Quote: Let=?windows-1252?Q?=92s_?=all go to see Miss Hepburn and hear her run the gamut of emotions from A to B! (Jan 6, 1934)

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 27 19:38:11 UTC 2013

I have a simpler question: why is the collective form of emotions a gamut,
and how old is that connection?


On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 2:46 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:
>  =?windows-1252?Q?Quote=3A_Let=92s_all_go_to_see_Miss_Hepburn_and_
>               hear_h?=
> =?windows-1252?Q?er_run_the_gamut_of_emotions_from_A_to_B=21_=28J
>               an_6=2C_1934=29?=
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Back in July 2010 Fred asked about several quotations attributed to
> wordsmith Dorothy Parker. In August 2010 I posted to the list about a
> famous slam Parker directed at thespian Katharine Hepburn (a remark
> not included in Fred's inquiry).
> Here is an update with some questions for list members. The QI website
> has an entry with a first citation dated January 6, 1934. Also,
> sometime in 1934 Alexander Woollcott's book "While Rome Burns" was
> released, and it included an instance of the saying.
> She Runs the Gamut of Human Emotion from A to B
> http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/09/26/gamut-emotion/
> Question 1: The popular columnist O. O. Mclntyre asserted that
> Parker's joke had been used by a critic named William Winter many
> years earlier (though the wording was probably different):
> [Begin excerpt]
> A mot accredited to Dorothy Parker reported Katharine Hepburn running
> the gamut of emotion from A to B in her stage play .. . It was fresher
> when William Winter, a gentler critic, pulled it on an actress of 30
> years ago . . . Most Algonquin gags are that way.
> [End excerpt]
> If someone can find evidence of an earlier occurrence credited to
> Winter (or anybody else) that would be excellent.
> Question 2: Columnist Walter Winchell suggested that Jonathan Swift
> made the same jape:
> [Begin excerpt]
> Oh, yes - talking about tracing quips and gags - Cobb also told me
> that Dorothy Parker was accused of uttering: "She runs the gamut of
> human emotion from A to B" (Speaking of Hepburn in "The Lake"), but
> William Winter, the critic, wrote it in a notice years ago—and that
> Dean Swift said it in the seventeenth century!
> [End excerpt]
> If someone can find evidence of an earlier occurrence credited to
> Swift (or anybody else) that would be great.
> Question 3: There is a match in Google Books with a year of 1933 in
> Reader's Digest, Volume 24. If this year were accurate then this
> citation would be the earliest. But Volume 24 includes issues from
> December 1933 to June 1934, and I think that the match probably occurs
> around April 1934. This cite is interesting because it claims that
> Parker was criticizing Hepburn's performance in "Little Women" instead
> of "The Lake". Based on extracted text the section title is "Barbed
> Amenities".
> If someone accessed Reader's Digest, Volume 24 to ascertain the month
> and verify the text that would be great. Please do not greatly
> inconvenience yourself because I will probably be able to check this
> cite within a month.
> Magazine: The Reader's Digest
> Volume: 24 (Nov 1933 to Jun 1934)
> Year: 1933 or 1934
> Page 38
> (Google Books data and metadata is sometimes inaccurate)
> http://books.google.com/books?id=mSEYAQAAIAAJ&q=gamut#search_anchor
> [Begin excerpt]
> Reviewing the motion picture, Little Women, Dorothy Parker writes of
> Katherine Hepburn's acting: "She runs the gamut of emotions from A to
> B."
> [End excerpt]
> Thanks for reading,
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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