A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 12, 2012
“A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep”

"A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep” is a jocular quotation that has been attributed to the poet W. H. Auden (1907-1973) since at least 1940. The quotation has appeared in many collections of quotations about college.

Another saying about sleeping through lectures is “Now I sit me down to sleep; the speaker’s dull, the subject deep.” A backronym of “class” is “Come Late And Start Sleeping.”


Wikipedia: W. H. Auden
Wystan Hugh Auden ( /ˈwɪstən ˈhjuː ˈɔːdən/; 21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.

Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 33:
W. H. Auden
English-born U.S. poet, 1907-1973
“A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.”
Quoted in The Treasury of Humorous Quotations, ed. Evan Esar and Nicolas Bentley (1951)

1 May 1940, Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, pg. 13, col. 5:
A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.—W. H. Auden.

30 May 1943, Pampa (TX) News, “Of Cabbages and Queens” by Jana Bara, pg. 7, col. 1:
A professor is one who talks in somebody else’s sleep.

Google Books
Exposition and Persuasion
By Robert Dee Brown and David Gelvin Spencer
New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts
1957
Pg. 357:
W. H. Auden is quoted as saying that “a professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.”

Google Books
W.H. Auden:
The Life of a Poet

By Charles Osborne
New York, NY: M. Evans and Co.
1995
Pg. 339:
A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Thursday, July 12, 2012 • Permalink