[Ads-l] Request 01: Quote: [Dancing is] a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 8 22:15:46 EDT 2016

Great thanks to Jesse Sheidlower who accessed the PDF in Proquest.
Here are the details:

[ref] 1962 March 23, New Statesman, Late Perpendicular by George
Melly, Start Page 426, Quote Page 426, Column 3, New Statesman Ltd.,
London. (ProQuest)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
I have spent a certain amount of time lately watching people in London
dance in the various new ways. I report what went on in three very
different places where my fellow countrymen and women had come
together to give what Shaw called 'a perpendicular expression of a
horizontal desire'.
[End excerpt]

In 1970 George Melly published a book about pop culture, and he
reprinted the column containing the saying that he wrote for the
Guardian in 1962. Here are the introductory words he wrote:

[ref] 1970, Revolt into Style: The Pop Arts in Britain by George
Melly, Quote Page 66, Allen Lane: The Penguin Press, London. (Verified
with scans)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
In the spring of 1962 Karl Miller, then Literary Editor of the New
Statesman, asked me to write a piece on how people were dancing in
London, for the twist, coinciding as it did with the arrival of the
discotheque, those wombs of 'Swinging London', had sparked off a
considerable terpsichorian revival. I reprint it here because I think
it caught something of the pop atmosphere of that time. It was called
'Late Perpendicular'.
[End excerpt]

Below is the third earliest citation in 1968 which I am trying to
verify. The book is available at the University of Georgia, Main
Library 3rd floor sayeth the catalog.

Year: 1968
Title: Talking About It Helps
Author: Anthony Nayman
Publisher: Hutchinson, London
Quote Page 97
Database: Google Snippet; Data may be inaccurate

[Begin excerpt]
'Are you taking me to the dance this weekend?' she asked.
She knew every corner and cupboard in that building. This time the
venue chosen for our cool sitting-out was a tiny committee room
unfrequented by vertical expressors of horizontal desires.
[End excerpt]

In 1972 a letter published in the widely-syndicated column of Ann
Landers criticized the practice of married women dancing closely with
other men. Landers initial viewed such dancing as acceptable. However,
the feedback she received was sharply negative, and in a later column
Landers retracted her remarks.

[ref] 1972 October 27, Tucson Daily Citizen, Young, fired-up execs
could listen more by Ann Landers, Quote Page 43, Column 5, Tucson,
Arizona. (Newspapers_com)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Dear Houston: Since you obviously consider dancing a vertical
expression of a horizontal idea, it's no wonder you and your wife are
fighting about it. I see nothing evil about dancing cheek-to-cheek,
breast-to-chest or belly-to-belly.
[End excerpt]

Barry Popik has a useful entry on this topic:

“Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire”
Entry from February 01, 2013


On Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 6:48 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
> I'm only familiar with its corollary as expressed in the old joke:
> Why can't Baptists have sex standing up?
> Because it might lead to dancing.
>> Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2016 17:17:34 -0400
>> From: adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
>> Subject: Request 01: Quote: [Dancing is] a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Request 01: Quote: [Dancing is] a perpendicular expression of a
>>               horizontal desire
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> I've been asked to trace the expression in the subject line which has
>> been attributed to George Bernard Shaw. The Yale Books of Quotations
>> (and other references) point to "New Statesman" on March 23, 1962.
>> First request: I believe that the ProQuest Periodicals database has
>> this, and I would love to see the full context. Perhaps someone would
>> be willing to relay a PDF?
>> Additional background information: I've found variants in which
>> "perpendicular expression" is changed to "vertical expression" or
>> "vertical manifestation". Also, "horizontal desire" is changed to
>> "horizontal wish" or " horizontal idea".
>> Here is a fun precursor maxim printed in a London periodical in 1914:
>> [ref] 1914 April 16, The New Age: A Weekly Review of Politics,
>> Literature, and Art, Volume 14, Number 24, Some Maxims on Americans,
>> New York and Newport by Sebastian Sorrell, Quote Page 764, Column 2,
>> The New Age Press, Ltd, London. (HathiTrust Full View)[/ref]
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> The Woolworth and Singer Buildings: The perpendicular expression for
>> the horizontal growth of American fortunes.
>> [End excerpt]
>> Garson
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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