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Gelett Burgess

(30 January 1866 – 18 September 1951 / Boston, Massachusetts)

Gelett Burgess
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Frank Gelett Burgess was an artist, art critic, poet, author and humorist. An important figure in the San Francisco Bay Area literary renaissance of the 1890s, particularly through his iconoclastic little magazine, The Lark, he is best known as a writer of nonsense verse. He was the author of the popular Goops books, and he invented the blurb.

Early life

Born in Boston, Burgess was "raised among staid, conservative New England gentry". He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduating with a B.S. in 1887. After graduation, Burgess fled conservative Boston for the livelier bohemia of San Francisco, where he took a job working as a draftsman for the... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''I'm Sorry, now, I Wrote it,
    But I can Tell you Anyhow,
    I'll Kill you if you Quote it.''
    Gelett Burgess (1866-1951), U.S. poet. Ah, Yes, I Wrote the "Purple Cow," (l. 2-4). . . Norton Book of Light Verse, The. Russell Baker, ed. (1986)...
  • ''Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"—
    I'm sorry, now, I wrote it!
    But I can tell you, anyhow,
    I'll kill you if you quote it.''
    Gelett Burgess (1866-1951), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Cinq Ans Après, The Burgess Nonsense Book (1914).
  • ''I never saw a Purple Cow,
    I never hope to see one;''
    Gelett Burgess (1866-1951), U.S. poet. The Purple Cow (l. 1-2). . . Norton Book of Light Verse, The. Russell Baker, ed. (1986) W. W. Norton & Comp...
  • ''I'd rather see than be one.''
    Gelett Burgess (1866-1951), U.S. poet. The Purple Cow (l. 4). . . Norton Book of Light Verse, The. Russell Baker, ed. (1986) W. W. Norton & Compan...
  • ''To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life.''
    Gelett Burgess (1866-1951), U.S. humorist, illustrator. "The Sense of Humor," The Romance of the Commonplace (1916).
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