To be fair, it’s a lot easier misquoting someone speaking than it is someone writing. Because when someone writes something down, it’s not like anyone can change it!
….Or can they? Oh, yes, they can. That’s the beauty of humanity, language, and pride. Three terribly fallible concepts of all existence. Pride is fallible. Language is definitely fallible. And let’s face it: humanity is certainly fallible.
After all, when God said don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, I think He kind of meant it. Too bad Adam and Eve started talking to a snake. Big mistake.
I Digress, Though…. Because I’m Willing to Bet God Knew They Were Going to Get a Bite!
You might’ve read a prior article to this about misquotes in history. This is about literature. Some of this will blow your mind even more than historical quotes recorded or remembered (and we all know that basic human memory is about as imperfect as rotted termite-infested wood).
The fact, though, is this: some written quotes do have to be, for lack of a better term, ‘misquoted.’ Sometimes the quote’s just too long. And when a quote is that timelessly important, a scholar or journalist or whoever can get sort of tired of writing the darn quote over and over again (especially when words do cost money. No, seriously, they do!).
Unfortunately, this means that sometimes the meaning of the quote gets a little twisted. Sometimes in a good way, and sometimes in a bad way.
But that’s the great thing about literature, isn’t it? It’s not necessarily about the intended meaning – but rather what we get out of it, however wrong our meaning of what we read is wrong.
Whether we got it wrong or not shouldn’t matter, right? Because most of these literary geniuses are dead anyway. They’re not going to turn into zombies and come for us to eat our brains just because we’ve misquoted them. Maybe.
So, in a nutshell, it’s important to know that misquotes are a must in literature. But just in case you’re scared of zombies, you’re going to learn firsthand why these misquotes – as well the correct quotes – are what they are.
And who knows – for understanding the truth, you may come out a better literary hypnotist than any of them combined.
We’re going to start with….