Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (18 November 1836 – 29 May 1911), master wordsmith, English poet, librettist, dramatist and illustrator, best known for fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with composer Sir Arthur Sullivan. Photo (1879) of W.S. Gilbert from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery Collection. (PD)
Witty Words Watch
‘His style has the desperate jauntiness of an orchestra fiddling away for dear life on a sinking ship.’
– Edmund Wilson, on Evelyn Waugh, author of Brideshead Revisited.
‘Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is
good is not original and the part that is original is not good.’
– Samuel Johnson
Saluting the screenwriters
‘Will you marry me? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first.’
– Groucho Marx, in the movie Duck Soup
‘She’s the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success,
wrong by wrong.’
– Mae West, on fellow film star, Jean Harlow
‘I have knocked everything but the knees of the chorus girls, and nature has anticipated me there.’
– Percy Hammond, theatre critic
Shakespeare is so tiring. You never get a chance to sit down unless you’re a king.
– Josephine Hull
I’ve read some of your modern free verse and wonder who set it free.
– John Barrymore
‘I can’t understand why a
person will take a year or two to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars.’
– Fred Allen