34 votes
Accepted

Origins of quote: "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup."

This looks like a spoof of the quote from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien: Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger. It comes from The Fellowship of ...
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24 votes

What is the source of "You can achieve a lot with hate, but even more with love" (Shakespeare?)

This is from Émile Montégut’s translation of Romeo and Juliet: Roméo. — Hélas! pourquoi faut-il que l’amour, dont la vue est toujours couverte d’un bandeau, puisse sans yeux trouver le chemin qui ...
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23 votes
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Where does this Federico Garcia Lorca quote come from? Is it a fake?

This is a quote from an interview he gave in 1931. Traigo preparados cuatro libros. De teatro. De poesía. Y de impresiones neoyorkinas, el que puede titularse : la ciudad, interpretación personal, ...
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22 votes
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No mayonnaise in Ireland?

The phrase comes from a story by humorist Will Stanton that appeared in the May 1971 issue of Reader's Digest. The narrator claims that he is subject to "a kind of slip-of-the-ear," leading ...
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20 votes

Origin of “Good books are the warehouses of ideas”, attributed to H. G. Wells on commemorative £2 coin?

TL;DR: It’s a typographical error: for “ideas” read “ideals”! “Ideals!” said my uncle; “certainly Ideals. Of course one must have ideals, else life would be bare materialism. Bare fact alone, naked ...
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15 votes
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What is the source of "You can achieve a lot with hate, but even more with love" (Shakespeare?)

Since you say the quote isn't exact, the best I can remember is the following from Romeo and Juliet (emphasis mine): Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see ...
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15 votes

"There are three sorts of people: those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea." Did Aristotle really say this?

I found a French version of the quote on histoire-genealogie.com, where it was attributed to Plato: « Il y a trois sortes d’hommes : les vivants, les morts, et ceux qui vont en mer » (Platon : ...
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14 votes

Who first said this quote about how we only sleep safely because "rough men stand ready" to fight on our behalf?

Actually? Neither. In conclusion, QI believes that this saying was introduced by Richard Grenier who was attempting to provide a pithy representation of an idea he ascribed to George Orwell. ...
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  • 5,556
14 votes
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Is the opening quote in Michael Crichton’s “Airframe” real or fictional?

It’s a fabrication. Rather than trying to verify the existence (or not) of John Lawton, the simpler route is to try to verify the existence (or not) of The American Association of Broadcast ...
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  • 2,420
13 votes
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Did Stevenson really claim to have been inspired by brownies?

Yep. Stevenson writes in his A Chapter on Dreams, which you can see a book scan at that link, and a text version at Project Gutenburg: Well, as regards the dreamer, I can answer that, for he is no ...
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12 votes
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Source of quote: "Speaking the truth that somebody wants you not to publish is journalism. Everything else is marketing."

This quote has a long history and its true origins are obscure. I began my investigation of this question by doing a web search for quote speaking truth wants publish journalism marketing. In the ...
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12 votes
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Does this quote belong to Goethe?

TL;DR: The quote comes from a 1917 work by William James. James says Goethe wrote it in 1824, but in fact it was first published in 1836 (in German) by Johann Eckermann, as part of Eckermann's ...
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11 votes
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What is the source of the quote "Robust grass endures mighty winds..."?

I have read all of Shakespeare's works and the quote does not even sound like a Shakespeare quote. Most of Shakespeare's works are written in a type of verse known as iambic pentameter and the quote ...
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11 votes

"It might be for years, and it might be for ever," - What is the original novel this quote appeared in?

Searching for your quoted phrase online brings up a number of results all of which place the words inside inverted commas, suggesting they are all quoting something, as you surmised. Among the results ...
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11 votes
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Identify Source of Quote on Running Out of Breath and Commas

Looks like you're thinking of Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge (1865), which is available on Wikisource: "And did the saint do it?" asked Gretel, delighted, well ...
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10 votes
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Where do I find Edmund Wilson's quote "No two persons ever read the same book?"

The quote is likely to be a slight variation of the following: In a sense, one can never read the book that the author originally wrote, and one can never read the same book twice. This is from ...
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  • 1,314
10 votes

What was the exact wording from Ivanhoe of this advice on how to free yourself from slavery?

Scott made his Saxons drink ‘ale’, not ‘beer’. In doing so he was following the Saxons’ own usage: the word ‘beer’ was “rare, except in poetry, and it seems to have become common only in the 16th ...
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10 votes
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What is the origin of a common Christmas tree quotation concerning an old Babylonish fable about an evergreen tree?

The direct quotation does not originate with Walsh, and those who attribute the quotation to Walsh are misattributing and/or misquoting. The direct quotation originates with Ralph Woodrow, who ...
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  • 1,015
10 votes
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Is this François de La Rochefoucauld's quote authentic?

The version you found on the internet was translated from English back to French. The real quote, which is due either to La Rochefoucault or to the Abbé de Saint-Réal, is: Nous nous tourmentons moins ...
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  • 7,715
10 votes

Aslan as an alternative version of Jesus as the form in which he may have appeared in an alternative reality?

Already answered over here: In-universe, is Aslan actually Jesus? (my highest-voted question on the SE network). There's two explicit quotes from Lewis's letters, and one very heavy implication in the ...
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9 votes
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Looking for a quote: "It may be true that every man has his price but there is not enough gold in the world to pay mine"

The first part of the phrase, "every man has his price" is apparently a mis-quote of a remark by Robert Walpole, made in 1734, that "I know the price of every man in this house (i.e. the House of ...
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9 votes
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Where is this Greek extract from?

Hypsipyle is a lost or fragmentary play written around 410 BC by the Greek playwright Euripedes. This particular fragment might have survived from its inclusion in Book IV of Symposiacs by the Greek/...
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  • 1,660
9 votes
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What did Charles Dickens say about genius and pain?

The quotation Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains is proverbial and dates to the late 19th century, more or less around Dickens's time. However, nothing like it is found in any of his ...
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  • 15.3k
9 votes
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Original Russian text of this review of Crime and Punishment

I googled for "мудрость сердца" (the wisdom of the heart) and "достоевский" and found a book "Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky. His life and works" (comp. V. Pokrovsky), and ...
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  • 425
9 votes
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Ian McEwan's quote "No more magical realism" in Saturday

Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary […] had the virtue, at least, of representing a recognisable physical reality, which could not be said for the so-called magical realists she [Daisy] opted to study in ...
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9 votes
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From which book or essay are these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson? "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year..."

This passage is assembled (in the common fashion of inspirational texts) from bits and pieces, mostly but not entirely by Emerson. Let’s take it sentence by sentence. One of the illusions is that the ...
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  • 39.1k
9 votes

Original language of Tolstoy quote "Il ne faut écrire qu'au moment..."

The quote is known from the memoir of A.B.Goldenweiser, page 157, the last paragraph of a 1904 chapter. He refers to the private conversation. The memoir was published in Russian. Писать надо ...
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8 votes

What is the source of the quote "Robust grass endures mighty winds..."?

The quote appears to be taken from a poem by the emperor Taizong (personal name Li Shimin) of China. Wikipedia says that Emperor Taizong wrote a poem to his chancellor Xiao Yu that contains these two ...
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  • 7,715
8 votes
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What is the context and origin of this Dante quote?

The quote comes from Dante's Divine Comedy, more specifically Canto 17 in Paradiso. Dante tells Beatrice that while traversing Inferno and Purgatorio in the presence of Virgil, he had heard grievous ...
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