Book Corner: What They Didn't Say


There's a new book coming out that seems right up our alley and it's all about how some of the more famous one-liners are actually erroneous. Written by Oxford Dictionary of Quotations editor, Elizabeth Knowles, What They Didn't Say is due out next month from Oxford University Press.

You've heard the old "To fresh fields and pastures new"? But did you know the original lyric, from Milton's poem of 1637, "Lycidas" is actually "To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new"?

Likewise, it turns out Napoleon never pleaded, "Not tonight, Josephine." That comes from the title of a 1915 song and was later mistakenly attributed to the short Emperor.

And according to this AP article on the book:

Sherlock Holmes, for example, who is widely credited with saying: "Elementary, my dear Watson" to his sidekick, only managed "Elementary," once, in creator Arthur Conan Doyle's 1894 short story, "The Crooked Man." The full phrase was coined 21 years later by the hero of P.G. Wodehouse's "Psmith, Journalist."

Oh, and guess what"¦ Marie Antoinette never said "Let them eat cake," either. According to Wiki:

When Marie Antoinette actually heard about the bread shortage she wrote, "It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness. The king seems to understand this truth; as for myself, I know that in my whole life (even if I live for a hundred years) I shall never forget the day of the coronation."

Eh, not so quotable, is it?