Welcome to The Quintessential Quotations

I have plans to hypertextualize the quotations in this archive in the near future, so stay tuned!

Take me back to loQtus!


Why Study Quotations? To quote Jean Paul's famous answer, "Brevity of language gives width to thought." No other kind of writing engages us with such immediacy and such potency. The distillation of a great thought into a line of words is, without doubt, a mark of genius.


This is version 1.85 dated Friday, May 25, 1994.


A group of my favorite quotations. Their subject tends toward the history of ideas and the arts. I make no excuse for my selection of quotations except to express the hope that they stimulate thought or action. I certainly can't say that I agree with all of them, or excuse certain properties that may seem insensitive. I exclude longish quotations, and verse quotations (with a few worthy exceptions). Any misspelling or error whatsoever should be brought to my attention, and is my error alone.


The quotations are not in order by subject. I may attempt to impose some order when the Archive is larger. You may find sequences of order, but this is due to the way the quotations are input.

Conventions (nitty gritty, for those who care)

I have written the quotations flush left with no indentation. The attribution follows, on its own line, indented with two hyphens ("--"). An attribution consists, when possible, of the author of the quotation and the written work in which it is found. I have followed the standard Usenet convention of representing an underlined title by preceding and following the underlined (or italicized) text with "_" so that: _The Remains of the Day_ and _Rawhide_. If there is an included translation, it occurs in parentheses on the line following the English quotation. If the quotation is taken from an intermediate source, that source is noted.


The following abbreviations are used in the attributions:

                         bk.           book
                         ch.           chapter
                         epis.         epistle
                         l.            line
                         no.           number
                         p.            page
                         pt.           part
                         sc.           scene
                         sec.          section
                         st.           stanza
                         vol.          volume

The Archiver

I am an undergraduate student of English Literature and the University of California, Davis. You can reach me at the following address:


with responses, additions, critiques, queries and suggestions. I welcome any input. See my page in this archive for other fun things.


I have drawn on the works of many texts. Largest debts are owed to: _The Home Book of Quotations_ (a large and somewhat dated reference), George Seldes's _The Great Thoughts_ (a truly excellent work about major ideas of western civilization), _The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations_ (emphasis on British writers and thinkers) edited by J. M. Cohen, James Charlton's _Writer's Quotation Book_ (small; all about books and publishing), and Wesley D. Camp's _What a Piece of Work is Man!_. I hope you enjoy and use these quotations.

The quotations

Why should we be cowed by the name of Action?...The rich mind lies in the 
sun and sleeps, and is Nature.  To think is to act.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays, First Series: Spiritual Laws_.

We are taught by great actions that the universe is the property of every 
individual in it.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Nature, Addresses and Lectures: Beauty_.

Act, if you like,--but you do it at your peril.  Men's actions are too 
strong for them.  Show me a man who has acted and who has not been the 
victim and slave of his action.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Representative Men: Goethe_.

The secret of life is in art.
--Oscar Wilde, _The English Renaissance_.

Art is science in the flesh.
--Jean Cocteau, _Le Rappel a l'Ordre_, p.7.

Art is a jealous mistress; and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, 
music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Conduct of life: Wealth_.

Art is the path of the creator to his work.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays, Second Series: The Poet_.

Classic art was the art of necessity: modern romantic art bears the stamp of 
caprice and chance.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Journals, 1856_.

The highest problem in every art is, by means of appearances, to produce the 
illusion of a loftier reality.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _Truth and Poetry_, Bk. xi.

Great art is an instant arrested in eternity.
--James Huneker, _Pathos of Distance_.

Art is nothing more than the shadow of humanity.
--Henry James, _Lectures: University in Arts_.

Art is power.
--Longfellow, _Hyperion_, Bk. iii, ch. v.

Art is far feebler than necessity.
--Eschylus, _Prometheus Bound_, l. 514.

New arts destroy the old.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays, First Series: Circles_.

The arts and inventions of each period are only its costume, and do not 
invigorate men.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays, First Series: Self-Reliance_.

Life too near paralyses art.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Journals_, Vol. v.

Painting was called "silent poetry" and poetry "speaking painting."  The 
laws of each are convertible into the laws of any other.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Society and Solicitude: Art_.

Art is either a plagiarist or a revolutionist.
--Paul Gaugin (Huneker, _Pathos of Distance_).

