[Ads-l] Request help with quotation "Man is ready to die for an idea, provided that idea is not quite clear to him"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 17 13:07:26 EST 2020


The quotation in the subject line is attributed to novelist Paul
Eldridge. I received a request to examine its provenance.

My research suggests that Eldridge employed three slightly different
versions of this saying. This message contains two requests. The first
request might be satisfiable online via HathiTrust.

The earliest instance I have located appeared in a journal called
"This Quarter". The data below is based on data from Google Books
snippets; hence it may be inaccurate.

Apparently, HathiTrust has an Emergency Temporary Access Service. Some
HathiTrust partners can access the journal "This Quarter" online. For
example, when I looked at this journal via the Duke catalog it looked
like faculty and students might be able to access the journal online.

Year: 1925
Periodical: This Quarter
Volume 1, Issue 1
Editor: Edward W. Titus et al
Published in Milan, Italy; moved to Paris, France
Article Title: Cornucopiae (may be inaccurate)
Article Author: Paul Eldridge (may be inaccurate)
Quote Page 180 (may be inaccurate)
Reprint Publisher: Kraus Reprint Corporation (If you can access the
original that would be great)

[Begin excerpt]
Man is willing to die for any idea, provided that idea is not quite
clear to him.
[End excerpt]

You could help by retrieving the journal, verifying the presence of
the quotation, and determining the correct metadata which may differ
from the metadata listed above. You might be able to access it via
HathiTrust.

Scans, photos or screen captures (which you can crop) showing the
quotation and metadata would be great.

The second version of the saying employed by Paul Eldridge apparently
occurs in the short 1943 book "Horns of Glass". The quotation text
below is based on a Google Books match. The book is in "No Preview"
mode; hence, no snippets are displayed. Also, the data may be
inaccurate.

Year: 1943
Book Title: Horns of Glass
Author Paul Eldridge
Publisher: Harbinger House, New York
Quote Page 15 (may be inaccurate)

[Begin excerpt]
Man is ready to die for an idea, provided that idea is not quite clear to him.
[End excerpt]

You could help by retrieving this book, verifying the presence of the
quotation, and determining the correct metadata. In addition,
collecting supporting scans, photos, or screen shots would be helpful.

I have already verified several other citations. For example I have
verified the 1942 citation below. So I do not need help verifying it.

[ref 1942 Summer, Books Abroad: An International Quarterly, Volume 16,
Number 3, (Filler item), Quote Page 308, University of Oklahoma Press,
Norman, Oklahoma. (JSTOR) link [/ref]
https://www.jstor.org/stable/40082847

[Begin excerpt]
"Man is willing to die for an idea, provided that idea is not quite
clear to him." -- Paul Eldridge
[End excerpt]

The third version of the saying employed by Paul Eldridge appeared in
the 1965 book "Maxims for a Modern Man". I have already verified this
1965 instance with hardcopy.

Thanks,
Garson O'Toole

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


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