[PW] Request help with "The Fortnightly" and quotation "If fifty million people say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing"

T. F. Mills phasco at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 13 16:16:18 PST 2020



>Anatole France died in 1924, so the evidence provided by this 1937
>citation is weak, but it is the earliest attribution to Anatole France
>that I have uncovered.

Anatole France said something vaguely like that, and I would consider this at least as semantically similar as Oliver Goldsmith:

"La bêtise réussit le mieux en ce monde, les hommes d'esprit sont des sots." 
Monsieur Bergeret à Paris (1901)

Google Translate renders it: "Foolishness succeeds best in this world; men of intelligence are fools." 

Thanks to Garson and Fred, we have a very good idea how quotations got misattributed and garbled in the pre-internet age.  The 1901 Anatole France may be yet another.


T.F. Mills

 


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