[Ads-l] Quote: What fresh hell can this be? (antedating Dorothy Parker - probably 1970)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 5 15:43:26 UTC 2017

Way back in July 2010 Fred Shapiro asked about a collection of remarks
attributed to Dorothy Parker. Now the Quote Investigator website has
an entry about the following saying:

What Fresh Hell Can This Be?

[Begin acknowledgement]
Great thanks to Fred R. Shapiro and Denkof Zwemmen whose inquiries led
QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Also,
thanks to discussants Jonathan Lighter and Mark Mandel.
[End acknowledgement]


On Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 4:56 AM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> The challenge is to antedate the 1988 date for the following Dorothy
> Parker quotation: What fresh hell is this?
> There is a close variant of the quotation attributed to Parker in a
> book dated 1970 by Google Books. The same book is referenced by the
> Yale Book of Quotations and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations using
> the 1970 date. I will try to check it on paper in the coming days.
> Circa 1970, You Might as Well Live: The Life and Times of Dorothy
> Parker by John Keats, GB page 124, Simon and Schuster, New York.
> (Google Books snippet view; Not verified on paper; Citation may be
> inaccurate; Worldcat agrees with date; Oxford and Yale Quotation books
> cite this book with a 1970 date)
> If the doorbell rang in her apartment, she would say, 'What fresh hell
> can this be?' — and it wasn't funny; she meant it.
> http://books.google.com/books?id=7t0EAQAAIAAJ&q=%22fresh+hell%22#search_anchor
> A similar expression is used sardonically in 1928 by famed New York
> newspaper columnist Oscar Odd McIntyre.
> 1928 June 29, Olean Times, "New York Day by Day" by O. O. McIntyre
> Olean, New York. Page 5, Column 1. (NewspaperArchive)
> There's an idea—bathtub bookracks. More entire glass building fronts.
> What's become of feather boas? Brass sign. "Pituitary Science." What
> fresh hell is that? A plump dowager without a yapping Peke.
> Plus for a limited time only a free bonus quotation:
> 1906 July 8, Anaconda Standard, News Values, Page 4 Part 2 (NArch Page
> 24), Column 2, Anaconda, Montana. (NewspaperArchive)
> But journalism proverbially is fertile in expedients and when there is
> no fresh hell to serve, it does the next best thing and dishes up some
> warmed-over hell.
> Garson

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

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