[Ads-l] Quote: All the couples were triangles and lived in squares

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 20 03:55:25 EST 2018

Recently, a student at Birkbeck, University of London told me about an
article in the “Virginia Woolf Miscellany” that uncovered a 1928
citation for the expression in the subject line. The QI article on
this topic has now been updated:


Background information: Back in September 2015 George Thompson
discussed Bloomsbury and the wordplay quotation in the subject line.
In May 2018 I mentioned that an entry on this topic was available on
the Quote Investigator website. Benjamin Barrett provided useful
information on the discussion thread.


On Sun, May 27, 2018 at 1:12 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Benjamin Barrett wrote:
> > I wasn’t sure what the squares meant. Here are some citations
> >that clarify that and confirm the sexual meaning of triangles.
> Benjamin: Thanks for your May 16th response to my message about:
> All the Couples Were Triangles and Lived in Squares
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2018/05/16/triangles/
> I have now updated the entry to include an explanation of the pun and
> added your name to the acknowledgement.
> [Begin excerpt]
> The geometric wordplay referred to the residences of the group. For
> example, Leonard and Virginia Woolf lived in London's Tavistock Square
> while Vanessa and Clive Bell lived in Gordon Square. It also referred
> to their love lives; e.g., Duncan Grant had a child with Vanessa Bell
> while she was married to Clive.
> [End excerpt]
> [Begin acknowledgement]
> Thanks to Benjamin Barrett who highlighted the residences and love
> lives of the Bloomsbury group and indicated that an explanation of the
> pun would be helpful to readers.
> [End acknowledgement]
> Garson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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