A to Z challenge – I is for “Imitation is the sincerest (form) of flattery”

Charles Caleb Colton (1780–1832) was a British author, clergyman and art collector.  In 1820 his book Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words : Addressed to Those who Think was published.

I came across him when given an assignment to write and deliver a speech about what is probably his most famous quote “Imitation is the sincerest (form) of flattery”.  I  do not remember all the points I made so many years ago but I do recall droning on about how revered national traditions were just a form of imitation  and  little different to a kitten creeping up on birds because its mother crept up on birds.   I imagined that I was being incisive and innovative  but I think I was flattering myself.

I particularly like three more of Colton’s quotes; they relate to books and writing.

“Next to acquiring good friends, the best acquisition is that of a good book.”

“We should have a glorious conflagration, if all who cannot put fire into their works would only consent to put their works into the fire”

“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.”

Almost 200 years on his words are still relevant;  I wish I could imitate him.

4 thoughts on “A to Z challenge – I is for “Imitation is the sincerest (form) of flattery”

    • If you have not already come across them I think you might like to read the following words by the Irish poet Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of Roscommon (c1633 -1685).

      Examine how your Humour is inclin’d,
      And which the Ruling Passion of your Mind;
      Then, seek a Poet who your way do’s bend,
      and chuse an Author as you chuse a Friend.

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