Quote Origin: I Have Been Misquoted Everywhere, and the Inaccuracies Are Chasing Me Round the World

George Bernard Shaw? Ritchie Calder? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: Prominent Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is a misquotation magnet. Numerous remarks have been ascribed to him that he never said. Apparently, he once grumbled about being “misquoted everywhere”. He believed that the inaccuracies were chasing him around the world. Would you please help me to find a citation.

Reply from Quote Investigator: In 1933 the “Daily Herald” of London printed a piece about George Bernard Shaw who complained that his recent conversation with Helen Keller had been misreported. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]

“I remember meeting her in London, as they say in their attacks, at Lady Astor’s. Conversation was difficult, as you would suppose, considering that she is both blind and deaf, and everything has to be spelt out by someone else on her fingers.

“She ‘sees’ you by feeling your face. It was rather embarrassing. It would have been in the worst possible taste to ignore her condition.

“I remarked, by way of a compliment, that she was wonderful, and added, jokingly, that she could see and hear better than her countrymen who could neither see nor hear.

“Someone takes a joking remark meant in all kindness and says I insulted Helen Keller by saying, ‘All Americans are deaf and blind—and dumb—anyway.’

“I tell you I have been misquoted everywhere, and the inaccuracies are chasing me round the world.”

Additional details and citations are available in the article on the Medium platform which is located here.

Image Notes: Quotation marks from Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program).

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to the anonymous person whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. The person wanted to know whether the “Daily Herald” article was available in a database. It is available in the British Newspaper Archive and the newspapers.com database.

[1] 1933 April 20, Daily Herald, G.B.S Back From His Travels—and He’s Glad by Ritchie Calder (On the Empress of Britain), Quote Page 4, Column 4, London, England. (British Newspaper Archive)