He Who Knows, and Knows Not He Knows, Is Asleep; Awaken Him

Bruce Lee? Margaret of Valois? Sir John Fenwick? Isabel Burton? Richard Francis Burton? Arabic Apothegm? Asian Saying? Charles Haddon Spurgeon? Park Ludlow? Theron Brown? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The following four part saying is about knowledge and self-knowledge:

He who knows not, and knows not he knows not, is a fool; shun him.
He who knows not, and knows he knows not, is simple; teach him.
He who knows, and knows not he knows, is asleep; awaken him.
He who knows, and knows he knows, is wise; follow him.

This saying has been attributed to martial artist and actor Bruce Lee, but I have not seen a solid citation. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that Bruce Lee who died in 1973 employed this expression.

QI believes that this saying evolved over time. A partial precursor appeared in the 1654 book “Heptameron or the History of the Fortunate Lovers” by Princess Margaret of Valois which described a wise person with the phrase: “he who knows that he knows not any thing”. Boldface added to excerpts by QI. Anomalous spelling appeared in the original document: 1

. . .for there is no man a veryer fool, than he who thinks himself to be wise, nor any more wise, than he who knows that he knows not any thing. Howsoever (said Parlament) he knows somthing, who knows that he knows nothing.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading He Who Knows, and Knows Not He Knows, Is Asleep; Awaken Him

Notes:

  1. 1654, Heptameron or the History of the Fortunate Lovers; Written by the Most Excellent and Most Virtuous Princess, Margaret de Valoys, Queen of Navarre; Published in French by the Privilege and immediate Approbation of the King; Now made English by Robert Codrington, Master of Arts, Quote Page 260, Printed by F.L. for Nath: Ekins, London. (Early English Books Only EEBO; ProQuest)

Cycle Tracks Will Abound In Utopia

H. G. Wells? Diane Ackerman? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: When the famous science fiction author and social critic H. G. Wells envisioned utopia he wished to see ubiquitous bicycle paths winding through forests and gardens. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: H. G. Wells serialized his alternate history novel titled “A Modern Utopia” in “The Fortnightly Review” with chapter two printed in November 1904, 1 and the full book appearing in 1905. Wells described picturesque bicycle paths: 2

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia, sometimes following beside the great high roads, but oftener taking their own more agreeable line amidst woods and crops and pastures; and there will be a rich variety of footpaths and minor ways. There will be many footpaths in Utopia.

There will be pleasant ways over the scented needles of the mountain pinewoods, primrose-strewn tracks amidst the budding thickets of the lower country, paths running beside rushing streams, paths across the wide spaces of the corn land, and, above all, paths through the flowery garden spaces amidst which the houses in the towns will stand. And everywhere about the world, on road and path, by sea and land, the happy holiday Utopians will go.

Below are two additional selected citations.

Continue reading Cycle Tracks Will Abound In Utopia

Notes:

  1. 1904 November, The Fortnightly Review, A Modern Utopia: A Sociological Holiday by H.G. Wells, Chapter 2: Concerning Freedoms, Start Page 928, Quote Page 936, Chapman and Hall, London; Also Leonard Scott Publication Company, New York. (Google Books Full View) link
  2. 1905, A Modern Utopia by H. G. Wells, Chapter 2: Concerning Freedoms, Quote Page 47, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. (Google Books Full View) link

It Is the Soul’s Duty To Be Loyal To Its Own Desires

Rebecca West? George Bernard Shaw? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The prominent British author and literary critic Rebecca West once wrote about the necessity to be loyal to one’s own desires. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1913 Rebecca West published in the journal “The New Freewoman” a review of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Androcles and the Lion”. West suggested that the actions of the character Ferrovius reflected the yearnings of his soul, and she presented the following guidance. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

It is the soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master-passion.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading It Is the Soul’s Duty To Be Loyal To Its Own Desires

Notes:

  1. 1913 September 15, The New Freewoman: An Individualist Review, Volume 1, Number 7, Editor: Dora Marsden, “Androcles and the Lion” by Rebecca West (Review of George Bernard Shaw’s “Androcles and the Lion”), Start Page 128, Quote Page 128, Column 22, The New Freewoman, Ltd., London. (Accessed at modjourn.org on September 18, 2021) link

A Happy Family Is But an Earlier Heaven

George Bernard Shaw? John Bowring? John Browning? John Bouring?

