“Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.”

In the 1920s, Sinclair Lewis became one of the most successful writers in America. During that decade he penned a series of five hugely popular novels: Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry and Dodsworth. In 1930, Lewis became the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature by the Swedish Academy that … Read more

Sherlock Holmes quotes that Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock did and didn’t say…

Naturally, some of the best known Sherlock Holmes quotations and catchphrases come from the classic detective stories written by Sherlock’s creator, British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930).     For example, there’s the famed sleuthing maxim that’s cited by thousands of quotation books and websites: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must … Read more

“At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”

You may not recall the name Eric Blair, but you’re almost certainly aware of his pen name, George Orwell. His novels Animal Farm and 1984 have sold tens of millions of copies—more than any other two books by any other 20th century author. Those novels also embedded a number of famous quotations into our language. … Read more

“The rich are different”… The legendary “exchange” between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway…

  If you’re a quotation buff, you’ve probably heard of a legendary exchange about “rich people” that supposedly took place between the American novelists F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) and Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). Fitzgerald is usually quoted as saying either “The rich are different from you and me” or “The rich are different from us.” Hemingway … Read more

The awful origin of “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

On March 7, 1839 the play Richelieu: or, the Conspiracy, by the British politician and author, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, premiered at the Covent Garden Theatre in London. Few people today have heard of this play. But everyone knows one of the lines in it: “The pen is mightier than the sword.” The basic meaning of … Read more

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

I’m a big fan of the Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel The Godfather and the movie that was made from it in 1972. I am also a big fan of vintage men’s adventure magazines. In fact, I write a blog about them (MensPulpMags.com). I also co-edit anthologies of classic men’s adventure magazine stories for the Men’s … Read more

10 famous quotes and phrases linked to the date January 10

1. and 2. “The die is cast.” and “cross the Rubicon” “The die is cast” was Julius Caesar’s famous remark on January 10, 49 B.C. as he led his troops across the Rubicon River to start a civil war for control of the Roman Empire. This event also led to the idiom “to cross the … Read more

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…”

Three years after Jack Kerouac coined the term “The Beat Generation” a group of Beat poets gathered at the Six Gallery on Fillmore Street in San Francisco for a poetry reading. The date was October 7, 1955 and Kerouac was there. So were local Beat celebrities Gary Snyder, Phil Lamantia, Michael McClure and a then … Read more

“Prose = words in their best order; — poetry = the best words in the best order.”

Most of the best-known quotes by the British poet and critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge come from his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) and Kubla Khan (1816). But one of his most famous quotations is not something he wrote. It’s a remark he made in a conversation that was jotted down by his … Read more

“England’s green and pleasant land”

If you’re not British, you may only be vaguely aware of the song “Jerusalem.” But the tune and lyrics are very familiar to the people of England. It is England’s unofficial national anthem, like “God Bless America” is in the United States. Some Brits have urged that “Jerusalem” be made the official national anthem of … Read more