[PW] ?Ten minutes in the life of a pear

John Henderson jrhenderson9 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 9 17:41:58 PDT 2018

Great. Just the information I needed. It’s the beginning of pear picking season in these parts and I’ve seen that quotation a lot, 

John Henderson
Orchardist, formerly librarian 

> On Aug 9, 2018, at 5:26 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> John Henderson wrote:
>> Famously, since the 21st Century only, Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
>> "There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect
>> to eat."
>> It does not show up in an online search of his writings. No source
>> found in a google books search has any atribution for the source of
>> the quote, and the quote does not appear at all in a search with the
>> limit by date earlier than 2001. I tried with the exact quote and key
>> words.
>> Any ideas any one of who first attributed it to him?
> Here are three pertinent citations.
> A close variant expression was ascribed to an unnamed Frenchman in
> 1913. The duration was 15 minutes instead of 10. Also, the fruit was
> described as "worth eating" instead of "perfect to eat".
> Date: October 21, 1913
> Newspaper: The Los Angeles Daily Times
> Newspaper Location: Los Angeles, California
> Article: Pears and Acorns
> Author: Harry Bowling
> Part II, Quote Page 4, Column 5
> Database: Newspapers.com
> [Begin excerpt]
> A Thought by Harry Bowling.
> A Frenchman once said that there is only fifteen minutes in the life
> of a pear when it is worth eating. The sex-charm, for the voluptuary,
> is as short as the fruit-charm of the Frenchman's pear.
> [End excerpt]
> In 1984 the saying was linked to Emerson within a biography. But the
> biographer was describing his conception of the beliefs of Emerson,
> and he was not presenting a direct quotation.
> Year: 1984
> Book Title: Ralph Waldo Emerson: Days of Encounter
> Author: John McAleer (John J. McAleer)
> Chapter 1: A Universal Man
> Quote Page 4
> Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Massachusetts
> (Verified with scans)
> [Begin excerpt]
> Sometimes, when there was a crux to resolve or an insight to be
> mastered, Emerson broke his morning work session with a stroll in the
> garden or, once he had established it, in his orchard. In autumn and
> in winter he kept pears ripening on the back of his bookshelves and,
> on occasion, might interrupt his work to reward himself with one. The
> selection was done with care since he believed there were only ten
> minutes in the life of a pear when it was perfect to eat.
> [End excerpt]
> The quotation was attributed to Emerson in a Philadelphia newspaper in
> 1994 without citation.
> Date: November 30, 1994
> Newspaper: The Philadelphia Daily News
> Newspaper Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
> Section: Good Food
> Article: (Epigram at top right of page)
> Quote Page F1
> Database: Newspapers.com
> [Begin excerpt]
> "There are only 10 minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.
> -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
> [End excerpt]
> Garson O'Toole
> QuoteInvestigator.com
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