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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diogenes Small (1797-1805)[1] is a fictional character created by the English crime writer Colin Dexter in his Inspector Morse series of novels. The character, the supposed author of numerous historical and other works, does not appear in the novels although Dexter has used his quotations.

One of the distinctive features of Dexter's Inspector Morse novels is the use of quotations as chapter headings, which began in the second novel in the series, Last Seen Wearing (1976); then in the fourth, Service of All the Dead (1979); and in the sixth, The Riddle of the Third Mile (1983) onwards. However, it was not always possible to find suitable quotations for every chapter, so many were simply invented by Dexter and attributed to non-existent sources, the most common of which was Diogenes Small.[2] These appeared in the last four novels of the series: The Way Through the Woods (1992), The Daughters of Cain (1994), Death is Now My Neighbour (1996), The Remorseful Day (1999). Over twenty years, Dexter created a lengthy bibliography for the fictional author, including Small's Enlarged Dictionary which apparently ran to at least 18 editions[1] within Small's tragically short lifespan.

From time to time, these quotations have appeared elsewhere, such as in newspapers with a "thought for the day" or "humorous quotes" feature, possibly because the contributors admired Dexter's conceit, or simply because they accepted the attributions at face value.


  1. ^ a b Dexter, Colin (1999 (Second Reprint)). The Remorseful Day. London: BCA [Book Club Associates]. pp. 203, 281.  
  2. ^ Dening, Penelope. "Morse CODE", Nov 25, 1995, Irish Times.


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Diogenes Small is a fictional author often "quoted" in the Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter.


  • Thursday is a bad day. Wednesday is quite a good day. Friday is an even better one. But Thursday, whatever the reason, is a day on which my spirit and my resolution, are at their lowest ebb. Yet even worse is any day of the week upon which, after a period of blessed idleness, I come face to face with the prospect of a premature return to my labours.
  • For coping with even one quarter of that running course known as 'Marathon'—for coping without frequent halts for refreshment or periodic bouts of vomiting—a man has to dedicate one half of his youthful years to quite intolerable training and endurance. Such dedication is not for me.
  • Yet always it is those fictional addenda which will effect the true alchemy.
    • Reflections on Inspiration and Creativity, cited in "The Inside Story" (short story from the collection Morse's Greatest Mystery)
  • Pension: generally understood to mean monies grudgingly bestowed on aging hirelings after a lifetime of occasional devotion to duty
  • Thanatophobia (n): a morbid dread of death, or (sometimes) of the sight of death: a poignant sense of human mortality, almost universal except those living on Olympus.
  • Examination: trial; test of knowledge and, as also may be hoped, capacity; close inspection (especially med.)
  • Prosnōpagnoia (n.): the failure of any person to recognize the face of any other person, howsoever recently the aforementioned persons may have mingled in each other's company.
  • Hypoglycaemia (n): abnormal reduction of sugar content of the blood — for Diabetes sufferers a condition more difficult to spell than to spot
  • Character (n.) handwriting, style of writing: Shakes. Meas. for M. Here is the hand and seal of the Duke. You know the character, I doubt not
  1. a b c Dexter, Colin (1994). The Daughters of Cain. London: Macmillan London Ltd. pp. 3, 72, 171. ISBN 0 333 63004 1.  
  2. a b Dexter, Colin (1999 (Second Reprint)). The Remorseful Day. London: BCA [Book Club Associates]. pp. 374.  
  3. a b Dexter, Colin (2007). The Way Through the Woods. London: Pan Books. pp. 152, 325. ISBN 978-0-330-45080-5.  
  4. Dexter, Colin (2007). The Jewel that was ours. London: Pan Books. pp. 36. ISBN 978-0-330-45125-3.  
  5. a b c Dexter, Colin (1996). Death is now my Neighbour. London: BCA [Book Club Associates]. pp. 86, 224, 325.  

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