[Ads-l] “Set the world on fire”?

MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Tue Aug 1 12:29:09 EDT 2017


The earliest I can find "quote magnet" in print is in a 2006 newspaper article by Cristina Rouvalis on the occasion of the release of Ralph Keyes's book _The Quote Verifier_.  But using Google Books and Amazon to search Keyes's book does not reveal the presence of the word "magnet".  Nor can I find it in Nigel Rees's 2006 book "Brewer's Famous Quotations"  (although this does not rule out his having used it on the air in his BBC radio show).

_Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_ 11 Jun 2006 p e-9 col 3
"Some famous dead people, especially Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, are quote magnets."


A 1999 exchange in alt.urban.folklore includes the phrase, but the sentence structure is so stilted that I'm not confident in what is being said:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!original/alt.folklore.urban/0okSPO99uQE/BTYZaFLkBTEJ
">It's interesting seeing mutation and reattribution in action (I like
>'the magnet effect') - especially when you consider that there's no
>way to re-establish a canonical True Version of the quote.

I believe that Stephen Fry suggested that British weatherman Ian McAskill be
the Oscar Wilde of the late twentieth century, granting him the quote
magnet.  "


Fred, even if you didn't coin "quote magnet", I think we all can agree that you are the quote magnate.

> 
> I like the idea of everybody paying homage to me, but I'm pretty sure that the writer's claim that I coined the term "quote magnet" is
> wrong.  It was probably used by Ralph Keyes or Nigel Rees.
> 
> 
> Fred Shapiro
> 
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Monday, July 31, 2017 11:27 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: “Set the world on fire”?
> 
> Sorry, St. Ignatius [of Loyola] never said that (or these other famous Jesuit quotes)
> 
> goo.gl/jVfJLM
> 
> Not especially interesting, though the author does - as should we all - pay
> homage* to Fred.
> 
> *As is the the case with "spade" and "shovel," the distinction between "homage" and "hommage" has also pretty much disappeared.
> 
> --

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