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Yale University Press
The Yale Book of Quotations

The Yale Book of Quotations

by Fred R. Shapiro, Joseph Epstein


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300107982
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 10/30/2006
Pages: 1104
Sales rank: 561,288
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.94(d)

About the Author

Fred R. Shapiro is associate librarian and lecturer in legal research at the Yale Law School. He is a well-known authority on quotations and the editor of The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations.

Read an Excerpt

From the S section of
The Yale Book of Quotations:

I've got a soul: don't tell me I haven't. Cut me up and you can't find it. Cut up a steam engine and you can't find the steam. But, by George, it makes the engine go.

Irish author and socialist, 1856–1950
Misalliance (1914)

Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.

U.S. cartoonist, 1940–
Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (comic strip) (1971). The original saying was probably "love" or "sex" rather than "dope."

The law is established, which no passion can disturb. 'Tis void of desire and fear, lust and anger ... 'Tis deaf, inexorable, inflexible.

English conspirator, 1622–1683
Discourses Concerning Government ch. 3, sec. 15 (1698)

I saw the best minds of my generation
Reading their poems to Vassar girls,
Being interviewed by Mademoiselle.
Having their publicity handled by
When can I go into an editorial office
And have my stuff published because I'm
I could go on like this forever.

Jamaican-born U.S. poet, 1923–
"Squeal" l. 28 (1959)

The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do.

U.S. psychologist, 1904–1990
Contingencies of Reinforcement ch. 9 (1969)

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

Scottish economist and philosopher, 1723–1790
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations vol. I, bk. I, ch. 10 (1776)

[On Ogden Mills after Hearst endorsed Mills for governor of New York:] William Randolph Hearst gave him the kiss of death.

U.S. politician, 1873–1944
Quoted in N.Y. Times, 25 Oct. 1926. Earliest known usage of kiss of death, antedating the 1948 citation given by historical dictionaries.

None of us really understands what's going on with all these numbers.

U.S. government official, 1946–
Quoted in Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 1981. Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan Administration, was referring to the U.S. budget.


Browsing in The Yale Book of Quotations:
"Today I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
Lou Gehrig
"Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse."
Willard Motley
"Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger."
Friedrich Nietzsche
"We must love one another or die."
W. H. Auden
"Don't ask, don't tell."
Charles Moskos
"Showing up is 80 percent of life."
Woody Allen
"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?"
Langston Hughes
"Yes I said yes I will Yes."
James Joyce
"You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?'"
George Bernard Shaw
"There is no there there."
Gertrude Stein
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."
Dwight Eisenhower

