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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 2076
AUTHOR: Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882–1944)
QUOTATION: If I let my fingers wander idly over the keys of a typewriter it might happen that my screed made an intelligible sentence. If an army of monkeys were strumming on typewriters they might write all the books in the British Museum.
ATTRIBUTION: ARTHUR S. EDDINGTON, The Nature of the Physical World, chapter 4, p. 72 (1928). Eddington calls this “a rather classical illustration” of chance.

A discussion of this concept is in William Ralph Bennett, Scientific and Engineering Problem-solving with the Computer, chapter 4, p. 105 (1976).

A similar quotation was attributed, apparently incorrectly, to [Thomas Henry?] Huxley by Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe, p. 4 (1931).
SUBJECTS: Writers and writing