[Ads-l] Quote: There are really no dull subjects. There are only dull writers. (Richard Le Gallienne, April 24, 1991)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 3 15:19:15 UTC 2016

The date in the subject line was supposed to be April 24, 1921.

This follow-up gives me a chance to report on the behavior of the
ProQuest Historical Newspapers database of "The New York Times". If
you formulate a search query based on the obvious phrases with dull
subject and dull writers you will discover that the 1921 article is
not detected. The problem is probably due to poor OCR.

You can find the 1921 article by searching for its title
"Transcendental Laborite"


On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> The essential reference "The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs" has an
> entry for the following expression:
> There are no dull subjects, just dull writers (teachers, students).
> I was asked to explore this saying and its (apparently spurious)
> attribution to H. L. Mencken.
> DMP gave an excellent citation dated December 9, 1922 and traced the
> proverb back to George Horace Lorimer who was the editor of "The
> Saturday Evening Post". I have located a slightly earlier citation
> dated April 24, 1921 in a book review written by Richard Le Gallienne;
> he might be the coiner.
> There Are Really No Dull Subjects, Only Dull Writers
> http://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/03/03/dull-no/
> Garson

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

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