One Who Has Imagination Without Learning Has Wings Without Feet

Joseph Joubert? Matthew Arnold? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Imagination is crucial to cogitation, but it must be coupled with knowledge to achieve wholeness. Here are two versions of a germane adage:

  • He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.
  • One who has imagination without learning has wings without feet.

I was reminded of this saying while reading a QI analysis of a tangentially related quotation about roots and wings. Would you please examine this saying about creativity?

Quote Investigator: The famous French essayist and aphorist Joseph Joubert died in 1824. His literary reputation was established via material published posthumously. The book “Pensées, Essais et Maximes” (“Thoughts, Essays and Maxims”) appeared in 1842, and the adage under examination was included: 1

Celui qui a de l’imagination sans érudition a des ailes et n’a pas de pieds.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading One Who Has Imagination Without Learning Has Wings Without Feet

Notes:

  1. 1842, Pensées, Essais et Maximes de J. Joubert Suivis de Lettres à Ses Amis par Joseph Joubert, Tome 1, Titre VII: De la nature des esprits, Quote Page 169, Librairie de Charles Gosselin, Paris, France. (gallica.bnf.fr) link