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Our Daily Bleg: Is Modern Literature Out of Compelling Quotations?

Our resident quote bleggar Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, is back with another request. If you have a bleg of your own, send it along here.

Thanks to all who posted recent advertising slogans for my last bleg. Let me belatedly acknowledge the comments of some by agreeing that, yes, television is probably the one among all the arts that has improved in the current era.

When my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, was published, Dwight Garner of The New York Times Book Review suggested in his column there that the YBQ was sparse in its coverage of literary quotations by “younger” authors (defined as those born after 1950). He invited his readers to suggest recent literary quotations, saying that he would devote the back page of the Book Review to the suggestions if there was enough of a response. Although over 400 readers responded, Garner found the contributions to be “scattered,” and not worthy of the back page.

Can Freakonomics readers do better? It may be that the material of contemporary literature is simply deficient, but let’s give it a try. I would welcome suggestions of famous or compelling quotations from literary authors born after 1950, or for simplicity’s sake, from books or short stories or plays or poems or essays published after 1980.