[Ads-l] "... there's just one of them"

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Jul 26 09:27:20 UTC 2018

According to


We ended the workshop by considering the question: Who is Rebecca West? She is credited with the irritated response to the "mind as a mirror of nature" that "one of the damn things is enough" (p. 74).

The quote that "one of the damn things is enough" also appears on p. 3 of Goodman's Languages of Art, but as a part of the phrase: "Art is not a copy of the real world. One of the damn things is enough". Goodman says in a footnote that the phrase appears in an "essay on Virginia Woolf" but that he has "been unable to locate the source".

Rebecca West was an English critic<http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/rwest.htm>. I think Brandom has managed to track down the source of Goodman's quote. But searching the web, I only find the less elegant quote "A copy of the universe is not what is required of art; one of the damned things is ample" attributed to West.

As far as I can tell, none of the quotes attributed to Rebecca West makes any claims about the "mind as a mirror of nature" as Brandom claims--she's talking about art.

<http://mindworkshop.blogspot.com/2005/11/>S. Goranson


From: American Dialect Society <...> on behalf of GEOFFREY NUNBERG <nunbergg at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2018 1:41 AM
To: ...
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] "... there's just one of them"

Puts me in mind of the remark that Chomsky attributes to Rebecca West, who, asked about possible worlds, replied, “One of the damn thing is enough.” Hard to say which is more implausible, Rebecca West being asked about possible worlds, or her having an opinion on the matter. (Chomsky’s citing her would come  in there somewhere, if it hadn’t actually happened.) But somebody surely said it. If it hasn’t already been done, some quote sleuth might want to  track this one down.



Geoffrey Nunberg
School of Information
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley CA 94720

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

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