I am what I am ....

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri Apr 23 16:42:08 UTC 2010

I suppose it's not so well known that "The heart wants what it wants" appears in a letter from Emily Dickinson (1862).


---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 12:16:26 -0400
>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>)
>On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 11:28 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> At 10:15 AM -0400 4/23/10, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>>>Another one that has perhaps reached proverbial status is Woody
>>>Allen's line about l'affaire Soon-Yi, "The heart wants what it wants"
>>>(often misquoted more tautologically as "The heart wants what the
>>>heart wants"):
>> Hmmm.  Is that really *more* tautological than the original?  Maybe
>> more obviously tautological.
>Well, sure, since we're talking about repetition on the surface, for
>rhetorical effect. The impact is lessened when one side of the
>equation resorts to pronominal substitution. John Wayne wouldn't have
>sounded quite the same if he'd said, "A man's gotta do what he's gotta
>--Ben Zimmer

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