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Repeating Erroneously the Words of Another

Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations. By Garston O’Toole. Little A, New York, 2017. ISBN 978-150-393341-5. 383 pp. Softcover, $14.95.

To answer the question suggested by the title of Garson O’Toole’s book, what Hemingway didn’t say—supposedly in order to win a bet that he could write a short story only six words long—was the tearjerker “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” The pseudonymous O’Toole operates the Quote Investigator website (, which is devoted to “exploring the origins of quotations,” especially with the aid of electronic resources such as Google Books. Hemingway Didn’t Say That is, in effect, the Quote Investigator’s greatest hits in book form, except that while the website addresses a fair number of genuine quotations, the book focuses only on the bogus.

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