Terry's Reviews > The Quotable Intellectual: 1,417 Bon Mots, Ripostes, and Witticisms for Aspiring Academics, Armchair Philosophers…And Anyone Else Who Wants to Sound Really Smart

The Quotable Intellectual by Peter Archer
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's review
Jan 20, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: quotations

A worthwhile compendium, though odd. Each of the nine sections (Art, Literature, Music, etc.) has a few sub-categories ("Philosophy" has ten; most have two-to-four) so finding something relevant is a bit easier than in the most random volumes (Paper Lanterns: More Quotations from the Back Pages of The Sun). The quotes - all 1,417 - are usually accessible and worth cataloging. There's also an index of authors. Both of these features enhance the functionality of the device, as my friends in tech-design would say.

It also features some quirks I found annoying. Along with quotes, the author is described (i.e.: "Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian philosopher, is sometimes called the first modern political thinker because of his masterwork, 'The Prince'."). Only others aren't (quick: who's Norman Cousins? Max Beerbohm? On the same page as Machiabelli, with no info). No rhyme or reason that I could discern. And then every section has a few column inches of Archer's thoughts about the topic at hand, and his prose doesn't stand up so well against the more august quipsters.

And speaking of Intellectual quipsters, do Elton John, Lilly Tomlin and Elvis belong under this title? Perhaps, as they have each said some apt things. But this isn't all Schopenhauer and Balzac.

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