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Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

July-August 2018

Sarah Jaquay recalls her parents joking about a quip made during the lengthy negotiations in Paris to end the Vietnam War. The delegates quibbled about everything from the shape of the table to the refreshments, and a humorist suggested that if the talks were being held in Akron (or some other Ohio city), the war would end quickly. (“Perhaps a savvy diplomat remembered this quote,” she adds, “because the Dayton Accords—negotiated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base—ended the war in Bosnia much more expeditiously.”) She asks if anyone can identify the humorist (possibly Art Buchwald), and specify what was said.

Ken Agran seeks the source of “She burned too bright [or “brightly”] for this world.” Online searches suggest Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights—the sentence, he reports, is sometimes linked to another, “She was a wild, wicked slip of a girl…,” from that novel’s fifth chapter—but a keyword search fails to find the “burned too bright…” description anywhere in the full text.

Le Corbusier on “democracy” (May-June). Dan Rosenberg cites “Corbu,” a Sky Line article by Brendan Gill in the May 9, 1988, New Yorker, that includes “an extremely (perhaps implausibly) long quotation” from the architect and occasional Corbusier collaborator Max Abramovitz ending: “In so many ways, Corbu was all but impossible to deal with, but at least he had a sense of humor. I remember his saying to me once, in French, ‘Ah, yes, democracy is a fine thing as long as you have a dictator at the top!’” Rosenberg adds, “But we should keep in mind that in the segue from ‘sense of humor,’ Abramovitz was signaling that Corbusier might have said this at least partly tongue-in-cheek.”

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