Literary quotations are the spice that writers from novelists to political speechwriters used to liven up their narrative. They are a great favorite of public speakers, essayists, editorial writers; they are seldom used by playwrights or poets – they prefer to create quotes.
The Internet has been a great boon to users of quotes. As little as 20 years ago, if you needed a quote, the handy reference was Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and if you couldn’t find what you needed there it was off to the library and a trip to the reference desk for less well-known compilations like the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Today of course if you need a quote you can pretty much just Google it. You can get brainy quotes, dumb quotes, classic quotes, inspirational quotes and military quotes and that is only the tip of the iceberg. And, by the way, it was Sigmund Freud who said: “The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.”
Even businesses have their own quotes. One insurance related quote we are fond of seems apropos for a lot of us who live out here on the Olympic Peninsula: “Fun is like life insurance; the older you get, the more it costs. “(Kin Hubbard). Which leads us to another related question, who is Kin Hubbard and why would anyone want to quote him. Hubbard was an early 20th century journalist and cartoonist who Will Rogers once described as America’s greatest humorist – high praise from a man known for his own humor. Kin was partial to political humor and got off such timely salvos as: ”Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.”
Collecting Hubbard quotes is a far cry from the sort of effort represented in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. John Bartlett was the manager of the University bookstore in Cambridge Massachusetts during the mid-19th century. He evidently had a breadth of knowledge and students would ask him about the source of quotations they remembered. He began to write these down in what was then called a “commonplace book,” sort of a personal journal that ladies and gentlemen of the times kept to jot down notes on things that were of importance to them – a bit like Facebook, but not so public. Most of the quotations that Bartlett mined were from the Bible, from great English authors and poets like Chaucer and Shakespeare and from great philosophers. He published his first book of quotations in 1855.
Today, between television and a host of news outlets there are ample opportunities to mine for quotes almost everywhere; political commentary and late-night television are particular favorites these days. The memorable quote production from even quotable celebrities like Rush Limbaugh, David Letterman or Glenn Beck don’t equal the production of historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin or Mark Twain, but the first three are still producing.
So, if you need a quote to spice up your writing it is pretty easy today to find one on virtually any subject. Just open your Internet browser and you are on your way to a wealth of quotes – humorous, serious, religious or secular. In our digital universe if someone has said something memorable on almost any subject is been captured in bits and bytes and is indexed and available through numerous search engines.
And, by the way, we have plenty of quotes here at Homer Smith Insurance. If you need a quote for your auto insurance, home insurance, life or business insurance, give us a call or visit us here on the web. We have been serving clients here on the Olympic Peninsula since 1950 and we would be delighted to serve you.