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

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 26 14:09:29 UTC 2018

I'm sure Garson can do better, but the earliest attribution I find is for
the "ample" version given below:

"A copy of the universe is not what is required of art; one of the damned
things is ample."

--Rebecca West, quoted by M. H. Abrams, _The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic
Theory and the Critical Tradition_ (Oxford, 1953), p. 100.

Paperback edition (1971):

On Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 5:27 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

> According to
> http://mindworkshop.blogspot.com/2005/11/
> 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
> http://people.duke.edu/~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.

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list