[Ads-l] Quote: All comedy is tragedy, if you only look deep enough into it. Thomas Hardy, April 14, 1889

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 14 17:33:54 UTC 2020

I’ve always been partial to this one, which I first learned as an undergraduate:

“Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel”
—Horace Walpole

I just confirmed the attribution on wikipedia, which provides several similar forms (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Horace_Walpole).  I prefer the asyndetic semicolon or comma version to the one with the overt “and”.  Apparently Jean de la Bruyère promoted a slightly different (French) version, with the same two observations presented in the opposite order.  I prefer Walpole’s order.  


> On Jan 14, 2020, at 1:13 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Way back in 2011 there was a thread on this mailing list about the
> saying "Tragedy plus time equals comedy". I created a QI article on
> the topic in 2013:
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/06/25/comedy-plus/
> A few months ago, a twitter user told me about the thematically
> related saying in the subject line of this message. The QI website now
> has a separate article for this Thomas Hardy quotation. I believe that
> the two quotations have different meanings:
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/01/13/comedy-deep/
> Oddly, Hardy ascribed the remark to John Ruskin. Yet, I have been
> unable to find a match in Ruskin's writings. The literary critic
> Harold Orel pointed to a precise letter by Ruskin which contains a
> discussion of comedy and tragedy, but I do not believe it contains a
> match for the quotation. Details are available in the QI article.
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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