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The Yale Book of Quotations Hardcover – October 30, 2006
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To paraphrase Ira Gershwin, "on every [page] that you turn you meet a notable with a statement that is eminently quotable" in this collection. According to editor Shapiro, this is "the first quotation book to be compiled using state-of-the-art research methods to seek out quotations and to trace quotation sources." He compares his approach with that of the Oxford English Dictionary: he, too, traces words back to their earliest possible usages. Using a variety of electronic sources, such as JSTOR, LexisNexis, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, andTimes Digital Archive, scores of quotations were verified, and in many cases reverified. The more than 12,000 quotations collected here span a wide array of subjects, from literature, philosophy, and history to science, business, and politics.
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
"[A] hotly awaited tome."―William Safire, New York Times
"The first truly modern yet historically comprehensive book of quotations."—Randall Beach, New Haven Register
"The Yale Book of Quotations aims to become the Bartlett’s for a new generation. It may well do it. One thing is certain: It’s a whole lot more fun. . . . An irreverent, uncensored romp."―Steve Blow, Dallas Morning News
"Seems this book would make a great educational game―exercising the brain instead of the joystick finger."―Donna Doherty, New Haven Register
"A handsome and well-indexed compilation. . . . It is not just a compilation but a work of scholarship. . . . In The Yale Book of Quotations, [Shapiro] proves even more diligent than Bartlett was about finding the exact origins and wording of familiar quotations. . . . The historical notes in small type―elaborating on sources and parallels, and sometimes cross-referencing other quotations within the volume―make this a really useful reference work. It is also a profitable (or at least entertaining) way to procrastinate."―Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed
"The Yale Book of Quotations, with Fred Shapiro's original research, will shock many of us out of our state of error."—William Safire, New York Times Magazine
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I especially appreciate Shapiro's provision of 200 memorable "Film Lines" (Pages 258-269) that include some of my personal favorites. For example:
Adam Cook (Oscar Levant) in An American in Paris (1951):"[My face is not] a pretty face, I grant you, but underneath its flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character."
General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) in Dr. Strangelove (1964): "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million people killed, tops, depending on the breaks."
Captain (Strother Martin) in Cool Hand Luke (1967): "What we've got here is failure to communicate."
Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) in Island of Lost Souls (1933): "[The natives] are restless tonight."
Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in Network (1976): "I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell `I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!'"
Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in The Third Man (1949): "In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy, and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
This is an anthology to be kept near at hand, perhaps on a coffee table, and will encourage and generously reward occasional browsing. Here are a few that recently caught my eye:
"There may be said to be two classes of people in the world; those who constantly divide the people of the world into two classes, and those who do not." Robert Benchley (1921)
A U.S. sailor saluting a new flag hoisted on his ship: "I name thee Old Glory." William Driver (1821)
"The most important aspect of our [Israel's] policy must be our ever-present, manifest desire to institute complete equality for the Arab citizens living in our midst.... The attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people." Albert Einstein (1955)
"You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, and Germany doesn't want to go to war." Chris Rock (quoted in Calgary Sun in 2003)
"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
Using meticulous research to trace quotations to their original sources, Fred R. Shapiro was able to determine the validity of a claim such as Yogi Berra's, "I really didn't say everything I said." He probably didn't make all the statements attributed to him but he did make that claim, Shapiro confirms, during an interview by Sports Illustrated in 1986. Shapiro will gratefully welcome corrections of information provided in this volume as well as suggestions of new quotations for future editions. Submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org or [...]
To do so, one can go off of one's memory, but, as Joseph Epstein points out in his witty introduction, one will miss the mark: the quote and the attribution will most likely be wrong. So much for illustrating one's point!
Still, what I like most about this book is the sheer entertainment value. I keep it next to me on my desk, and, in a free moment, I would rather graze through it than surf the Internet.
The quotes are obviously weighted towards American authors and pop culture icons of the last 50 years. It includes famous lines in films, advertising and music culture. The chances that your quotation will hit the mark with your audience are greater with this book.
One note of caution: you shouldn't read this book looking for an author's most literate quote. The purpose of the book is to provide the most famous quote and nail down the attribution. Nevertheless, that shouldn't prevent you from deriving immense pleasure from just reading the book from page 1 to 851.
Sanford L. Jacobs, editor of "The Little Black Book of Political Wisdom".
It has many many quotes from my favorite writers, speakers, thinkers, poets. Compared with that of Oxford's, (my favorites) it kills it. Twain has pages devoted to him as he rightly should here, whereas Oxford gives him a barely measly page.
Besides being fun and more modern, it traces back the origin it's really cool. It's smaller than some of the other quotation books (like Oxford's) but imo has a lot more to offer certainly in terms of American writers/etc. (Yet this has more quotes from Churchill than Oxford's... so... who knows hehe =)