I do not want Michael Angelo for breakfast--but for luncheon--for dinner--
for tea--for supper--for between meals.
--Mark Twain, _Innocents Abroad_, Ch. 3.

To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity.
--Thomas A. Edison (_Golden Book_, April, 1931).

Art hath an enemy called ignorance.
--Ben Jonson, _Every Man Out of His Humour: Induction_, l. 216.

Art must be parochial in the beginning to be cosmopolitan in the end.
--George Moore, _Ave._.

If the art is concealed, it succeeds.
--Ovid, _Ars Amatoria_, Bk. ii, l.313.

Nothing is so poor and melancholy as art that is interested in itself and 
not its subject.
--George Santayana, _Life of Reason_, Vol. iv.

All the arts are brothers; each one is a light to the others.
--Voltaire, _Note to Ode on the Death of the Princess de Bareith_.

Art never expresses anything but itself.
--Oscar Wilde, _The Decay of Lying_.

Art is long, life short; judgment difficult, opportunity transient.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _Wilhelm Meister_, Bk. vii, ch. ix.

One science only will one genius fit:
So vast is art, so narrow human wit.
--Alexander Pope, _Essay on Criticism_, Pt. i, l.60.

So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be.
--Alfred Lord Tennyson, "In Memoriam," Sec. lxxiii.

Things perfected by nature are better than those finished by art.
(Meliora sunt ea quae natura quam illa quae arte perfecta sunt.)
--Cicero, _De Natura Deorum_, Bk. ii, ch. 34, sec. 87.

Art may make a suit of clothes: but Nature must produce a man.
--David Hume, _Essays: The Epicurean_ No. xv.

Nature is a revelation of God;
Art a revelation of man.
--Longfellow, _Hyperion_, Bk. iii, ch5.

Nature in no case cometh short of art, for the arts are copiers of natural 
--Marcus Aurelius, _Meditations_, Bk. xi, sec. 10.

All arts is but imitation of nature.
(Omnis ars naturae imitatio est.)
--Seneca, _Epistuloe ad Lucilium_, Epis. lxv, sec. 3.

All nature is but art.
--Alexander Pope, _Essay on Man_, Epis. i, l. 289.

In scorn of nature, art gave lifeless life.
--William Shakespeare, _The Rape of Lucrece_, St. 197.

Let each man exercise the art he knows.
--Aristophanes, _The Wasps_, l. 1431.

The study of the beautiful is a duel in which the artist cries out with 
terror before he is vanquished.
--Charles Baudelaire, _An Artist's Confession_.

The man who never in his mind and thought traveled to heaven, is no 
artist....Mere enthusiasm is the all in all....Passion and expression are 
beauty itself.
--William Blake, (Gilchrist, _Life_, i, 310).

None but blockheads copy each other.
--William Blake, (Gilchrist, _Life_, ii, 174).

To admire on principle is the only way to imitate without loss of 
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge, _Biographia Literaria_, Ch. iv.

There is no way to success in art but to take off your coat, grind paint, 
and work like a digger on the railroad, all day and every day.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Conduct of Life: Power_.

The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by 
friend or fiend, by prayer or by wine.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Conduct of Life: Power_.

Artists must be sacrificed to their art.  Like bees, they must put their 
lives into the sting they give.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Letters and Social Aims: Inspiration_.

Every artist was first an amateur.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Letters and Social Aims: Progress of Culture_.

The True Artist has the planet for his pedestal; the adventurer, after years 
of strife, has nothing broader than his shoes.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Representative Men: Uses of Great Men_.

And I thought, like Dr. Faustus, of the emptiness of art,
How we take a fragment for the whole, and call the whole a part.
--O. W. Holmes, _Nux Postcoenatica_, St. 2.

Artists, like the Greek gods, are only revealed to one another.
--Oscar Wilde, _The English Renaissance_.

We all draw a little and compose a little, and none of us have any idea of 
time or money.
--Charles Dickens, _Bleak House_, Ch. 43.

Man can climb to the highest summits, but he cannot dwell there long.
--George Bernard Shaw, _Candida_, Act iii.

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.
--William Blake, _Proverbs of Hell_.

Beauty is as useful as the useful.  More so, perhaps.
(Le beau est aussi utile que l'utile.  Plus peut-etre.)
--Victor Hugo, _Les Miserables_.

Beauty rests on necessities.  The line of beauty is the line of perfect 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Conduct of Life: Beauty_.

