[Ads-l] 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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 30 15:42:42 EDT 2017


> On Aug 30, 2017, at 3:31 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Wonderful, Peter; thanks.  I suspect that the 1901 statement and the
> 1919 statement found by Bill are part of the same family. The "great
> English player" in the 1919 citation was probably a reference to Madge
> Kendal.
> 
> Here is an instance of the 1901 statement that appeared a month
> earlier in England. I will update the entry and acknowledge you.
> 
> [ref] 1901 June 14, The Citizen (Gloucester Citizen), The Passing
> Hour, Quote Page 3, Column 6, County: Gloucestershire, England.
> (British Newspaper Archive)[/ref]
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> Speaking at a meeting, on Thursday, in connection with the Girls'
> Friendly Society, Mrs. Kendal enumerated the chief qualifications
> requisite for success on the stage as the face of a goddess, the
> strength of a lion, the figure of a Venus, 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.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Garson

Presumably one with the face of an antelope, the strength of a dove, the voice of a swan, the skin of an angel, the temper of Venus, and the agility and grace of a rhinoceros would be advised to go in for a different line of work.

LH
> 
> On Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 2:37 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> 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).
>> 
>> 
>> ________________________________
>> 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
>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>> Subject: Quote: The face of Venus, the figure of Juno, the brains of Minerva, the memory of Macaulay… the hide of a rhinoceros
>> 
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> 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
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>> 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
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
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> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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