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Yale Book of Quotations 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not finished reading--it's hard to know what finished would be--but I am sure this work deserves the full five stars. I started reading it straight through, but kept getting delightfully sidetracked, remembering another quotation, like an old acquaintance. The editors have done a tremendous amount of research, especially in tracking down many early attestations, especially for modern American texts. This is such a solid reference book that it can't hurt to note that there is no Platonic ideal collection. Though what's included is massive and well-selected, part of the fun is to see what is absent too. Sure, I recall Jimmy Durante saying 'I got a million of 'em' (included), but I did not find his 'Everybody wants to get into the act' under his name it turns out that it is included, but listed under Radio Catchphrases I could have found the saying that I heard on TV in the keyword index, so a cross-reference at Durante would have been helpful. Though the front matter clearly delineates the format, one could question omitting known political speech writers credit in political quotations, for example, in Agnew's unhappy phrase 'nattering nabobs of negativism.' William Safire will be not amused.The evidence for attributing 'damned lies, and statistics' to Disraeli, rather than Courtney or another, seems to me rather questionable. For example, YBQ cites a 1895 statement of a letter writer who thought Disraeli said it but in a 1894 book Price Collier attributed the saying to Walter Bagehot. Absent: 'the whole nine yards.' This appeared in Vietnam GI slang in 1966. By then 'Montagnards' were slangily called ''yards.' In 1966 Navy Chaplain and anthropologist R. Mole published a book on Nine Tribes of Montagnards in I Corps area (the north of South Vietnam). To get all of them as allies, perhaps, gave rise to the phrase for the full compliment, the whole nine yards. But there is admittedly no consensus on this yet. As Saul Lieberman reportedly said in introducing G. Scholem's lectures on Kabbalah, 'Nonsense is nonsense, but the study of nonsense is scholarship.' (Though other tradents report that he said 'history,' not 'study.') In any case, this is a fine reference work.
kawebb on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I first became aware of this project a few years ago, when Fred Shapiro started asking questions about quotations on Stumpers-L (now Project Wombat). When the book finally appeared last year, I was pleased to see that he not only acknowledged the help given the by the list and the individuals who'd provided leads and information, he'd also added many annotations (see the entry for John Sedgwick). In its general form, this is similar to the other canonical books of quotations, but he's added a lot more and included many contemporary references.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Don¿t look back,¿ said baseball great Satchel Paige. ¿Something might be gaining on you.¿ That something, or someone, might be the scrupulous Fred R. Shapiro. In ¿The Yale Book of Quotations,¿ aided by scholars and connoisseurs, he tracks 12,000 pithy and apposite remarks to their original sources, drawn from over three thousand politicians, pundits, poets, and proselytizers: Spinoza and Gertrude Stein and Snoop Doggy Dogg, Austen and Sanger and Thurber, Lorenz Hart and Horace and Groucho, not to mention me and you. (Check out ¿Modern Proverbs.¿) Specific references, often providing extra background, are furnished for every quote, which range in heterogeneous variety from the elegant (¿We are all strong enough to bear the misfortunes of others¿) to the arrogant (¿What an artist dies with me!¿---not Dali, Nero). This magisterial collection repeatedly uncovers the exact phrasing and true deviser of many a famous saying. Who¿s responsible for ¿Don¿t ask, don¿t tell¿? Or ¿Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry loose is not nailed down¿? Or ¿Millions long for immortality who don¿t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon¿? If Truman wasn¿t the first to say ¿If you don¿t like the heat, get out of the kitchen¿---and he wasn¿t---who was? And who never said, ¿There is scarcely anything in this world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper¿? The thoroughgoing Keyword Index makes it a cinch to find out. (See pages 787 and 657.) Yale University Press has produced an exemplar of modern bookmaking, at a reasonable price: splendid layout and typesetting grace every one of these 1068 pages. Man of letters Joseph Epstein contributes a smart and racy foreword, and portraits or photographs enliven the entries. (Will you recognize young Mae West when you see her?) ¿If, with the literate, I am / Impelled to try an epigram, / I never seek to take the credit: / We all assume that Oscar said it.¿ Well, Mrs. Parker, Mr. Wilde tops out at 123, but you¿re looking good with 49. Come, gentle readers, and check out the 11,828 others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good quotations collection will give the definitive wording of quotations, provide information as to the quotations' sources and eliminate spurious sources, and be interesting enough to read or browse in its own right, even when no particular quotation is sought. The Yale Book of Quotations does all of these things, and it does them better than its nearest competitors (Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations). The Yale Book of Quotations is the first new comprehensive collection in many years, and it has benefited from a rethinking of the quotations selected, the use of modern databases to track quotations back to their origins, and comparison with those original sources to assure accuracy. The immediately noticeable difference is a selection that is more likely to appeal to a modern American audience. Bartlett's has pages of quotations from Dryden, most of which inspire neither recollection nor pleasant surprise. Yale has 12 quotations from Dryden, which is enough to include all the genuinely familiar Dryden quotations. On the other hand, Yale has 23 quotations from George W. Bush, many uttered after Bartlett's was last updated. Yale includes extensive selections of proverbs and sayings, political slogans, television catchphrases, and other familiar lines. In general, although Yale's use of literary quotations is comprehensive (there are, for example, 455 quotations from Shakespeare), the quotation selection tends to be relatively less literary and more inclined toward quotations of contemporary interest. It may be for this reason that, frankly, Yale is just a lot more fun to browse. Less dramatic, but perhaps ultimately a better indicator of usefulness, is the impressive level of research that went into compiling the Yale Book. Have you ever wondered who said 'There ain't no such thing as a free lunch'? Yale cites to several authors who used versions of this line, the earliest of which ('such a thing as a 'free' lunch never existed') was in the Reno Evening Gazette on January 22, 1942. It is unlikely that such an obscure source could have been located without modern databases. It was indeed Horace Greeley who said 'Go West, young man' Yale spends a quarter of a page discussing this quotation, which it notes is one of the great examples of the prevalence of misinformation about famous quotations (both Bartlett's and Oxford get it wrong). The Yale Book of Quotations offers a level of scholarship and reliability that is simply not otherwise available.