The Two Most Engaging Powers of an Author: New Things Are Made Familiar, and Familiar Things Are Made New

Samuel Johnson? William Makepeace Thackeray? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: The craft of storytelling is ancient; hence, creating original plots and characters is difficult. On the other hand, experimental tales without connections to the past are discordant. Here is a germane adage about successful creators: The two most engaging powers of an author are to make …

Champagne To Our Real Friends, and Real Pain To Our Sham Friends

The Royal Toast Master? Supporters of U.S. President George Washington? William Makepeace Thackeray? Francis Bacon? Randall Munroe? An Anonymous Wit? Dear Quote investigator: A brilliant toast uses antimetabole and a pun. Here are two versions: Champagne to our real friends, and real pain to our sham friends. Pain to our sham friends, and Champagne to …

Easy Reading Is Hard Writing

Maya Angelou? Nathaniel Hawthorne? Thomas Hood? Richard Brinsley Sheridan? Charles Allston Collins? Anthony Trollope? Lord Byron? William Makepeace Thackeray? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: Writers should strive to create texts that are informative, interesting, stimulating, and readable. But one of my favorite sayings reveals that this can be a remarkably difficult task: Easy reading is damned …

Whatever You Are, Try To Be a Good One

Abraham Lincoln? William Makepeace Thackeray? Laurence Hutton? Apocryphal? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: Selecting a profession can be quite difficult, and changing your initial choice may be necessary. Yet, you should always strive for excellence. The following inspirational words are heartening: Whatever you are, be a good one. The phrase is usually attributed to Abraham Lincoln, …

Thank You for the Gift Book. I Shall Lose No Time In Reading It

Benjamin Disraeli? William Gladstone? William Makepeace Thackeray? Moses Hadas? A celebrated botanist? A Scotchman? Thomas Bailey Aldrich? Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.? Samuel Wilberforce? Max O’Rell? Dear Quote Investigator: Aspiring authors sent numerous manuscripts to the statesman and novelist Benjamin Disraeli. Reportedly, he would send back a wittily ambiguous response: Many thanks; I shall lose no …