I Never Seek To Take the Credit; We All Assume That Oscar Said It

Dorothy Parker? Louella Parsons? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: The 19th-century Irish playwright Oscar Wilde is a superstar in the realm of quotations, and many scintillating expressions have been incorrectly attributed to him. A humorous verse about this phenomenon was composed by another wit, Dorothy Parker. The verse ends with this line: We all assume that … Continue reading I Never Seek To Take the Credit; We All Assume That Oscar Said It

“I Wish I Had Said That” “You Will, Oscar, You Will”

Oscar Wilde? James McNeill Whistler? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: I would like to learn more about a famous anecdote involving James McNeill Whistler, the painter who is known for his iconic portrait of his mother. Apparently, Whistler was able to trump Oscar Wilde, one of the greatest wits of the nineteenth century who was occasionally … Continue reading “I Wish I Had Said That” “You Will, Oscar, You Will”

“There is a Conspiracy of Silence Against Me. What Should I Do, Oscar?” “Join It.”

Oscar Wilde? Augustine Birrell? Lewis Morris? Fictional? Dear Quote Investigator: There is a popular anecdote about Oscar Wilde that is very funny, but it is also implausible in my opinion. The story claims that Wilde was speaking with a terrible poet who had recently published a book of verse. The rhymer complained that no one … Continue reading “There is a Conspiracy of Silence Against Me. What Should I Do, Oscar?” “Join It.”

The Old Believe Everything: The Middle-Aged Suspect Everything: The Young Know Everything

Oscar Wilde? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: Oscar Wilde once constructed an epigram about human knowledge and the three stages of life. I recall Wilde’s remarks about two of the stages. The arrogant young know everything, and the credulous old believe anything. Would you please help me to find this epigram? Quote Investigator: Alfred Douglas asked … Continue reading The Old Believe Everything: The Middle-Aged Suspect Everything: The Young Know Everything

God In Creating Man, Somewhat Overestimated His Ability

Oscar Wilde? Francis Douglas? 11th Marquess of Queensberry? ‎Percy Colson? Mark Twain? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: The Book of Genesis describes the creation of the world and the formation of Adam and Eve. The actions of this couple in the Garden of Eden quickly revealed behavioral defects. A sardonic commentator has suggested that God overestimated … Continue reading God In Creating Man, Somewhat Overestimated His Ability

Paradox Is Truth Standing On Its Head To Attract Attention

Oscar Wilde? G. K. Chesterson? Richard G. Moulton? Coulson Kernahan? William Thomas Stead? Richard Le Gallienne? C. Ranger Gull? Leonard Cresswell Ingleby? Guy Thorne? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: The contemplation of a seemingly self-contradictory statement can help to illuminate a larger truth. This notion may be expressed with figurative language: Paradox is merely truth standing … Continue reading Paradox Is Truth Standing On Its Head To Attract Attention

The Smallest Good Deed Is Better Than the Grandest Good Intention

Oscar Wilde? Jacques Joseph Duguet? Claude Joseph Dorat? Henry Ward Beecher? Gaspard Dughet? H. Jackson Brown? John Burroughs? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: Hoping and dreaming are not enough; taking action is crucial. Here are two pertinent statements: The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention. The smallest act of kindness is worth more than … Continue reading The Smallest Good Deed Is Better Than the Grandest Good Intention

Rhyme Does Not Pay

Dorothy Parker? Oscar Wilde? Mike Porter? Arch Ward? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: Composing poetry is rarely a lucrative occupation. A traditional moralistic adage has been transformed into a comical warning for versifiers: Crime does not pay. Rhyme does not pay. This word play has been credited to the prominent wit Dorothy Parker who published multiple … Continue reading Rhyme Does Not Pay

Say Anything You Like About Me, But Spell My Name Right

George M. Cohan? P. T. Barnum? Mae West? Elinor Glyn? Babe Ruth? Damon Runyon? James J. Johnston? Charley Murphy? Max Schmeling? Walter Winchell? Oscar Wilde? Samuel Johnson? Ed Sullivan? Dear Quote Investigator: A person once planned to write an article or book containing derogatory material about a celebrity. The unruffled response of the celebrity to … Continue reading Say Anything You Like About Me, But Spell My Name Right

Famous for Being Famous

Daniel J. Boorstin? Andy Warhol? Charles Godfrey Leland? Marshall McLuhan? Raquel Welch? David Brinkley? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: Achieving fame required some significant accomplishment or impressive quality in the past. Now it seems that people are deemed notable for absurd reasons. Here are three phrases describing the self-referential nature of modern celebrityhood: Famous for being … Continue reading Famous for Being Famous