The Art of "Quotemanship" and "Misquotemanship"

Quoting people accurately is really hard — and you can quote me on that.

A Twisted Quote from Antony and Cleopatra

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So-called “intentional quotes” keep bubbling up. Does it work? You decide.
Here’s the beginning to a folksy column by Joe Phillips that was published in today’s Catoosa County News of Ringgold, Georgia.

My dependable wrist watch is dying, slowly dying, to misquote Mark Anthony in Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra.

A couple of things. First, he spelled the name Antony wrong in the character’s name and in the title of Shakespeare’s play.
Second, here’s what Shakespeare had Antony say:

“I am dying, Egypt, dying….”

It’s a fine quote. It’s a fine literary reference. But the intentional misquote still, to me, seems too obscure. This struck me as too much of a stretch. It’s a cute column, but why use the quote at all, replacing “Egypt” with “slowly”? Any connection between Antony and the columnist’s watch other than the fact that they are dying?
That said, I’d like people to know that, to misquote Antony and Cleopatra, I love some intentional misquotations more than figs.*
(*NOTE: The original from the tragedy is “I love long life better than figs.”)

One Comment

  1. Great quotes. love them

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