(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘quotes

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure”*…

When a man is tired of memes, he is tired of life.

Samuel Johnson’s original observation pertained to his hometown of London, the streets of which he knew better than most. As a man of letters and author of a best-selling dictionary, he wrote volumes [see here]. But nowadays, in the words of one English professor, “Samuel Johnson is one of those figures whom everyone quotes and no one reads.” (The use of “whom” is how you know an English professor wrote that.)

That’s perhaps as it should be: As the subject of the first modern biography [see here], Johnson (1709-84) was known as the best social talker who ever lived. And 228 years after his death, referencing Johnson’s portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds became a universally recognized expression of this profane sentiment: 

Resurrecting history’s most quotable man: “The memeification of Dr. Johnson

For more on the remarkable Dr. J., see “A Word A Day, the Doctor’s Way.”

* Samuel Johnson


As we share the love with Shakespeare, we might recall that it was on this date in 2000 that Charles M. Schulz published the last daily Peanuts strip. (The final Sunday panel ran on on February 13 of that year.)


Written by (Roughly) Daily

January 3, 2021 at 1:01 am

Who (really) said that?…


The three types of misattributed statement: an analysis


As we quote with care, we might send learned birthday greetings to Daniel Joseph Boorstin; he was born on this date in 1914.  As a Rhodes Scholar, Boorstin took first-class honors in jurisprudence at Oxford and was admitted as a barrister to the Inner Temple in 1937.  Two years later, he returned to the US to teach history, first at Harvard, then at the University of Chicago.  He left Chicago in 1969 to become the director of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution; then, in 1975 moved on to become the Librarian of Congress, a post he held until 1987. He’s probably best-known for his three-volume history, The Americans, the third volume of which, The Americans: The Democratic Experience, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974.




Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 1, 2013 at 1:01 am

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