Nostalgia Is a Dangerous Emotion Because It Glides So Easily Into Hatred and Resentment

Carolyn G. Heilbrun? Amanda Cross? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Nostalgia is a sentimental emotion that does not seem to be dangerous. Yet, wistful feelings for a bygone era can become a source of hatred and resentment. The mystery author Carolyn G. Heilbrun expressed something similar. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: Carolyn G. Heilbrun was an influential English professor and the author of a series of mystery novels under the pen name Amanda Cross. In 1992 she published a review in “The New York Times” examining the volume “Battle of the Books: The Curriculum Debate in America”. She discussed the controversy over the evolving literary canon taught at top universities in the U.S.

Heilbrun contended that placing an emphasis on books that were no longer being taught or venerated in classrooms produced resentment. She believed it was impossible to prevent the emergence of new voices and the diminution of some old voices. Boldface added to excerpts: 1

Nostalgia is, however, a dangerous emotion, both because it is powerless to act in the real world, and because it glides so easily into hatred and resentment against those who have taken our Eden from us.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Nostalgia Is a Dangerous Emotion Because It Glides So Easily Into Hatred and Resentment

Notes:

  1. 1992 December 25, The New York Times, In Defense of Cultural Literacy and Once-Taught Masterpieces by Carolyn G. Heilbrun, Review of James Atlas’s “Battle of the Books: The Curriculum Debate in America”), Quote Page C30, Column 5 and 6, New York. (ProQuest)

That’s the Point of Quotations, You Know: One Can Use Another’s Words To Be Insulting

Carolyn G. Heilbrun? Amanda Cross? Kate Fansler? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: By employing a quotation from a well-known individual it is possible to firmly express a viewpoint without directly endorsing it. I vaguely recall the following similar statement:

Often the point of quotations is to use somebody else’s words to deliver an insult.

Would you please help me to determine the correct wording and attribution?

Quote Investigator: In 1971 Columbia University Professor of English Carolyn G. Heilbrun published “The Theban Mysteries” under the pen name Amanda Cross. The protagonist of the book, Kate Fansler, was an amateur detective who had attended “The Theban School”, an elite all-girls academy. Fansler returned to her alma mater to moderate a seminar, and she became entangled in a mystery when a dead body was discovered on campus. In the following dialogue a member of the school asked Fansler whether she wished to join the institution, and she declined. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

“Have you ever thought of joining the Theban in some permanent capacity?”

“Do you know what Dickens said when they asked him to stand for Parliament? ‘I believe that no consideration would induce me to become a member of that extraordinary assembly.’ That’s the point of quotations, you know: one can use another’s words to be insulting.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading That’s the Point of Quotations, You Know: One Can Use Another’s Words To Be Insulting

Notes:

  1. 1979 (1971 Copyright), The Theban Mysteries by Amanda Cross (pen name of Carolyn G. Heilbrun), Series: A Kate Fansler Novel, Chapter 6, Quote Page 89 and 90, Avon Books, New York. (Verified with scans)