Dear Quote Investigator: Some envision heaven filled with a joyous, loving, and interconnected group of people united on a higher spiritual plane. If one is a member of a happy family here on Earth then it is possible to obtain a glimpse of this future possibility. One may express this notion as follows:

A happy family is an earlier heaven.

This statement has been attributed to playwright George Bernard Shaw, political economist Sir John Bowring, and parliamentarian Sir John Browning. Would you please help me to identify the correct originator?

Quote Investigator: Sir John Bowring’s career was long and varied. He wrote articles about economics, served as a Member of the U.K. Parliament, worked a literary translator, and was appointed Governor of Hong Kong. In addition, his Unitarian faith inspired him to write many hymns. In 1837 a volume of “Hymns for Public and Private Worship” compiled by John R. Beard included a work celebrating domestic life titled “Home Joys” credited to Bowring containing the following two verses. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

The pilgrim’s step in vain
Seeks Eden’s sacred ground;
But in home’s holy joys, again
An Eden may be found.

A glance of heaven to see,
To none on earth is given;
And yet—a happy family
Is but an earlier heaven.

Bowring’s name was followed by an asterisk, and the accompanying note stated that the hymn was an original “composed for the most part expressly for the volume”.

In 1841 John Bowring published the third edition of “Matins and Vespers: With Hymns and Occasional Devotional Pieces”. He included the hymn he wrote with slightly different punctuation. 2

A glance of heaven to see,
To none on earth is given;
And yet a happy family
Is but an earlier heaven.

The first edition of “Matins and Vespers” appeared in 1823, but the hymn containing the quotation under examination was absent. 3 QI has not yet seen the second edition and does not know whether it included the hymn and quotation.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading A Happy Family Is But an Earlier Heaven

Notes:

  1. 1837, A Collection of Hymns for Public and Private Worship, Compiled by John R. Beard, Hymn Number 517: Home Joys by Bowring (Dr. Bowring), Verse Number 6, Start Page 311, Quote Page 312, Published by John Green, London. (Google Books Full View) link
  2. 1841, Matins and Vespers: With Hymns and Occasional Devotional Pieces by John Bowring, Third Edition Altered and Enlarged, Hymn: Home Joys, Start Page 267, Quote Page 268, Published by J. Green, London. (Google Books Full View) link
  3. 1823, Matins and Vespers: With Hymns and Occasional Devotional Pieces by John Bowring, (Quotation is absent), Printed for the author and sold by G. and W. B. Whittaker, London. (Google Books Full View) link

The One-Eyed Mollusc On the Sea-Bottom Is My Equal in What He and I Know of Star Clusters Not Yet Found

Carl Sandburg? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Humanity takes arrogant pride in the knowledge it has accumulated over the centuries. Yet, it is a paltry amount when compared to the vast treasure troves that remain undiscovered in the uncharted regions of space and time. I roughly recall a saying on this theme that emphasized humility:

The one-eyed mollusc on the ocean floor and I have the same knowledge of the universe.

Would you please help me to find the correct phrasing and the originator’s identity?

Quote Investigator: The acclaimed poet and biographer Carl Sandburg won three Pulitzer Prizes. When he was 85 years old in 1963 he published the collection “Honey and Salt” which included the poem “Timesweep”. The work displayed a cosmological perspective. The verses imagined embodiment in a series of creatures of increasing complexity. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

” . . . there is a vast Unknown and farther beyond the vaster Unknowable—and the Ignorance we share and share alike is immeasurable.”

The one-eyed mollusc on the sea-bottom, feathered and luminous, is my equal in what he and I know of star clusters not yet found by the best of star-gazers.

In 1976 the influential quotation collector Laurence J. Peter published “The Peter Plan: A Proposal for Survival”, and he reprinted the verse while crediting Sandburg. 2

In conclusion, Carl Sandburg deserves credit for the quotation which appeared in his 1963 poem “Timesweep”.

Image Notes: Public domain image of galaxy from WikiImages at Pixabay.

(Great thanks to VOXINDICA whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.)

