[Ads-l] The man who first flung a word of abuse at his enemy instead of a spear was the founder of civilization

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 8 18:10:16 UTC 2015


Thanks to LH for his humor, and thanks to Amy West (off list) for her
translation expertise.
Garson

On Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 4:50 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: The man who first flung a word of abuse at his enemy instead
>               of a spear was the founder of civilization
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>> On Aug 5, 2015, at 4:07 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole =
> <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>=20
>> Dr. Mardy Grothe who has written a series of quotation books contacted
>> me about a saying attributed to Sigmund Freud. Here is a common modern
>> version from brainyquote:
>>=20
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the
>> founder of civilization.  - Sigmund Freud
>> [End excerpt]
>>=20
>> I found a German instance of the saying in an article by Freud
>> published in a Vienna medical journal in 1893:
>>=20
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> Aber, wie ein englischer Autor geistreich bemerkte, derjenige, welcher
>> dem Feinde statt des Pfeiles ein Schimpfwort entgegenschleuderte, war
>> der Begr=C3=BCnder der Civilisation, so ist das Wort der Ersatz f=C3=BCr=
>  die
>> That und unter Umst=C3=A4nden der einzige Ersatz (Beichte).
>> [End excerpt]
>>=20
>> Here is an English translation from the "Standard Edition" of Freud:
>>=20
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> But, as an English writer has wittily remarked, the man who first
>> flung a word of abuse at his enemy instead of a spear was the founder
>> of civilization. Thus words are substitutes for deeds, and in some
>> circumstances (e.g. in Confession) the only substitutes.
>> [End excerpt]
>>=20
>> Perhaps someone can determine the identity of the "English writer" or
>> can find an earlier instance of the saying. If you have an opinion
>> about the translation that you wish to share on-list or off-list
>> please do so.
>
> Well, there's always Disraeli, or (if any writer in English =
> automatically qualifies as an "englisher Autor") Mark Twain, if we want =
> to start with quote magnets.  Too early for Oscar Wilde, and not quite =
> cynical enough, and definitely too early for Churchill.
>
> LH
>>=20
>> Here is a link to the Quote Investigator website entry:
>> =
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__quoteinvestigator.co=
> m_2015_08_05_spear_&d=3DAwIFaQ&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB=
> 2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3DNiaKIYmran6sKudxmKkxkM4jh7sKIq652rZ-vj=
> PupJA&s=3D2lurSlR89w30c7vHKhvQabJR2JAMdSRbI32EeQjC58Q&e=3D=20
>>=20
>> Thanks
>> Garson
>>=20
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>
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