Re: Verifying the source of a quotation

Subject: Re: Verifying the source of a quotation
From: "Martin Page" <mpage -at- csl -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 17:33:25 +0100

Marcus Aurelius's Meditations is available in English and reasonably short.
As far as I know that's all he wote - he was rather busy defending
civilisation against the barbarians.

If you're not feeling like being edified by the ancients, ring the Classics
department of your local university or find a Classical Philosophy newsgroup
to ask.

(Thanks for the question, it's made me want to dig out my copy of
Meditiations and actually read it)

"Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net> wrote in message
news:158741 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> A couple of days ago one of the daily joke mailings included a quotation I
liked that I was unfamiliar with:
> A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than
himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces
aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man
> The attribution was to Joseph Conrad. However, based on a recent thread
(maybe it was here but I think it was in a newsgroup), I decided to verify
both the wording (suspicious of the misplaced "which") and the source, lest
it turn out that it was something being put in the mouth of a character the
author was mocking for his pomposity, à la Polonius.
> So I went to Google and found that the quote is attributed to Joseph
Conrad by some, to Henry Ward Beecher (predating Conrad considerably) by
others, to Marcus Aurelius by one source, and to "anonymous" by yet another.
Quite a selection for a passage I'd never encountered previously.
> Of course, none of these sources actually cited a work--they were all just
derivative collections of inspirational quotations.
> So, now that I've exhausted Google's sources, short of taking a course in
Latin and spending a month at the Bodleian (sp?), what's the best way to go
about tracking something like this down?
> Dick

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