Randomness (r_ness) wrote,
Randomness
r_ness

Quick quotation question.

On August 5, 2010, Christopher Hitchens was interviewed by Anderson Cooper*. In that interview, he says of his drinking and smoking, "I rather enjoyed the feeling of burning the candle at both ends...[A]nd it gave a lovely light.”

I've seen his use of this particular phrase quoted by many in their obituaries. In very, very few places--five found by Google, just now--is the phrase attributed to Edna St. Vincent Millay.

"My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light."
- Edna St. Vincent Millay, "A Few Figs from Thistles"

It's a perfect quote for the situation, and I'm sure Hitchens knew who he was quoting.

Is this such a commonly known quote that everyone knows where it came from? Or has the "candle burning at both ends/giving a lovely light" simply become a common saying that everyone knows, so attribution is unnecessary? Or is it just that my Google-fu is awful?

(I'm a terrible judge of how common it is because my first serious girlfriend wrote her thesis on the works of Edna St. Vincent Millay.)

*First half of quote at 0:45, second half at 2:20. Transcript at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1112/16/acd.01.html. Non-embeddable video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeiS7hYbb8c
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 17 comments