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Thread: Help Finding the Source of a Dickens Quote

  1. #1
    Registered User SabinaM's Avatar
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    Help Finding the Source of a Dickens Quote

    Hi, I'm wondering if anyone knows the primary source of the following quote by Charles Dickens: “An idea, like a ghost (according to the common notion of ghosts), must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.” A book from 1875 by Samuel Austin Allibone entitled Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay attributed this quote to Dickens, just as many other books and websites have done, but I've been unable to find a primary source.

    Did Dickens in fact write/say this, and if so, where? I would like to be able to uncover a primary source, if at all possible. Is Dickens actually the author of this line? And if not he, then who? I'm hoping someone here would have some additional clues.

  2. #2
    Registered User North Star's Avatar
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    This website names an earlier source at least. The Southgate is in Google Books, and does indeed include the quotation.
    "Attributed to Dickens in Many Thoughts of Many Minds by Henry Southgate, 1862"
    http://www.quotegarden.com/ghost-paranormal.html

  3. #3
    Registered User SabinaM's Avatar
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    That is a good find. So we've now traced this quote to an 1862 book by Henry Southgate (which is apparently the earliest work to have attributed this quote to Dickens), but much like the 1875 Allibone book, it gives no primary source for the quote.

    I'm beginning to doubt that Dickens ever wrote/said this.

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    Registered User mesolzhenitsy's Avatar
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    Hi sabinaM viz. my sabina M having meant of mine or rather sabina the Militant, huh? https://www.facebook.com/Sabinamcosplay/

  5. #5
    Registered User SabinaM's Avatar
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    Middle initial, actually. The username "Sabina" was taken, so I just added my middle initial to it. Probably more dull of an answer than you were expecting, I'm sure!

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