Every day, often on multiple occasions, individuals repeat phrases or a sentence attributable to persons, historic or contemporary, of renown or repute. This fame or notoriety, gained through the recognition of specific pronouncements, books, plays, speeches…whether great and good, minor but memorable, or even criminal and indelibly etched into the fabric of our lives, has imbued their words with an immortality often compressed and mingled into the moments that comprise our daily lives. ‘And so it goes’…we repeat these quotations without thought as to their origin, ‘images of the collective unconscious’, as if they are our own. But they are not, any more than the two preceding phrases are mine. They are indeed quotes from Kurt Vonnegut and Carl Jung, and along with some 12,000 others, comprise a weighty and worthy collection researched and edited by Fred R. Shapiro. Mr. Shapiro, who has been at the Yale Law Library for two decades, graduated from Yale Law School and received a Master’s in Library Science from The Catholic University of America. He is thoroughly dedicated to expertly sourcing, annotating, indexing and providing context to historical quotations.
If you are fortunate, the quotes within the pages of his book will give you pause, and make you appreciate the subtle yet incontrovertable way in which so many of us are connected through words, thoughts, and phrases. If you take a quick break from the busy flow of thoughts and actions that otherwise encompass your day, you may repeat that phrase you just said, again, albeit under your breath, and then mutter, I wonder who said that…first? That being the case, you may find yourself reaching for The Yale Book of Quotations, and this act will be rewarded with an ‘ah hah’ moment that will both enlighten and satisfy.
|The Yale Book of Quotations
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