Notes:

  1. 1963, Honey and Salt by Carl Sandburg, Poem: Timesweep, Start Page 96, Quote Page 110, Harbrace Paperback Library: Harcourt, Brace & World, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1976 (1975 Copyright), The Peter Plan: A Proposal for Survival by Laurence J. Peter, Part 2: The Peter Planet, Chapter 7: Progeny, Quote Page 135, William Morrow and Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

Science and Everyday Life Cannot and Should Not Be Separated

Rosalind Franklin? Brenda Maddox? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: In the 21st century the insights gained via science have re-emerged as centrally important to the flourishing of our planet and humanity. Apparently, a researcher enthralled by work was told that she was placing too much emphasis on science. She replied:

Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.

This statement has been attributed to Rosalind Franklin whose x-ray crystallography work led to the epochal discovery of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the molecule of genetic inheritance. Would you please help me to find a citation.

Quote Investigator: This quotation is contained in the biography “Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA” by Brenda Maddox within chapter four titled “Never Surrender (October 1938-July 1941)”. During this time period Rosalind Franklin was attending Cambridge University, and she received a letter from her father Ellis Franklin. Her reply described her father’s complaint: 1

You frequently state, and in your letter you imply, that I have developed a completely one-sided outlook and look at everything and think of everything in terms of science.

Rosalind Franklin opposed the separation of science and quotidian life. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:

But you look at science (or at least talk of it) as some sort of demoralising invention of man, something apart from real life, and which must be cautiously guarded and kept separate from everyday existence. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated. Science, for me, gives a partial explanation of life.

In 2004 the quotation appeared as an entry in the sixth edition of “The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations” edited by Elizabeth Knowles. The letter from Rosalind Franklin reprinted in Maddox’s biography was cited. 2

In 2015 the remark was printed in “Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—and the World” by Rachel Swaby, and Rosalind Franklin received credit. 3

In conclusion, Rosalind Franklin deserves credit for this quotation.

Image Notes: Public domain illustration depicting careers in science from deMysticWay at Pixabay.

Notes:

  1. 2002, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox, Chapter 4: Never Surrender (October 1938-July 1941), Quote Page 60 and 61, HarperCollins Publishers, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 2004, The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Sixth Edition, Edited by Elizabeth Knowles, Entry: Rosalind Franklin, Quote Page 332, Column 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England. (Verified with scans)
  3. 2015, Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—and the World by Rachel Swaby, Chapter: Rosalind Franklin 1920-1958, Quote Page 109, Broadway Books: Penguin Random House, New York. (Verified with scans)

If There Is Magic On This Planet, It Is Contained In Water

Loren Eiseley? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The motions of water are often mesmerizing, e.g., the rhythmic crashing of waves on a beach, the misty turbulence of a plunging waterfall, and the sparkling jet of a fountain. A science popularizer apparently once said:

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.

Would you please help me to find a citation and identify the creator of this statement?

Quote Investigator: In 1957 U.S. educator and science writer Loren Eiseley published “The Immense Journey” which included an essay titled “The Flow of the River”. He began with a paean to water. Boldface added to this excerpt: 1

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. Its least stir even, as now in a rain pond on a flat roof opposite my office, is enough to bring me searching to the window.

In 1983 an entry for the quotation appeared in “Webster’s Treasury of Relevant Quotations” by Edward F. Murphy. The words were credited to Eiseley and “The Immense Journey” was cited. 2

(Great thanks to Natália B. whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.)

Image Notes: Public domain depiction of a water droplet from ronymichaud at Pixabay. Image has been resized, retouched, and cropped.

Notes:

  1. 1957, The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley, Chapter: The Flow of the River, Quote Page 15, Random House, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1983, Webster’s Treasury of Relevant Quotations by Edward F. Murphy, Topic: Water, Quote Page 579 and 580, Greenwich House, New York. (Verified with scans)

I Wasn’t a Sex Symbol; I Was a Sex Zombie

Veronica Lake? Judy Klemesrud? Walter Clemons? Anonymous? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A pulchritudinous movie star of the golden age of Hollywood supposedly said:

I wasn’t a sex symbol; I was a sex zombie.

Is this an authentic quotation? If someone did deliver this line would you please tell me who it was?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in “The New York Times” in March 1971. Journalist Judy Klemesrud interviewed actress Veronica Lake and asked about her sex symbol status. Boldface added to excerpts By QI: 1

Miss Lake, dressed primly in a two-tone green suede suits cringed when the term “sex symbol” was mentioned. She prefers “sex-zombie,” which a book critic recently used in referring to her.

“That really names me properly,” she said. “I was laughing at everybody in all of my portraits. I never took that stuff seriously. I will have one of the cleanest obits of any actress.”

