Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jun 27 13:53:34 UTC 2006

At 6:10 PM -0400 6/5/06, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>In a message dated 6/5/06 5:00:36 PM, JMB at STRADLEY.COM writes:
>>      As Frost himself recognizes, it is an old saying and of
>>  incontestable accuracy where there are cows or other animals that can
>>  damage crops.
>Not only does Frost recognize the hoary quality of the aphorism, his point in
>quoting it is that it is in fact a hoary aphorism--one which his neighbor
>mouths mindlessly.
More on this in Sunday's NYT (Regional weeklies):

The New York Times
June 25, 2006 Sunday
SECTION: Section 14CN; Column 4; Connecticut Weekly Desk; Pg. 23
HEADLINE: What Robert Frost Said About Walls

To the Editor:

In ''Where the Defining Lines Run Deep'' (June 4), Akiko Busch says
of Robert Frost: '' 'Good fences make good neighbors,' the poet
assured us more than 90 years ago.'' To the contrary, in ''Mending
Wall'' Frost is deeply skeptical of that bit of folk wisdom,

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.

Vincent Donato
Mount Vernon, N.Y.

The American Dialect Society -

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