Beauty is not caused, It is.
--Emily Dickinson, _Further Poems_, No. xlix.

Wisdom is the abstract of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future.
--O. W. Holmes, _The Professor at the Breakfast Table_, Ch. 2.

Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of 
the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul.
--W. S. Maugham, _The Moon and Sixpence_.

The only beautiful things are the things that do not concern us.
--Oscar Wilde, _The Decay of Lying_.

Beauty is a form of Genius--is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no 
--Oscar Wilde, _The Picture of Dorian Gray_, Ch. 2.

Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy 
to none.
--Benjamin Franklin, _Poor Richard_, 1756.

In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.
--Benjamin Franklin, "Letter to M. Leroy," 1798.

Probabilities direct the conduct of the wise man.
(Probabilia...sapientis vita regeretur.)
--Cicero, _De Natura Deorum_, Bk. i, ch 5, sec. 12.

Everything may happen.
(Omnio fieri possent.)
--Seneca, _Epistuloe ad Lucilium_, Epis. lxx, 9.

I shall show the cinders of my spirits
Through the ashes of my chance.
--William Shakespeare, _Antony and Cleopatra_, Act V, sc. 2, l.173.

They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.
--Confucius (Goldsmith, _Citizen of the World_, No. 123)

Change is inevitable in a progressive country.  Change is constant.
--Benjamin Disraeli, Speech on 20 October 1867.

Change in all things is sweet.
--Aristotle, _Rhetoric_, Bk. 1, ch. 11, sec. 20.

Presume not that I am the thing I was.
--William Shakespeare, _II Henry IV_, Act v, sc. 5, l. 60.

All things change, nothing perishes.
(Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.)
--Ovid, _Metamorphoses_, Bk. xv, l. 177.

A descent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
--Samuel Johnson (Boswell, _Life_, ii, 130).

Civilization is paralysis.
--Paul Gaugin (Cournos, _Modern Plutarch_).

Does the thoughtful man suppose that...the present experiment in 
civilization is the last world we will see?
--George Santayana, _Life of Reason_, Vol. ii, 127.

Criticism should not be querulous and wasting, all knife and root-puller, 
but guiding, instructive, inspiring.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Journals_.

It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
--Benjamin Disraeli, Speech at the House of Commons, 24 January 1860.

Let none presume to measure the irregularities of Michael Angelo or Socrates 
by village scales.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Representative Men: Plato: New Readings_.

While an author is yet living, we estimate his powers by his worst 
performance; and when he is dead, we rate them by his best.
--Samuel Johnson, _Works_, Vol ix.

The great law of culture is: Let each become all that he was created capable 
of becoming.
--Carlyle, _Essays: J. P. F. Richter_.

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
--Byron, "Darkness," l. 1.

In solitude we have our dreams to ourselves, and in company we agree to 
dream in concert.
--Samuel Johnson, _The Idler 32_.

Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?
--Alfred Lord Tennyson, _The Higher Pantheism_.

You eat, in dreams, the custard of the day.
--Alexander Pope, _The Dunciad_, Bk. i, l.92.

Dream abides; it is the only things that abides; vision abides.
--Miguel de Unamuno, _Essays and Soliloquies_.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
--Edgar Allen Poe, "The Raven."

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.
--Addison, _The Spectator_, No. 215.

The essence of education is that it is a change effected in the organism to 
satisfy the operator.
--Bertrand Russell, _Skeptical Essays_.

Education is the best provision for old age.
--Aristotle (Diogenes Laertius, _Aristotle_, 21).

We are students of words: we are shut up in a schools and colleges and 
recitation-rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag 
of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays, Second Series: New England Reformers_.

We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the 
chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.
--Bertrand Russell, _Skeptical Essays_.

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly 
in the long run.
--Mark Twain, _The Facts Concerning My Recent Resignation_.

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
--William Blake, "The Proverbs of Hell."

What is now proven was once only imagined.
--William Blake, "Proverbs of Hell."

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.
--William Blake, "Proverbs of Hell."

Eternity is not an everlasting flux of time, but time is as a short 
parenthesis in a long period.
--John Donne, _Devotions_, Meditation 14 (1624).

The clock indicates the moment--but what does eternity indicate?
--Walt Whitman, _Song of Myself_, Pt. xliv, l. 4.

I never think of the future.  It comes soon enough.
--Albert Einstein, In an interview on "Belgenland," December 1930.

