Category Archives: Quotes

Quotes, from a variety of sources, related to teaching and learning–somewhat more loosely defined than in other categories on Mark’s Text Terminal.

The Devil’s Dictionary: Abridgement

“Abridgement, n. A brief summary of some person’s literary work, in which those parts that tell against the convictions of the abridger are omitted for want of space.” 

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

4 Degrees of Attachment

“Secure * Anxious and Preoccupied * Avoidant and Dismissive * Disorganized

These human characteristics, which can already be assessed by the time a child is 18 months old, are based around four major observational themes: Proximity, Maintenance, Safe Haven, Secure Base, and Separation Distress. At their root they are but measures of the successful exchange of comfort, warmth, and pleasure between an infant and its parents that was first conceived by Sigmund Freud and greatly extended by the work of John Bowlby.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

The Blackboard Jungle by Evan Hunter

The Blackboard Jungle “The first novel (1954) of the US writer Evan Hunter (1926-2005), based on his personal experience. It is a somewhat sensationalized account of an American urban high school where the boys are rough, the headmaster a bully, and the teachers overworked and additionally plagued by personal problems. As a result of the book, the expression ‘blackboard jungle’ became a popular idiom for any undisciplined school of this type. The phrase itself is a variant on The Asphalt Jungle. A film version (1955), directed by Richard Brooks, is now chiefly remembered for its soundtrack, featuring ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley and the Comets.” 

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Book of Answers: Maurice Sendak’s First Book

“What was Maurice Sendak’s first book? The author/illustrator was a designer of window displays in a toy store when he was commissioned to illustrate The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Ayme in 1951. Sendak wrote and illustrated his first children’s book, Kenny’s Window, in 1956.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Lenny Bruce on Communism

“Communism is like one big phone company.”

Lenny Bruce

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Portable Curmudgeon. New York: Plume, 1992

Holy Roman Empire

Holy Roman Empire: A loose confederation of German states ruled by various royal German houses who claimed the authority of ancient Rome. The butt of generations of joking students (it was neither Holy, Roman, nor an Empire), the Holy Roman Empire lasted in name for over one thousand years (800-1806). It began when Charlemagne was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III and ended when Francis II (Francis I of Austria) abdicated. While the power of the emperor and the cohesion of the empire always existed more in theory than in practice, the Holy Roman Empire did give a certain unity to the many German states.

The first German emperor was Henry the Fowler, who was crowned in 919. Since the title was not hereditary, the emperor being elected by seven electors, the crown was held at various times by nearly all the royal German houses. The uninterrupted line of Hapsburg emperors began in 1438. The power and prestige of the Austrian Hapsburgs reflected on the empire as well. Under Maximilian I and Charles V the empire had its greatest strength. After Charles relinquished the crown in 1556, there began the steady decline that ended in 1806 with the empire’s extinction.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Book of Answers: Holden Caulfield’s Roommate

“What was the name of Holden Caulfield’s roommate in The Catcher in the Rye (1951)? Stradlater was the rich and conceited roommate.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Term of Art: Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods: Town in New Hampshire, USA, where representatives of 28 nations attended a financial conference called by Pres. Roosevelt in July 1944 to organize a system of international monetary cooperation in order to prevent financial crashes like those in the interwar period which triggered the 1930s depression. It was agreed that participants would establish a World Bank to provide credit for countries that required finance for major projects. An International Monetary Fund (IMF was also set up for the purpose of operating cash reserves available to members facing balance of payments deficits).”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Write It Right: Bet for Betted

“Bet for Betted. The verb to bet forms its preterite regularly, as do wet, wed, knit, quit, and others that are regularly misconjugated. It seems that we clip our short words more than we do our long.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Ad Hoc

“Ad Hoc (ad hok) To this matter: for this specific instance or purpose; in this case; immediate; provisional.

‘Polly’s motivating force was love; she wanted a world in which everybody else whether they liked it or not, but she set this overflowing feminine cup in motion with a thoroughly masculine arsenal of charts, graphs, quorums, task forces, ad hocs, tunnel vision, and lists.’ Florence King, When Sisterhood Was in Flower”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.