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Chapter and Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

January-February 2013

Peter Williams seeks help in locating a bit of light verse rhyming “elderly gentlemen” with “unornamental men,” possibly from the Saturday Review around 1960.

Ginny Schneider would like a citation for a statement “attributed since at least 1982” to Alexander Haig: “They can march [protest?] all they want, as long as they pay their taxes.”

Dan Snodderly hopes someone can identify a survey that “asked if people had participated in the following activities associated with the Sixties: attending a demonstration; having sexual intercourse before marriage; smoking marijuana; taking hard drugs (LSD, mescaline, etc.). Fewer than half the respondents had done two. Less than 5 percent had done all four.”

Stanley Liu requested a source for a remark widely attributed to Albert Camus: “Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.” C&V asked Eric Mazur, Balkanski professor of physics and of applied physics, who has used the quip himself (see “Twilight of the Lecture,” March-April 2012), for guidance. He reports: “It turns out that the quote is attributed all over the English-speaking Web to Albert Camus, and it turns out all the English-speaking sites are wrong. The quote is due to Alfred Capus, a well-known French journalist: Certains hommes parlent pendant leur sommeil. Il n’y a guère que les conférenciers pour parler pendant le sommeil des autres. I guess that the first person to refer to it in English thought that ‘Alfred Capus’ was a typo and changed it to ‘Albert Camus.’”

“You like because of” (November-December 2012). Dan Rosenberg sent in the last paragraph of William Faulkner’s essay “Mississippi,” published in Holiday magazine in 1954: “Loving all of it even while he had to hate some of it because he knows now that you dont love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults” (from William Faulkner: Essays, Speeches, and Public Letters [2004], edited by James B. Meriwether).


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