“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 ( /?w?st?n ?hju? ???d?n/; 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.
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
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.
Exposition and Persuasion
By Robert Dee Brown and David Gelvin Spencer
New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts
W. H. Auden is quoted as saying that “a professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.”
The Life of a Poet
By Charles Osborne
New York, NY: M. Evans and Co.
A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.