Spontaneous Combustion by G.L. Pease : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

Spontaneous Combustion by G.L. Pease

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” It’s a nice quote often incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain, and though it certainly seems like something he would write, according to researchers of these sorts of things, the earliest published version of it is actually buried in Joseph Anthony Wittreich’s 1987 tome, Feminist Milton. In it, Wittreich wrote, “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme, and every gloss by a deconstructionist need not be a loss, pushing us further into an abyss of skepticism and indeterminacy.” Another interesting thought, if a bit oblique.
In the introduction to the 1874 edition of The Gilded Age: A Tale of To-Day, however, Twain did write, “History never repeats itself, but the kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed out of the broken fragments of antique legends.” As he often did, Twain seems to have hit a nail squarely on its rhetorical head.

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Category: Fall 2018, Spontaneous combustion

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