Reference > Quotations > John Bartlett, comp. > Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. > Preface
John Bartlett, comp. (1820–1905).  Familiar Quotations, 10th ed.  1919.
Preface to the Tenth Edition
“Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations” has long since been accepted as indispensable to every scholar and to every writer; it is a book for every library and every household. Embodying years of labor and research on the part of its author, “Familiar Quotations” passed through nine editions, each enlarged, and attained a sale of three hundred thousand copies before Mr. Bartlett’s death in 1905 at the age of eighty-five. Unrevised for twenty-three years, it has still remained the best book of the kind, though a considerable body of apothegms have been knocking for admittance to its classic hall of fame.   1
In this new edition the main body of John Bartlett’s compilation, up to the beginning of the nineteenth century, has been left practically unchanged; the chief purpose of the revision has been to incorporate in the work quotations from those writers whose place in literature has been achieved since the issue of the Ninth Edition in 1891. The selections from Poe, Whittier, Longfellow, Lowell, and other “best writers of their day” have been filled out extensively, and many new authors are represented by passages which have met with the seal of popular approval and are distinctly worthy of perpetuation. In this way the book has been greatly enriched. The attempt has been made not to admit anything which John Bartlett’s impeccable judgment would have rejected. It is not always easy for Elisha to wear the mantle of Elijah; but it is Elisha’s business to carry on his predecessor’s work in the same spirit.   2
  A collection of all possible quotations which would satisfy that multitudinous race of folk who apply to the almost omniscient editors of “Notes and Queries” columns for aid in tracing the origin of some favorite quotation, half forgotten, would have to be as big as the Encyclopedia. In the Tenth Edition of “Familiar Quotations” the aim has been to maintain the high literary standard set by its predecessors, and ephemeral quotations will not be found included in its pages. The present editor hopes that a book which has given so much pleasure and proved so useful in the past may still find favor with those interested in the best things in literature.

  BOSTON, July, 1914.


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2020 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit · Free Essays · Cookie Settings