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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable, authoritative, probably the "best"
Comparing this, the 17th edition of the best known and arguably the most authoritative collection of quotations ("familiar," memorable, or just plain quotable--you choose the terminology), to its predecessor the 16th edition, the question arises, should you upgrade? I own both books and have examined them in some detail. I have used the 16th for many years.
The...
Published on 7 Oct 2003 by Dennis Littrell

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as useful as I'd hoped...
Er, OK, I'm going to go against the grain here as say I'm a little disappointed with my Bartlett's Book of Quotations.

I can't knock the book itself, per se. It's well presented and easy to navigate etc. And also full of interesting, wise and funny quotes.

My only gripe is that, as a working writer, I bought this book to help inspire ideas and find...
Published on 19 Jan 2011 by The Truth


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable, authoritative, probably the "best", 7 Oct 2003
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: 17th edition (Hardcover)
Comparing this, the 17th edition of the best known and arguably the most authoritative collection of quotations ("familiar," memorable, or just plain quotable--you choose the terminology), to its predecessor the 16th edition, the question arises, should you upgrade? I own both books and have examined them in some detail. I have used the 16th for many years.
The 17th is set in a new typeface which is both slightly narrower and less bold than that of the 16th. The result is a cleaner look to the pages and more white space. The difference in the number of pages--1431 for the new, 1405 for the old--is slight, and a little misleading. In fact the new addition has more entries--"around one hundred" authors are quoted for the first time, and some authors have additional entries. But the text in the 17th actually takes up less room. Its Index, for example, although it has more entries, has only 564 pages to 608 for the 16th. This is accomplished mainly because the narrower type is also shorter, allowing more entries per column.
The question then is, is the smaller type harder to read? Surprisingly, I would say no. The new type is sharper, crisper and, because the pages have a cleaner appearance, is easier on the eyes. I have a strong suspicion that the publishers--whose investment in this most famous and most important reference work is considerable--tested the readability of their new type before adopting it!
Some additional space, according to editor Justin Kaplan, has been gained by the elimination of "several hundred purely mechanical and nonsubstantive cross-references." For example in the 16th on page 247 is given this quotation from Fredrich von Logau: "Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small." A footnote at the bottom of the column refers us to Euripides and George Herbert who wrote something similar. In the 17th that footnote is gone and we have no handy reference to the two earlier instances of von Logau's expression. I think this is a clear loss and not something simply "mechanical and nonsubstantive" as editor Justin Kaplan has it in his Preface to the Seventeenth Edition. (p. viii)
Okay, what about the new authors being quoted and the additional quotations by authors already present in the 16th addition? Do they constitute a significant upgrade?
This is a question difficult to answer partly because only time will tell if the new additions--many of them are so new--will really remain worth remembering. Bill Clinton's rather infamous "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" surely will be around for a while, but film director Cameron Crowe's "Show me the money!" from his film Jerry Maguire (1997) may not seem so memorable or familiar a generation or two down the road. (Or maybe I have that backwards!) A quick way to address the question of whether the new quotations are worthwhile is to look at the last pages of entries just before the Anonymous section. Because Bartlett's presents its quotations chronologically, from the earliest (the first quote is from the Egyptian The Song of the Harper 2650 B.C.) to the latest (Sesame Street's Kermit the Frog's "It ain't easy bein' green") most of the new entries are near the back. By the way, technically speaking, Kermit the Frog's dictum is older than Cameron Crowe's movie. But that is a quibble.
Of course there are additions that are not from new authors. French mathematician, Pierre de Fermat, who does not appear in the 16th, appears here in the 17th, noting that his "truly marvellous" proof for his famous Last Theorem, will not fit into "this margin." Fermat was rediscovered by Bartlett's no doubt because in 1994 Andrew Wiles finally proved the theorem--taking considerably more than a margin to do it, by the way.
Some other authors appearing for the first time are Mother Teresa, Richard Feynman, Margaret Atwood, Princes Diana, etc. Vladimir Nabokov, Edith Wharton, Gertrude Stein and W. Somerset Maugham are among about two dozen who have had their space extended. Kaplan doesn't mention it, but there are also some deletions from the previous edition. I was particularly disappointed to find that one of the central tenets of the Vedas, from the Chandogya Upanishad, "Thou art that" was eliminated.
Also eliminated (and I think this is to the good) are the Ibid's that sometimes ran all the way down the page in the 16th. Now the title of the work is repeated.
If you don't have this reference, you really should get it or the comparable Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. See my review of that very excellent book for a comparison. Suffice it to say here, if you are an American who prefers a slight emphasis on American authors to an emphasis on English authors, you'll want to get this book.
Bottom line: no serious writer (especially of literature, culture and history) should be without this invaluable and authoritative book. Next to a dictionary it is my most consulted work of reference.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars by far the best, 7 Oct 2006
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happy camper (manchester, uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: 17th edition (Hardcover)
Over the years I have built a collection of quotations books, and suffice it to say that Bartlett's is by far the most interesting, most comprehensive and easiest to navigate of all the competition. The navigability is a very important feature, and has been significantly improved upon previous editions. This is a critically important feature when you're trolling through nearly 1500 pages of text. The index will direct you to the exact line on the page for the quote you seek, and is organised by keyword and by author. Bartlett's makes for compulsive reading, and will render you an instant know-it-all!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World's Best Philosophical Handbook, 31 July 2009
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This review is from: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: 17th edition (Hardcover)
I bought my first "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations" when I was at university in 1950. Now I have the latest updated edition. I can't live without it! It is the greatest source of quotations from the ancient Greeks to the present personalities. It's what the most learned persons over the centuries have had to say about almost everything. It is a source to help you form your own life's philosophy based on what the philsophers, authors, statesmen, politicians, poets, persons in all walks of life, have had to say about themselves and the world we live in past and present!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as useful as I'd hoped..., 19 Jan 2011
By 
The Truth "How it is" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: 17th edition (Hardcover)
Er, OK, I'm going to go against the grain here as say I'm a little disappointed with my Bartlett's Book of Quotations.

I can't knock the book itself, per se. It's well presented and easy to navigate etc. And also full of interesting, wise and funny quotes.

My only gripe is that, as a working writer, I bought this book to help inspire ideas and find quotes that I could use in my work as an advertiser. Sadly, I found that the bulk of the quotes in here are ancient and written in 'Ye Olde English', a lot of which are just poetry.

For me, the book seriously lacks more modern, up to date quotes and sound bites to make it useful for what I wanted. However, this is just my personal opinion and it may be perfect for you - depending on the task you have in mind for it.

Certainly if you just want to pass the time perusing some interesting thoughts and quotes - knock yourself out - it'll be perfect. And the book is probably an interesting and useful addition to any bookshelf, I'm sure.

It's just I had a specific task in mind for this when I bought it I guess, and I haven't found a use for it yet - sadly it just sits on the shelf gathering dust.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is indispensable for writing, 13 May 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: 17th edition (Hardcover)
I like this book and look for odd sayings to spring on people at work. The index is just large enough to find things that you were not looking for. Nothing punches up a memo better than a relevant quote.

However if you are of limited funds you need to look at Bartlett's Roget's Thesaurus ISBN: 0316101389, first. There are not as many good quotes but the combination of Bartlett and Roget's is better by far than either one alone.

Bartlett's Roget's Thesaurus
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Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: 17th edition
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: 17th edition by John Bartlett (Hardcover - 7 Nov 2002)
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