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Letters

The Quotes Queue

May-June 2011

Alongside the March-April cover story, “Quotable Harvard,” compiled by Fred Shapiro, we asked readers to forward their own candidates for this informal canon. Selections from the resulting nominations appear here; read the full roll, and contribute to the conversation, at http://harvardmag.com/quotations.

~The Editors

 

“I know I asked the bartender for more ice, but this is ridiculous….”—Attributed to John Jacob Astor IV, class of 1888, aboard the Titanic

 

“It’s not easy getting up here and saying nothing. It takes a lot of preparation.”—Barry Toiv ’77, then serving as President Bill Clinton’s deputy press secretary

 

“A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.”—Henry Adams, A.B. 1858, in The Education of Henry Adams

 

“In any battle between the literati and the philistines, the philistines invariably win.”—Harry T. Levin, professor of comparative literature, following the 1961 court ruling adverse to Grove Press, in the Boston censorship trial for having published Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer

 

“I am a professor of comparative literature, not of comparative lust.”—Harry T. Levin, testifying in the same trial, responding to the prosecutor’s question: “Professor Levin, which do you think would more excite lewd and libidinous desires in the mind of a young girl—Shakespeare’s ‘Rape of Lucrece’ or Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer?”

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