Category Archives: Simone Signoret

Chains Do Not Hold a Marriage Together. It Is Thread, Hundreds of Tiny Threads which Sew People Together Through the Years

Simone Signoret? Apocryphal?

simone09Dear Quote Investigator: I am trying to find a citation for a statement attributed to the wonderful French movie actress Simone Signoret. Here is a paraphrase from my memory: marriages are not held together by chains; they are held together by hundreds of threads. Are you familiar with this saying? Would you please help me to find its origin?

Quote Investigator: In 1978 Simone Signoret was interviewed by David Lewin in the pages of the UK newspaper the “Daily Mail”. She was asked about her husband, the actor Yves Montand, who had co-starred with the Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe in “Let’s Make Love” back in 1960. Gossip mongers suggested that Montand and Monroe may have taken the title of the movie literally, and Lewin inquired about what held Signoret’s marriage together. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

‘Chains do not hold a marriage together,’ she replied. ‘It is thread, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. That is what makes a marriage last—more than passion or even sex.’
‘But those threads should never become chains.’

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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  1. 1978 July 4, Daily Mail, Simone Signoret Talking to David Lewin, Quote Page 7, Column 3, United Kingdom. (Daily Mail Archive: Gale NewsVault)

Nostalgia Is Not What It Used To Be

Yogi Berra? Simone Signoret? Peter De Vries? Tommy Handley & Ronald Frankau? Anonymous?

signoret01Dear Quote Investigator: Holidays sometimes make me nostalgic. They also remind me of the following clever quip:

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

These words are often attributed to the famed baseball quotemaster Yogi Berra, but recently I learned of an autobiography by the prominent French actress Simone Signoret titled:

Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used To Be.

Could you explore the origin of this saying?

Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence of this expression known to QI was published in a 1959 novel titled “The Tents of Wickedness” by Peter De Vries. This citation is given in the key reference work “The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs” from Yale University Press. De Vries was a popular humorist who worked at “The New Yorker” magazine and published many novels: 1 2

No. Nostalgia, as his Uncle Joshua had said, ain’t what it used to be.
Which made it pretty complete. Nothing was what it used to be — not even nostalgia.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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  1. 1959, The Tents of Wickedness by Peter De Vries, Quote Page 6, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Massachusetts. (Verified on paper)
  2. 2012, The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, Compiled by Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro Page 179, Yale University Press, New Haven. (Verified on paper)