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The Yale Book of Quotations Hardcover – October 30, 2006
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Quotations are presented alphabetically by the name of the author or speaker. Shakespeare and the Bible, the mother lodes of quotations, are amply represented, but emphasis is on "modern and American materials." Children's authors, who are often ignored in other dictionaries, are quoted here. There are a number of special sections devoted to particular types of quotations, among them advertising slogans, ballads, film lines, political slogans, and radio and television catchphrases. Song lyrics are entered by the name of the composer, and film lines appear either under the film title in the special section devoted to movie lines or, if they originated in a book or play upon which the film was based, under the author of that literary source. Proverbs span the centuries and often include evidence of a saying's first print appearance. A keyword index, an essential element of any quotation dictionary, rounds out the text.
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (17th ed., Little, Brown, 2002) has around 25,000 quotations, and Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (6th ed., 2004) has more than 20,000. Although the Yale dictionary is smaller, readers may find it a richer source for familiar names, from Dr. Seuss to Donald Rumsfeld, and for special categories such as advertising slogans and film lines. Quotation dictionaries are an essential part of the reference collection, and this one, with its broad scope and meticulous attention to the origins of the material quoted, will enhance any collection, large or small. Carolyn Mulac
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From the Author
"Today I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
"Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse."
"Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger."
"We must love one another or die."
W. H. Auden
"Don't ask, don't tell."
"Showing up is 80 percent of life."
"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?"
"Yes I said yes I will Yes."
"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."
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."
Top Customer Reviews
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, particularly to Americans. It may be for this reason that, frankly, Yale is just a lot more fun to browse.Read more ›
YBQ is certainly more fun. Harry S. Truman appears, of course, in both books, but it is the YBQ that quotes Harry's letter to Paul Hume: "I have just read your lousy review [of my daughter's concert] .... You sound like a frustrated old man who never made a success, an eight-ulcer man on a four-ulcer job..." No, nothing like that in good old Bartlett's.
YBQ has the wit, and is obviously more up-to-date, but I must say that Bartlett's is better organized, and has more scholarship, at least scholarship of the kind that I appreciate.
I was happy to see that both books will give you one of my favorite lines of poetry, usually cited in the original French, from Villon: "Mais où sont les neiges d'antan ?" ('But where are the snows of yesteryear ?'). Both books have this line, in both French and English, but only Bartlett's will lead you to it if you look for the French 'neiges' in the index. To find the line in YBQ, you need to look in the index for 'snows,' not actually a word used, even in English, by those who love this line.
Speaking of indexes, well, the YBQ's is awful. It is radically shorter than Bartlett's. It will not lead you to a page number but only to the name of the writer-source of the quotation. And these sources are not always easy to find in the body of the YBQ because the page headings are organized in an eccentric way.
But my biggest problem with the YBQ arises from its quirky way of dealing with disputed attributions. Shapiro, the YBQ's editor, is good about signaling when there is a problem.Read more ›
Quotes can be elusive buggers with attributions mistakenly attached to numerous celebrity names and quote books have a reputation of not always being accurate or reporting sources (right or wrong). The Yale Book of Quotations seeks to change that by tracing quotes back to their original source. It took a number of years, a lot of digging through databases, paging through old books and newspapers, and contributions from a dedicated bunch of researchers to make this happen.
Fred R. Shapiro's The Yale Book of Quotations is highly accurate and very useful for people trying to find out who was the first to say what, so if you need to spice up that speech with a couple of useful quotes, or just impress your friends with your quote trivia ability, this book is for you.
I was pretty disappointed with the book once I got it. The emphasis seems to be on determining the exact wording and true original source of the quote: Very important details indeed, but accurate boring quotes are still boring quotes. The Yale Book of Quotations seems to have missed the point. Often we want to motivate, prove a point, or illustrate an idea with the use of quotations, and this utility of quotes should have been the primary focus.
I find the book to be only 1/2 as useful as I had hoped (deciding between 2 and 3 stars was tough). When I think of the hours spent by researchers and collaborators to find an original source, my mouse creeps toward the middle star. When I think about the full page dedicated to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards quotes, which are, in fact, all excerpts from original sources that are available today (you guessed it, Rolling Stones albums), my pointer jumps sharply to the left.
Its not a bad book, just not what I expected. Not as useful, not as interesting. So don't make the mistake I did, and find out what this book offers before you make the purchase.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Literally a quote for every occasion. Elevates knowledge of Literature, History and Art. I'm reading it by the page, with highlights and notes. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Angelique973
Great item as described! Shipped fast and with care! Highly recommended seller!Published 2 months ago by Ellen M Weisberg
A most reliable source of quotations. If Fred Shapiro has included it in this beautiful book of quotations, you can depend on its validity and provenance. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Sanford Lee Jacobs
For me this is a companion to Bartlett's, just as good and sometimes shedding new light on sources for quotations.Published 13 months ago by Thomas A. Lewandowski