptons,” based on a Greek word meaning “small,”  are the building blocks of electrons and neutrinos.]

“. . . in the previous century [the 19th century] upper-class American women were insulated against the raw sights and sounds of life.  A man might curse and tell “dirty” stories, but a woman was expected to swoon if she heard the taboo word leg instead of the more appropriate limb; pianos were even draped with cloth pantalets to conceal from feminine eyes those obscene supports which are now unblushingly called piano legs.  Because of the taboo on leg and breast in  America, the custom arose of referring to the parts of a chicken as dark  meat and white meat.” – Peter Farb, Word Play: What Happens When People Talk

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