Quote: One should try anything once except incest and folk-dancing (1935)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 25 20:08:01 UTC 2013

The Yale Book of Quotations and The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs each
have an entry for the saying in the subject line. The first cite is a
1943 autobiography by Arnold Bax. This citation appears in several
other references.

I was asked about a variant: "Try everything once except Morris
dancing and incest." The 1943 cite actually mentioned Morris dancing
in the larger context of the quotation.

Here is a cite in 1935. Perhaps the composer mentioned was Bax:

[ref] 1935 August 30, The Spectator (UK), Try Anything Twice by Jan
Struther, Quote Page 320, Column 1, (SPEC Page 12), London, England.
(Online Spectator Archive; accessed archive.spectator.co.uk on
November 24, 2013) link [/ref]


[Begin excerpt]
And that is the theory, often advanced by the unlikeliest-looking
people, that one should try anything once. ("Except," as one of our
younger composers has immortally remarked, "incest and folk-dancing.")

This theory has been the cause of much delight, many disappointments
and not a few disasters.
[End excerpt]


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

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