About Hal’s Quotes & Notes: Selection Criteria

skip to content

Q&N introduction:
index pages
topical chains
page data

Index pages:

The quotes do not summarize the sources; many are tangential to the main points or themes. Those taken from drama and from comic strips, where dialogue is often secondary, are even more limited.

Lots of very good material does not fit this format! Writers are most often quotable when they step outside the details of a story to make more general observations. If I have a lot of quotes from a particular source, you may take that as a likely recommendation – unless accompanying notes indicate the quotes are selected for critical purposes – but if I have only a few, I might nevertheless consider it very good – just not very quotable.

When I started, I tried to limit quotes from each work to a few gems. Over time, the criteria loosened up. Stare decisis applies: including one quote can establish precedent for keeping another. Supply and demand operates as well: as I became accustomed to the ritual – and it is just that! – of transcribing, the effort expended on “just one more item” declined; my costs went down, so I selected more freely. When I started linking quotes together by topic, that also raised demand by creating suitable niches for a wider variety of material: a quote’s relationship to others became a factor.

I would be appalled if anyone claimed acquaintance with a work based on the snippets found here. My intention is to whet the appetite, not satisfy. If you like my samples from any source, I suggest reading it.

Lyrics from musical plays are usually omitted; generally, the alternative would be to transcribe entire songs. For the same reason, poems embedded in larger works are under-represented. I have occasionally excluded a telling excerpt because it might spoil a surprise for a first-time reader. Short fiction and poetry works may be missing – even when I have other excerpts from the same books – simply because they are single, indivisible gems, and copying the whole thing would be unfair to the author.

These are not hard-and-fast rules. I have trouble resisting Walt Kelly’s poems. I’ve included the opening of one short story not just because I like the writing, but also as an excuse to list its title. I’m having fun here, and rules (even my own!) can just get bent once in a while.

top of page

Background graphic copyright © 2005 by Hal Keen