In perhaps the least reliable, most disorganized, and insanely popular corner of our public consciousness, one researcher reigns supreme. A retired computer science professor with a pseudonymous byline, Garson O’Toole, the Quote Investigator, has made it his life’s mission to use the power of the Internet and online databases to meticulously research the historical origins of familiar quotations and to trace the surprising patterns that lead to erroneous attribution and mistaken ideas about our most culturally relevant figures. Perhaps, like me, you’ve read columns in the New York Times or Slate or the Chronicle of Higher Education that for all their factual authority still rely on (and quote) the QI to confirm the seemingly unconfirmable: Did Hemingway really write that six-word short story? Did Martin Luther King Jr. really invent the concept of the “arc of the moral universe” bending toward justice? Did Russell Brand use a real Kafka quote to start his memoir Booky Wook 2?
Designed to exhibit the pratfalls of our intellectual attraction to iconic personalities, thinkers, and artists, as well as the great capacity for knowledge contained in our once far-fetched digital libraries, Hemingway Didn’t Say That is a dip-in/dip-out encyclopedia for everyone who finds inspiration in quotable wisdom and strength in sound research.
- Barry Harbaugh, Editor