writer Garson O"Toole has a straightforward explanation for why price quotes are often wrongly deadline to mark Twain: "If friend preface a quotation by speak it"s native Twain, then world are prepared to laugh in ~ it."

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Earlier this year, the Republican national Committee marked Abraham Lincoln"s birthday by sharing a charming, if banal, aphorism attributed to Lincoln: "In the end, it"s not the year in her life that count. It"s the life in your years."

The problem is there"s no evidence Lincoln ever wrote or said it, which movie critics on Twitter were just too delighted to suggest out. The RNC took down the tweet, yet all the trouble can have been avoided if they"d first checked in v Garson O"Toole. That"s the pen name of a guy who has tracked down the true beginnings of hundreds of price quotes on his website, Quote Investigator.

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O"Toole has accumulated some of those investigations into a new book referred to as Hemingway Didn"t speak That: The fact Behind familiar Quotations. The says, "It"s a the majority of fun to i found it these concealed histories, and also I"m also an extremely glad as soon as I acquire to provide credit to the human being who actually said it."

Interview Highlights

On why price quotes often obtain wrongly attributed to mark Twain

Mark twain is known for having a great sense of humor, and if friend preface a quotation by saying it"s native Twain, then world are all set to laugh at it, to think the it"s wonderful. Numerous quotations, they"re cotton or native lesser-known comedians reassigned come Twain. There might be a joke and somebody would say it"s Twain-like and then the next human will say, "No, actually, it"s from Twain."


Hemingway Didn"t say That
The reality Behind familiar Quotations

by Garson O"Toole

Hardcover, 383 pages |

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TitleHemingway Didn"t to speak ThatSubtitleThe reality Behind familiar QuotationsAuthorGarson O"Toole

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On the beginning of the quote "Better to remain silent and also be thought a fool than to speak and to eliminate all doubt," which has been wrongly attributed to both come Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain

The earliest evidence that i was maybe to discover was a 1907 publication by Maurice Switzer. And also it appears to save on computer a many original material and it has the statement "It is much better to remain silent at the danger of being thought a fool, 보다 to talk and also remove all doubt that it." so it"s slightly different phrasing, however I think that is what advanced to create the modern common version.

On the quote by writer Anne Rice that also she incorrectly attributed to Franz Kafka

"Don"t bend; don"t water the down; don"t try to make it logical; don"t modify your very own soul according to the fashion." ... It was in an introduction to a repertoire of story by Franz Kafka, and also she was talking around how she"d been motivated by him. It was her perception of the method Kafka thought as soon as he was composing his stories, but somebody analysis that development thought the it must have actually been Kafka that claimed this rather of anne Rice and also so it started being spread in that way.

I got an e-mail from an individual who claimed that on Facebook anne Rice had actually posted this quotation and also she had actually attributed it to Kafka. And also so the was enormously confusing come me because I assumed that if anyone would be able to recognize the quotation, it would be the human who developed it. Therefore I sent a Facebook blog post to ann Rice; she replied an extremely quickly and also said she would look into it to shot to find out who actually created it. And then she came back with another reply saying the she"d discovered that in truth it was she words and also that she had written it in this introduction, and as evidence of that she gave me a URL that pointed to my website. ... And it"s understandable: She"s composed a big number of words and she"d composed this an ext than a decade in the past.

On why that feels this work is important

Many of these quotations are social landmarks. They influence the means we think about, say, environmentalism. Let me find this quote: "We execute not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow that from ours children." That"s to be attributed come Ralph Waldo Emerson; it"s taken into consideration a aboriginal American proverb; one Amish saying. But the earliest evidence I found: There"s an activist named Wendell Berry and also he was discussing great stewardship of the setting ... And also I think that deserves credit for this sort of a social landmark.

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Editor Melissa Gray and also digital producer Nicole Cohen contributed to this story.