Thus, an unnamed book critic applied the phrase “sex zombie” to Lake, and she thought that it was appropriate. Perhaps she felt that the publicity machine of Hollywood had constructed an artificial and deadening role for her to play.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Wasn’t a Sex Symbol; I Was a Sex Zombie

Notes:

  1. 1971 March 10, New York Times, For Veronica Lake, the Past Is Something to Write About by Judy Klemesrud, Quote Page 38, New York. (ProQuest)

Humanity Invented the Atom Bomb. No Mouse in the World Would Think of Building a Mousetrap

Albert Einstein? Werner Mitsch? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: It is difficult to conceive of an ordinary creature foolish enough to design and build a device that would dramatically increase the probability of its self-annihilation. The great scientist Albert Einstein supposedly made the following remark:

Mankind invented the atomic bomb, yet a mouse would never invent a mousetrap.

Unfortunately, no one has presented a supporting citation, and I know that fake Einstein quotations are endemic. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Albert Einstein wrote or spoke this statement. It is not listed in the comprehensive reference “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press. Einstein died in 1955, and he received credit for the remark many years afterward in 2010.

The earliest match known to QI was identified by top German quotation expert Gerald Krieghofer who traced the saying to German aphorist Werner Mitsch who placed it into the 1983 collection “Das Schwarze unterm Fingernagel. Sprüche. Nichts als Sprüche” (“The black under the fingernail. Sayings. Nothing but sayings”). Here is the original German followed by an English rendering. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Der Mensch hat die Atombombe erfunden. Keine Maus der Welt käme auf die Idee, eine Mausefalle zu konstruieren.

Humanity invented the atom bomb. No mouse in the world would think of building a mousetrap.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Humanity Invented the Atom Bomb. No Mouse in the World Would Think of Building a Mousetrap

Notes:

  1. 1983, Das Schwarze unterm Fingernagel. Sprüche. Nichts als Sprüche (The black under the fingernail. Sayings. Nothing but sayings) by Werner Mitsch, Quote Page 91, Letsch Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany. (Citation from Gerald Krieghofer; QI has not seen this book) link

All You Need In This Life Is Ignorance and Confidence; Then Success Is Sure

Mark Twain? Benjamin De Casseres? Richard Grant White? Mary Hallock Foote? Cordelia Foote? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Mark Twain once joked that the key to success was a combination of ignorance and confidence. I do not know the precise phrasing. Would you please help me to find the exact quotation and a citation?

Quote Investigator: Mark Twain penned this amusing remark in a letter dated December 2, 1887 which he sent to “Mrs. Foote”. The letter was reprinted in the “Los Angeles Times” on March 16, 1930. 1 Also, in 1934 a facsimile of the missive appeared in the book “When Huck Finn Went Highbrow” by Benjamin De Casseres, a limited edition with 125 copies.

There was a long delay between the letter’s composition and its publication, but Twain scholars believe that it is authentic. The famed humorist discussed leading a study group who were exploring the poetry of Robert Browning. 2 The quotation reflected Twain’s comical reaction to holding a position of leadership: 3

Now when you come to think of it, wasn’t it a curious idea—I mean for a dozen ladies of (apparently) high intelligence to elect me their Browning reader? Of course you think I declined at first; but I didn’t. I’m not the declining sort. I would take charge of the constellations if I were asked to do it. All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading All You Need In This Life Is Ignorance and Confidence; Then Success Is Sure

Notes:

  1. 1930 March 16, Los Angeles Times, Twain Letter Unearthed by Neeta Marquis, Section 3, Quote Page 22, Column 1 and 2, Los Angeles, California. (Newspapers_com) link
  2. 1978, Browning Institute Studies, Volume 6, Article: “A Splendor of Stars & Suns”: Twain as a Reader of Browning’s Poems by Alan Gribben, Start Page 87, End Page 107, Published by Cambridge University Press. (JSTOR; Accessed September 5, 2021) link
  3. 1934, When Huck Finn Went Highbrow by Benjamin De Casseres, Limited edition with 125 copies, (Book includes facsimile of letter sent from Mark Twain to Mrs. Foote dated December 2, 1887), Quote Page 7, Thomas F. Madigan, New York. (Verified with page scans; thanks to Barbara Schmidt and Kevin Mac Donnell)