“I Often Quote Myself” (And Others): Modified Quotations in the Plays of Bernard Shaw

“I Often Quote Myself” (And Others): Modified Quotations in the Plays of Bernard Shaw Bernard Shaw was no doubt aware of the currency that certain phrases may gain over time. This is perhaps why he is the origin of so many pithy sayings that we now find in quotation dictionaries.1 At the same time, Shaw was also aware of his fame and popularity. In fact, one gets the impression that many of the things he said or wrote were created for the waiting room of posterity, even if his longevity made him "survive long in the afterglow of his own legend."2 Such self-awareness is epitomized in the now-famous quotation, "I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation." However, Shaw did quote many people other than himself. In fact, his frequent use of quotations in his plays is a common intertextual phenomenon. As Mieder and Bryan demonstrated in their compilation of Shavian proverbs,3 "it should not be surprising that Shaw uses a lot of famous quotations that have become proverbial over time."4 After all, quotations are linguistic units that belong to the paremiological universe--the realm of proverbs--within the broader framework of phraseology.5 The importance of phraseological units (whether proverbs, quotations, or idioms) cannot be overlooked, provided they are "the numerically predominant http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies Penn State University Press

“I Often Quote Myself” (And Others): Modified Quotations in the Plays of Bernard Shaw

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
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Copyright © Penn State University Press
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1529-1480
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Abstract

Bernard Shaw was no doubt aware of the currency that certain phrases may gain over time. This is perhaps why he is the origin of so many pithy sayings that we now find in quotation dictionaries.1 At the same time, Shaw was also aware of his fame and popularity. In fact, one gets the impression that many of the things he said or wrote were created for the waiting room of posterity, even if his longevity made him "survive long in the afterglow of his own legend."2 Such self-awareness is epitomized in the now-famous quotation, "I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation." However, Shaw did quote many people other than himself. In fact, his frequent use of quotations in his plays is a common intertextual phenomenon. As Mieder and Bryan demonstrated in their compilation of Shavian proverbs,3 "it should not be surprising that Shaw uses a lot of famous quotations that have become proverbial over time."4 After all, quotations are linguistic units that belong to the paremiological universe--the realm of proverbs--within the broader framework of phraseology.5 The importance of phraseological units (whether proverbs, quotations, or idioms) cannot be overlooked, provided they are "the numerically predominant

Journal

SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Sep 11, 2011

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