I dipped into the future far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world and all the wonder that would be.
--Alfred Lord Tennyson, _Locksley Hall_, l. 15.

Genius is mainly an affair of energy.
--Matthew Arnold, _Essays in Criticism_.

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come 
back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays, First Series: Self-Reliance_.

Philosophy becomes poetry, and science imagination, in the enthusiasm of 
--Isaac D'Israeli, _Literary Character of Men of Genius_, Ch. 12.

The God of many men is little more than their court of appeal against the 
damnatory judgment passed on their failures by the opinion of the world.
--William James, _Varieties of Religious Experience_.

God is a geometrician.
--Plato (Plutarch, _Symposium_).

It is expedient that there should be gods, and, since it is expedient, let 
us believe that gods exist.
--Ovid, _Ars Amatoria_, Bk. i, l. 637.

What government is the best?  That which teaches us to govern ourselves.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _Spruche in Posa_, Pt. iii.

Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material 
force, that thoughts rule the world.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Progress of Culture_.

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth--more than ruin--more 
even than death....Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and 
terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and 
comfortable habit.  Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid.  
Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief 
glory of man.
--Bertrand Russell.

Chaos often breeds life when order breeds habit.
--Henry Adams, _The Education of Henry Adams_, Ch. 16.

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of god more 
abundantly, they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in Hell.
--St. Thomas Aquinas (Nietzsche, _On the Geneology of Morals_).

Every thought is an afterthought.
--Hannah Arendt, speech 28 November 1977.

With the rise of Christianity, faith replaced thought as the bringer of 
--Hannah Arendt, speech 5 December 1977.

Between truth and the search for truth, I opt for the second.
--Bernard Berenson, _Essays in Appreciation_.

The universe is a machine for creating gods.
--Henri Bergson, _Two Sources for Morality and Religion_.

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient 
--Samuel Butler, _Note Books_.

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of
every organism to live beyond its income.
--Samuel Butler, _Note Books_.

Is life worth living?  That is a question for an embryo, not a man.
--Samuel Butler, _Note Books_.

God and man are powerless without one another.
--Samuel Butler, _Note Books_.

Genius is a nuisance, and it is the duty of schools and colleges to
abate it by setting genius-traps in its way.
--Samuel Butler, _Note Books_.

An honest God is the noblest work of man.
--Samuel Butler, _Note Books_.

To live is like to love--all reason against it, and all healthy
instinct for it.
--Samuel Butler, _Note Books_.

Life is not an exact science, it is an art.
--Samuel Butler, _Note Books_.

To think is first of all to create a world (or to limit one's own world, 
which comes to the same thing).
--Albert Camus, _The Myth of Sisyphus_.

May some god grant us the power to resign from everything, to betray 
everything, the audacity of an unspeakable cowardice.
--B. M. Cioran, _The Temptation to Exist_.

It is by undermining the idea of reason, of order, of harmony, that we gain 
consciousness of ourselves.
--B. M. Cioran, _The Temptation to Exist_.

There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish 
the farce.
--Samuel Clemens, New York Tribune, 27 September 1871.

The spirit of creation is simply the spirit contradiction.
--Jean Cocteau, _Atlantic_, June 1958.

Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; 
anything but live for it.
--Charles Caleb Colton, _The Lacon_.

Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.
--Confucious, _Analects_ (tr. James Legge), Bk. XX.

Every age is fed on illusions, lest man should renounce life early and the 
human race come to an end.
--Joseph Conrad, _Victory_.

Art is vice.  One does not wed it, one rapes it.
--Edgar Degas (quoted in _Saturday Review_, 20 May 1966).

Christianity was preached by ignorant men and believed by servants, and that 
is why it resembles nothing ever known.
--Josef de Maistre, _Considerations sur la France_.

Man's destructive hand spares nothing that lives; he kills to feed himself, 
he kills to clothe himself, he kills to adorn himself, he kills to attack, 
he kills to defend himself, he kills to instruct himself, he kills to amuse 
himself, he kills for the sake of killing.
--Josef de Maistre, _Considerations sur la France_.

As is the inventor of murder, and the father of art, Cain must have been a 
man of first-rate genius.
--Thomas de Quincey, _Confessions of an English Opium Eater_.

Only the passions, only great passions, can elevate the mind to great 
--Denis Diderot, _Pensees philosophiques_, Bk. 1.

History is philosophy teaching by example.
--Dionysius of Halicarnassus, _De Arte Rhetorica_.

