Nothing Succeeds Like Undress

Dorothy Parker? Oscar Wilde? Alexandre Dumas? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: While streaming an elaborately expensive television series I encountered a gratuitous scene with scanty clothing. I was reminded of this witticism: Nothing succeeds like undress.

This quip has been attributed to Dorothy Parker. Would you please explore the provenance of this remark?

Quote Investigator: The earliest close match located by QI appeared in January 1906 in a New Castle, Pennsylvania newspaper within a column featuring miscellaneous comical remarks. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1906 January 1, New Castle Herald, Scissorings, Quote Page 6, Column 5, New Castle, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)

Motto for Ladies at the Opera—Nothing succeeds like undress.—Town Topics.

Thus, the creator was anonymous. Dorothy Parker used this quip in 1918 after it was already in circulation. Here is an overview with dates of the pertinent family of sayings:

1827: Rien ne réussit comme un succès.(Jacques-François Ancelot)

1847 Nov: Nothing succeeds like success. (English translation of Alexandre Dumas)

1893: Nothing succeeds like excess. (Oscar Wilde)

1904 Mar: Nothing recedes like success. (Anonymous)

1904 Nov: Nothing recedes like ex-success. (Duncan M. Smith)

1906 Jan: Nothing succeeds like undress. (Anonymous)

1918 Apr: Nothing succeeds like undress. (Dorothy Parker)

A separate Quote Investigator article centered on the saying “Nothing succeeds like success” is available here.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Nothing Succeeds Like Undress

References

References
1 1906 January 1, New Castle Herald, Scissorings, Quote Page 6, Column 5, New Castle, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)

Nothing Succeeds Like Success

Alexandre Dumas? Ralph Waldo Emerson? William J. Snelling? Jacques-François Ancelot? Jules Janin? William Pulling? Alphonse de Lamartine? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: One success often leads to another success in a chain of achievement, opportunity, and good fortune. A popular adage expresses this idea:

Nothing succeeds like success.

This phrase has been attributed to several French writers including Alexandre Dumas who wrote “Le Comte de Monte-Cristo” (“The Count of Monte Cristo”). Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: This adage evolved over time, and the earliest instances located by QI occurred in French. The saying moved from French to English by 1847. QI believes that the origin of this saying is best described as anonymous. Here is an overview with dates:

1826: Rien ne réussit en France comme le succès. (Nothing succeeds in France like success.) Written by M.R.

1827: Rien ne réussit comme un succès. (Nothing succeeds like a success.) Written by Jacques-François Ancelot

1837: Rien ne réussit comme le succès. (Nothing succeeds like success.) Attributed to Jules Janin

1847: Nothing succeeds like success. Written by William J. Snelling who was translating a story by Alexandre Dumas into English

In 1826 “Le Mercure du dix-neuvième siècle” (“The Nineteenth Century Mercury”) published an article by a music critic who used the initials M.R. The critic employed a version of the saying while praising a piece of music. Passages in French in this article are followed by English translations. Boldface added to excepts by QI:[1]1826, Le Mercure du dix-neuvième siècle (The Nineteenth Century Mercury), Tome Quinzième (Fifteenth Volume), Théatres: Académie Royale De Musique by M.R., Start Page 69, Quote Page 73, Au Bureau … Continue reading

On a déjà dit que rien ne réussit en France comme le succès: vous allez voir réussir celui-ci.

It has already been said that nothing succeeds in France like success: you are going to see this one succeed.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Nothing Succeeds Like Success

References

References
1 1826, Le Mercure du dix-neuvième siècle (The Nineteenth Century Mercury), Tome Quinzième (Fifteenth Volume), Théatres: Académie Royale De Musique by M.R., Start Page 69, Quote Page 73, Au Bureau Du Mercure, Paris. (Google Books Full View) link