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Modern Eloquence, Vol. 10

Modern Eloquence, Vol. 10

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Excerpt from Modern Eloquence, Vol. 10: Anecdotes, Indices

The originals are not original. Nowhere is this remark more applicable than in the realms of anecdote and jest, as is abundantly shown by Emerson in Quotation and Original ity, by Phillips in his Lost Arts, and by many another.

In the selection of these Anecdotes and Illustrations the compilers have followed the principle recognized by scholars in all departments who have gleaned for their contemporaries from the field of time the world's best thought and speech. This principle was notably adopted by Bacon, who tells us that in making his Collection of Apothegms, New and Old, he fanned (winnowed) the old, omitted none because they were vulgar (familiar), for many vulgar ones are excellent good, and added many new that otherwise would have died.

Lincoln, our prince of humorists, once said to Noah Brooks, I remember a good story when I hear it, but I never invented anything original: I am. Only a retail dealer. But in Lincoln's case the world sees, if he did not, that how ever much a borrower he may have been, his root of humor was in himself. For those who, having use for wit and humor, must yet, like the victim of Sheridan's retort, be in debted to their memory for their jests, this volume may well become a daily companion.

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