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Author Topic: Gems of the fine but now vanishing art of persiflage  (Read 697 times)
Joe Carillo
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« on: January 03, 2016, 07:42:26 PM »

Gems of the fine but now vanishing art of persiflage

Once upon a time men and women sharpened their wits rather than their swords as a defense against friend and foe. This was the fine art of lighthearted, chit-chatty mockery or frivolous bantering talk known as persiflage. Below is a vintage collection of the art form that’s now vanishing from the public sphere, displaced by cuss words or outright profanity in movies, the mass media, and the social media.



“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”John Bright

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“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”Winston Churchill

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“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”Mark Twain

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“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”Clarence Darrow

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“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”Abraham Lincoln

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“He has no enemies but is intensely disliked by his friends.”Oscar Wilde

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“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.”Moses Hadas

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“A modest little person, with much to be modest about.”Winston Churchill

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“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.”Stephen Bishop

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“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”Irvin S. Cobb

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“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.”Samuel Johnson

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“He had delusions of adequacy.”Walter Kerr

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“There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.”Jack E. Leonard


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George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill: “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play. Bring a friend . . . if you have one.”

Winston Churchill, in response: “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second . . . if there is one.”

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William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway): “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner): “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

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“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.”Thomas Brackett Reed

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“He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.”James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

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“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.”Charles, Count Talleyrand

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“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?”Mark Twain

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“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination.”Andrew Lang

—From “Persiflage: Intelligent Insults” in the alphaDictionary.com website
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 07:33:06 AM by Joe Carillo » Logged

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