If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them
I’m back to inviting readers to submit quotations whose origins they want me to try to trace, using my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, and my more recent researches.
Barry Ritholtz asked:
“I keep hearing variations of the following as Twain: ‘History may not repeat but it rhymes.’ But I have never been able to track that back to Twain anywhere.”
Probably because Twain didn’t say it. The files of the forthcoming Yale Book of Modern Proverbs have two 1970 citations of this saying as the earliest known evidence, but nothing earlier than 1970 has been found.
“If you can’t beat them, join them.”
The Yale Book of Modern Proverbs will cite the following as its earlier example:
1902 Des Moines Homestead 13 Feb: “The father-in-law said, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’ And I believe tonight if I can’t beat the Short-horn association I will join them.”
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?