Erich Kästner about Quotation

So, this is my new blog about quotation. Let’s start off with my favourite quote about quotation:

“Unser Deutschlehrer hasst Zitate”, sagte Gustav. “Er ist der Ansicht, wir sollten uns gefälligst selber etwas einfallen lassen, statt aus Büchern abzuschreiben. Das sei genauso verwerflich wie das Abschreiben vom Nachbarn.”

Erich Kästner, “Emil und die drei Zwillinge”, Achtes Kapitel

“Our German master hates quotations,” said Gustav. “He says we ought to think of what to say for ourselves, instead of copying it out of books. He says it’s just as bad as copying from our neighbour.”

Erich Kästner, “Emil and the three twins”, Chapter 8
(Translation by Cyrus Brooks)

I like this one very much, because it expresses my ambivalent feelings towards quotes in general. Sometimes I feel guilty at using other people’s thoughts. It’s like pluming myself on other people’s achievements. But on the other hand there are so many situations when a certain quote describes my current feelings or a situation as perfect as I never could express ist in my own words. So why not using a quote and showing reverence to a sage person?

What about you? What are your feelings towards quotation in general? Do you feel guilty? What means the magic of quotation to you?

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  1. Mark says:

    I like quotations. I wonder if twitter will revive the ancient art of composing epigrams and aphorisms? BTW, I also like the website aphorism dot de.

    • Dave says:

      I’m not sure if twitter influences the composing of epigrams and aphorisms in a significant way. However sure is that it has major influence on the spreading of this kind of quotes.

      What do you mean by “aphorism dot de”? There doesn’t seem to exist a site for this URL …

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