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Who is credited with the quote: "The journey not the arrival matters." I've seen many...

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highlanders15 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 1, 2009 at 10:37 AM via web

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Who is credited with the quote: "The journey not the arrival matters."

 I've seen many instances where T.S. Eliot is the author of this quote but I can't verify it.  I thought it was in the The Journey of the Magi.  Am I correct in giving T.S. the credit and if so when did he utter it?

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 3, 2009 at 12:37 PM (Answer #1)

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I found a blog which considers this very question. It seems that most people attribute the saying to T.S. Eliot, but I've been unable to find any references or evidence. The Journey Not the Arrival Matters is the title of an autobiography  by Leonard Woolf (Virginia Woolf's husband), who died in 1969. A 1989 New York Times' review of Woolf's letters attributes the title observation to 16th century French philosopher Montaigne. Here is a quote from the blog, giving the closest quote from Montaigne:

In the essay "Of Vanity," Montaigne did write (in this 1877 Charles Cotton translation)

"But, at such an age, you will never return from so long a journey." What care I for that? I neither undertake it to return, nor to finish it: my business is only to keep myself in motion, whilst motion pleases me; I only walk for the walk's sake.

My search turned up as many people quoting Montaigne as the source as Eliot. I think this is an aphorism that is difficult to trace-it may be unlikely that we will know who truly said it, when, & in what context.

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