Monday, June 27, 2011

Uh, Oh! Not Enough Research and Not Enough (Brain) Memory

Earlier this year, on the birthday of Charles Dickens, to be more precise, I posted a number of Dickens quotations that I had gathered from the Internet.  One of those was:

"There either is or is not, that’s the way things are. The colour of the day. The way it felt to be a child. The saltwater on your sunburnt legs. Sometimes the water is yellow, sometimes it’s red. But what colour it may be in memory, depends on the day. I’m not going to tell you the story the way it happened. I’m going to tell it the way I remember it." ~ (Great Expectations)

I liked the last two sentences so much that I incorporated them into my blog header, with attribution to Charles Dickens.

Today, I received a comment on that February post.  In it, the author inquired of the location (chapter) in Great Expectations containing that passage.  Since I would like to reply to the commenter, I thought I would take a few minutes to look it up. 
 
A few minutes?  Ha! I have spent the goodly part of an afternoon looking for it.  First, on the Internet, where I found the above quotation several times, each with attribution to Great Expectations.  However, when I located a treasure trove of Dickens e-books which provided phrase search capability, the quotation was not to be found; not any of it.  Searches on 'sunburnt legs', 'saltwater', 'the colour of the day', 'the way it felt to be a child', returned nada, zilch, zero, bumpkis.
 
I have the Dickens novel Great Expectations on my Kindle.  Kindle has word search capability.  Did I find any of it there?  NO.
 
Ye gods and little fishes!  What's going on?  Evidently, my blog post distributed inaccurate information. But, if not Dickens, who wrote it?
 
Further research this afternoon has, I think, answered the question. The quotation is not from the pen of Charles Dickens, but from a screen play written by Mitch Glazer which was based on Dickens' novel.  The movie, a 1998 20th Century Fox film, also is titled Great Expectations.  A list of quotes from the movie can be found here.   Guess what?
 
Kudos, Mitch Glazer. I like your words very much, but am somewhat chagrined to learn that they are not Dickensenia (did I coin a word or is there another word for what I mean?)
 
I'm off now, creating a response to the person who left the comment. 
 
Tomorrow is also a day. (If I get the urge to post more quotations, I will try to vet them first.)

7 comments:

StitchinByTheLake said...

You did a lot more searching than I would have! I would have just chalked it up to sounding like the gentleman himself and called it good. :) It's not the source that was the point really - it was the quote itself. Maybe it's because I've never had an original thought that was quoted by anyone - if I had I might be more apt to want it to be correct! :) blessings, marlene

Snap said...

Good grief!!!! :D :D :D :D

*Honest Abe said...

Don't feeeeeeel bad; it happens all the time with supposed Bible quotes. lol

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, that is so above and beyond diligence and actually you were quite close. I don't know about you but your search is why I love computers. There is so much knowledge out there at out finger tips. It is just finding the right key words. The hunt is quite fun.

rhymeswithplague said...

What the Dickens??? So your quote is not by Dickens but is from a screenplay about Dickens.

My old colleague Sandy Epstein, the 305-lb. Jew from Pompano Beach, Florida, and Burlington, Vermont, who wore a Kelly green suit every St. Patrick's Day and changed his name tag to Sanford J. O'Epstein, used to say, "If there is a difference that makes no difference, then there is no difference!"

But I salute your diligent search to get to the absolute truth. The quote actually was from Great Expectations...just not the one we were all thinking of!

Rose said...

Wherever they are from, I like them. After all is said and done, isn't that what we all do anyway?

Jinksy said...

How interesting! I must admit, the language used in the quote sounded a little too modern for Dickens, to my ears, but thank you so much for tracking the source, or I might have sent myself on a wild goose chase, reading frantically too! LOL