In the January issue of The Vocabula Review

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 17 03:36:37 UTC 2004

On Fri, 16 Jan 2004, Robert Hartwell Fiske wrote:

> Quote-idian -- Joseph Epstein

I notice in the free excerpt from this article that is online Epstein
recounts: "I was signing a few books the other day after a talk I gave at
a woman's club in Chicago, when someone remarked on the weather, and a
very nice woman cited Mark Twain as saying, 'Heaven for climate, hell for
society.' I hesitated, then remarked, 'Forgive me, but Mark Twain didn't
actually say that. J. M. Barrie did.' One-upmanship isn't really my style,
and neither is correcting someone my notion of a good time."

I don't want to pay to see the rest of the article, but since it was Mark
Twain who said "heaven for climate, hell for company!", not J. M. Barrie,
I'm curious whether Epstein went on to look up this quotation and
discovered he was wrong, or whether he stuck to his error.  I am sure that
Mr.  Fiske, in the interest of maintaining high standards of precision,
will want to clarify this matter.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

More information about the Ads-l mailing list