Category: Browsing through Bartlett's

Bartlett's on habits

Bartlett's on habits
Last week was a turbulent one in my life, which was turbulent enough already. I won’t bother you with what went on; in the spirit of “Epistle to a Young Friend” by Robert Burns, I shall keep that to myself. But except for my habit of writing privately in my diary every night, the turbulence... Read more »

In praise of November... and not

In praise of November... and not
Great! It’s November! The month of staying cozy, staying home and reading… well, the cozy part’s new, and the staying home is a bit longer because of my lack of an elevator. But in general, November’s great for writers — as these in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations reminded me. My favorite poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796), wasn’t necessarily... Read more »

Google, could you do what Bartlett's did?

Google, could you do what Bartlett's did?
It’s been interesting to run across quotations from Winston Churchill’s speaking and writing when I’ve been browsing through Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. But I got thinking differently when I read a reference to Bartlett’s in Churchill’s book, “My Early Life” (Copyright 1930 by Charles Scribner’s Sons of New York, originally published by Butterworth of London). Churchill... Read more »
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'What is so rare as a day in June?' I'll check Bartlett's

'What is so rare as a day in June?' I'll check Bartlett's
James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) asked it in “An Indian-Summer Reverie” in 1846, but we may be asking it now: “And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays.” But what IS... Read more »

My cello and 'the wild joy of strumming'

My cello and 'the wild joy of strumming'
“Those who painfully and with bleeding feet have scaled the crags of mastery over musical instruments have yet their loss in this — that the wild joy of strumming has become a vanished sense.” — Kenneth Grahame (1959-1932) in “The Golden Age. A Harvesting” Kenneth Grahame, whose biggest fame still comes from his book “The... Read more »

I miss you, Winston: Churchill quotations in Bartlett's

I miss you, Winston: Churchill quotations in Bartlett's
After reading two large biographies of Winston Churchill — “The Last Lion: Alone, 1932-1940” by William Manchester and “The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965” by William Manchester and Paul Reid, I may recall this summer most as my summer with Winston. He was such a vivid, fascinating speaker that his biographers are spoiled... Read more »
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The serious or the smirk: Charles Dickens in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

The serious or the smirk: Charles Dickens in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
Today I return to an old category, Browsing through Bartlett’s. For those who aren’t yet familiar with such posts, let me explain that my 1955 edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is a frequent source of joy when I’m looking for inspiration about words. As I developed the idea for this category, I decided on three... Read more »

'The Adventure of the Missing Quotations' (or what Doyle wrote and Bartlett ignored)

'The Adventure of the Missing Quotations' (or what Doyle wrote and Bartlett ignored)
In the course of reading “Arthur and Sherlock,”  I found myself trying to use Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to find the names of stories for particular incidents and quotations in the Sherlock Holmes stories I love. But while “You know my methods” and nine other gems are in my copy of Bartlett’s, many of my favorites are... Read more »

Thirty days hath -- November, sayeth Bartlett's

Thirty days hath -- November, sayeth Bartlett's
I went browsing in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to find some about September. I found only one, but with some interesting variations. When the index of Bartlett’s read “September, thirty days hath,” I thought I’d find the rhyme I’d known since childhood for figuring the lengths of months. But here’s what I found, attributed to Richard... Read more »
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Fresh things to say (but not sing!) about 'Stormy Weather'

Fresh things to say (but not sing!) about 'Stormy Weather'
When I saw last night’s stormy weather forecasts, I nearly broke out into a song about them. (Don’t know whyyyy I didn’t. That’s a hint.) But I didn’t sing. I wanted something different to say about stormy weather, so I did what comes naturally when I want a great quotation: I went browsing through Bartlett’s... Read more »