By Mary Ann Gwinn, book editor
Thanks to “The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where and When” by Ralph Keyes (St. Martin’s Press, $15.95), I may be as close as I’ll ever get to finding out who first uttered my all-time favorite quote, which is:
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Keyes writes that it’s commonly attributed to Samuel Johnson, the second-most-quoted-Englishman after Shakespeare. But it’s not original: Johnson’s chronicler-biographer, Boswell, wrote it as, “Hell is paved with good intentions.” However, “that thought was hardly original to him (Johnson), nor did he imply that it was,” writes Keyes.
Other more authentic Johnsonisms include:
“No Man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”
“I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.”