The Quotable Morse Peckham
On Literature, Life, and Beyond


"[If it is true that] authors are best understood in their own words ... what is the point of writing scholarly books? A quotation proves nothing. It merely exemplifies an interpretation already given or provides the occasion for an interpretation. A terrible amount of scholarly and critical writing, however, uses the quotation to avoid the commitment to an interpretation. Thus the greater frequency of quotations the less the scholar has been willing to engage forthrightly with the hermeneutic problem."
[Review of Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature by M. H. Abrams and Revolution and Romanticism by Howard Mumford Jones, Studies in Romanticism 13/4 (1974): 364-65]

"I have read enough of C. P. Snow not to be impressed by anything he might say."
["A Doctor of Philosophy in the Humanities?" South Atlantic Bulletin 40/1 (1975): 37]

"Almost all poetry is just badly written prose."
[Quoted in Leo Daugherty, Journal of the Third Wolf]