Edna St. Vincent Millay? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: You have already examined the following mordant saying:
Life is just one damned thing after another.
Apparently, the prominent poet Edna St. Vincent Millay disagreed, and she offered her own alternative trenchant analysis of life. Here are three versions:
It’s one damn thing over and over.
It’s the same thing over and over again.
It’s the same damn thing over and over.
Would you please examine this saying?
Quote Investigator: Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote a letter dated October 24, 1930 to friend and fellow poet Arthur Davison Ficke. She complained about her recurrent bouts of sickness: 1
It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another—it’s one damn thing over & over—there’s the rub—first you get sick—then you get sicker—then you get not quite so sick—then you get hardly sick at all—then you get a little sicker . . .
Although the letter was written in 1930 it was only released to the general public in 1952 with the publication of “Letters of Edna St. Vincent Millay” edited by Allan Ross Macdougall.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1952, Letters of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edited by Allan Ross Macdougall, (Letter from Edna St. Vincent Millay to “Artie” Arthur Davison Ficke; Date: October 24, 1930; Location: Steepletop), Quote Page 240, Published by Harper & Brothers, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