The internet is many things – informative, sociable, the world’s largest repository of cat videos.
It’s also a liar.
This will come as no surprise in the age of fake news, but it bears repeating.
Do. Not. Trust. The. Web.
Especially when it comes to quotes.
There are a great many literary figures spinning in their graves due to badly attributed quotes.
Here’s some of the worst offenders so you don’t get duped by trolls who don’t know their Shakespeare from their Shelley.
C.S.Lewis said a lot of great and wise things (there’s reason he makes my fantasy dinner party list), but he’s also one of the most misquoted authors around – so much so that someone wrote a book called The Misquotable CS Lewis which compiled the worst offenders.
Here’s a prime example:
Don’t be fooled by the pleasing font and pretty background, Lewis never said this.
He didn’t say this either:
Twain is another frequent victim of the inaccurate internet meme factory.
He never said this:
Sadly, this isn’t his either (but he’d probably have liked it):
Shakespeare’s been around a long time, so it’s somewhat inevitable that things would get twisted.
If you’re a fan of the Bard, I highly recommend checking out the Tumblr page Shakespeare Didn’t Say That! which is hours of fun.
This is one of my favourites – it doesn’t even sound like Shakespeare.
This is slightly more convincing, but still just as fake:
Orwell was a great thinker and writer. The below certainly jibes with his politics, but there’s zero evidence that he said or wrote it.
Poor Ernest. It’s not enough that he was a tortured drunk, he’s now being tossed around the internet by people who can’t be bothered to fact check.
This is pretty, but it’s not him.
If there’s one lesson to be learned from all the above, it’s that you can’t always believe your eyes.
Enjoy the memes, share them around but, if you want to honour the greats by taking their words, at least make sure that they belong to them.
(and you can do this at Quote Investigator)
Abraham Lincoln says it best: