[Ads-l] Quote: The face of Venus, the figure of Juno, the brains of Minerva, the memory of Macaulay=?Windows-1252?Q?=85_?=the hide of a rhinoceros

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 30 14:37:00 EDT 2017


Dame Kendal used a variant of the expression years earlier:


Mrs. Kendal, in a speech in England recently, remarked that to succeed an actress must have "the face of a godess, the strength of a lion, the voice of a dove, the temper of an angel, the grace of a swan, the agility of an antelope, and the skin of a rhinoceros."  An ungallant writer in this connection asks: "But has not Mrs. Kendal succeeded?"


The Times (Richmond, Virginia), July 14, 1901, page 9 (Chronicling America).


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From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:13:11 AM
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Subject: Quote: The face of Venus, the figure of Juno, the brains of Minerva, the memory of Macaulay… the hide of a rhinoceros

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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Quote: The face of Venus, the figure of Juno, the brains of
              Minerva, the memory of Macaulay=?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=A6_?=the hide of
              a rhinoceros
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The items listed in the subject line are the requirements for a
successful theater actress. The Concise Columbia Dictionary of
Quotations (1989), The Filmgoer's Book of Quotes (1974), The New York
Public Library Book of Twentieth-Century American Quotations (1992)
and other references attribute the remark to Ethel Barrymore. But
Nigel Rees's reference The Best Guide to Humorous Quotations (2011)
cites a 1933 autobiography by Dame Madge Kendal.

The Quote Investigator website now has an entry that agrees with Rees.
https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/08/29/rhino/

In 1933 Kendal published her autobiography "Dame Madge Kendal, By
Herself". I have not yet seen the autobiography directly, but the key
passage was reprinted in a review in "The Leeds Mercury" in England:

[ref] 1933 October 31, The Leeds Mercury, Dame Madge Kendal: How She
Chose Her Epitaph, Quote Page 6, Column 4, County: West Yorkshire,
England. (British Newspaper Archive)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
She sums up the qualifications of a young woman for a successful
career on the stage as "The face of Venus, the figure of Juno, the
brains of Minerva, the memory of Macaulay, the chastity of Diana, the
grace of Terpsichore, but, above and beyond all, the hide of a
rhinoceros."
[End excerpt]

The QI entry lists various precursors.
Feedback welcome, Garson

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