Derb Column At Taki's Magazine: "Quote, Unquote"
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My weekly column at TakiMag is up. In it I mull over the joys and perils of quotation.

BartlettsQuotations[1]Assuming Emerson was right about first quoters [i.e. “Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it”], I wonder no-one has compiled a dictionary of them: a sort of first-derivative dictionary of quotations, listing not the guy who said the thing, but the guy who first quoted his having said it. That would be some masterpiece of research, although with the internet now, it might be possible.

The column is off-topic for I do relish a good apt quote, though; and this morning, reading a book of essays by the late Christopher Hitchens, I came across this one on nationalism from George Bernard Shaw:

A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again. It will listen to no reformer, to no philosopher, to no preacher, until the demand of the Nationalist is granted. It will attend to no business, however vital, except the business of unification and liberation.

That was written in 1904 with Ireland in mind. (It's from the preface to Shaw's play John Bull's Other Island.) It seems a bit odd and quaint today, when our intelligentsia all believe that nationalism is wicked. There's a truth in there somewhere, though.

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