I strive for accuracy and completeness in all my work on FFT, so
the reader who wishes to study an author's thinking in depth may
easily find the original work. I also want to give credit to the
I am always working to improve FFT. Improvements include additions,
updates, and corrections. Typical additions are new quotations, or
new people in the biography list. Typical updates are adding
year-of-death to year-born/year-died information, or adding a middle
name to a biographical entry. Corrections may be simple, such as
fixing spelling or punctuation errors, or more involved, such as
adding a citation to a quotation.
Countless hours of research preceeded the latest update to
Food For Thought. I encountered the following problems
in my research:
- Out-of-context quotations
- Misattributed quotations
- Paraphrased quotations
- Bogus quotations
- Mystery quotations
I've tried to clarify out-of-context quotations by adding more of
what the author originally said or wrote.
Misattributed quotations, where found, have been corrected.
For quotations that paraphrase an author's work, I include both the
paraphrase (identified as such) and the original work. In cases
where differences stem from different translations, I include the
translator's name in the citation.
Quotations that experts consider bogus are identified as such, with
information provided for more research.
Mystery quotations bother me the most. These are quotations that
everyone knows - quotations that are used as epigrams; quoted in
essays, books, and speeches; used in email sigs; and listed in web
collections. However, they rarely or never identify the source.
Some are attributed to more than one person!
FFT still has many mystery quotations, for which I have been
unable to identify the original source, in spite of searching
original and secondary works and reputable quotation collections,
both online and in hardcopy. Ideally, FFT would include source
information for every quotation. Unfortunately, there will always
be a few for which the original source remains unknown. So, what
do I do with mystery quotations? Two possible solutions:
I hate the thought of removing any quotation that has no source
information, since the thought expressed has value, whether or not
the actual author is known. On the other hand, I hate to perpetuate
the (possible) fiction that so-and-so said such-and-such.
- Remove mystery quotations
- Identify mystery quotations as suspect
I am loath to add the notation "attributed/unverified" to each
such quotation (and wish to spare the reader the clutter), so I
have decided to invoke the following blanket caveat:
WARNING: The editor makes no guarantee that any quotation with
no citation was ever expressed by the author indicated. The
author is listed not in duty to tradition, but as the starting
point for future research.
I ask that any reader that knows the original source for any
mystery quotation share the information with me.