Most misquotations are owing to carelessness or willful misrepresentation and perpetuated by ignorance. More interesting, however, are those that persist despite being widely recognized as erroneous. Such memes are culturally selected for, and this can be explained by what I call the SIC hypothesis: compared with their originals, such misquotations are uniquely symbolic (S), improving (I), or compressive (C). In such cases, a loss of fidelity is compensated by aesthetic enhancement. But the apparent conflict between truth and beauty here evaporates as these are not simply misquotations, paraphrases, or interpolations but a different phenomenon entirely, which prompts the coinage of “epiquotation” (n) or some such neologism, together with punctuational revision. As tropes, epiquotations are quotation-adjacent, true to the presumed spirit of their originals, unique mnemonic keys, and aesthetic frames; and though they are extrinsic, they become essential addenda to the originals, which prompt yet fail to realize such potential expression. So construed, the epiquote phenomenon has paradoxical implications for retroactively describing the original works whose cultural reception has deemed them epiquotable.
Jason Holt, “Epiquotation: Why We Sometimes Misquote Stubbornly.” Evental Aesthetics 5, no. 1 (2016): 4-14.