The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible.  God and 
the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.
--Dostoyevsky, _The Brothers Karamazov_, Bk. V, ch. 3.

It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of.  Taking a 
new step, uttering a new word.
--Dostoyevsky, _Crime and Punishment_.

All human wisdom is summed up in two words: wait and hope.
--Alexandre Dumas (the Elder), _The Count of Monte Cristo_.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the 
source of all art and science.
--Albert Einstein, contribution to _Living Philosophies_, Vol. 7.

A man is a god in ruins.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Nature_.

Every man alone is sincere.  At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Friendship."

Life is a festival only to the wise.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Everything must justify its existence before the judgment seat of Reason, or 
give up existence.
--Friedrich Engels, _Anti-Duhring_, Pt. III.

Death is nothing to us: for that which is dissolved is without sensation; 
and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us.
--Epicurus, _Principal Doctrines_, II.

Every definition is dangerous.
--Erasmus, _Adagia_.

I decline to accept the end of man.
--William Faulkner (Nobel Prize Speech, 1950).

I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail.  He is immortal, 
not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because 
he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.
--William Faulkner (Nobel Prize Speech, 1950).

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial 
--William Faulkner (from _Writers at Work_, 1959).

Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, _The Crackup_.

A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to 
take from you everything you have.
--Gerald R. Ford (quoted in _Time_, 8 Nov 1976).

I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own 
--Robert Frost (address in Berkeley, California, 1935).

Don't oppose forces; use them.  God is a verb, not a noun.
--R. Buckminster Fuller, "No More Secondhand God."

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see 
a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre_, V, I.

Talents are best nurtured in solitude; character is best formed in the 
stormy billows of the world.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _Torquato Tasso_, i. 2.

We will either find a way or make one.
--Hannibal (attributed).

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.
--Eugene Ionesco, _Decouvertes_.

It is as painful perhaps to be awakened from a vision as to be born.
--James Joyce, _Ulysses_.

Be careful--with quotations, you can damn anything.
--Andre Malraux, Anti-censorship address, Assembly, 12 Nov 1966.

There is no God.
But it does not matter.
Man is enough.
--Edna St. Vincent Milay, "Conversation at Midnight."

Why change the world?  Change WORLDS!
--Henry Miller (quoted in _Esquire_, Nov 1961).

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have 
been only a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and 
then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the 
great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
--Sir Isaac Newton (quoted in Brewster's _Memoirs of Newton_, Vol. 2).

Live dangerously.  Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius.
--Friedrich Nietzsche, _The Gay Science_.

What a chimera, then, is man!  What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, 
what a contradiction, what a prodigy!  Judge of all things, helpless 
earthworm, depository of truth, sink of uncertainty and error.  Glory and 
scum of the universe.
--Blaise Pascal, _Pensees_ No. 131.

Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking 
--Blaise Pascal, _Pensees_, No. 200.

We think and name in one world, we live and feel in another.
--Marcel Proust, _A la Recherche du Temps Perdu_, Vol. III.

Let a man in a garret but burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to 
the whole world.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, _Wind, Sand, and Stars_.

There is no sure cure to birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
--George Santayana, "War Shrines."

All great truths begin as blasphemies.
--George Bernard Shaw, _Annajanska_.

Whilst we have prisons it matters little who occupies the cells.
--George Bernard Shaw, _Maxims for Revolutionsits_.

Better contraceptives will control population only if people will use them.  
A nuclear holocaust can be prevented only if the conditions under which 
nations make war can be changed.  The environment will continue to 
deteriorate until pollution practices are abandoned.  We need to make vast 
changes in human behavior.
--B. F. Skinner, _Beyond Freedom and Dignity_.

Sanity is a cozy lie.
--Susan Sontag, "Against Interpretation."

Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.
--Susan Sontag, "Against Interpretation."

The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.
--Susan Sontag (in _Esquire_, July 1968).

When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, 
that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
--Jonathan Swift, _Thoughts on Various Subjects_.

Man's mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the 
desire to find the causes is implanted in man's soul.
--Leo Tolstoy, _War and Peace_, Pt. xiii, ch. 1.

To hold a pen is to be at war.
--Voltaire, letter to Mme. d'Angental (4 Oct 1748).

All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
--Voltaire, _Candide_, Ch. 1.

You must have the devil in you to succeed in any of the arts.
--Voltaire, (quoted in Tallentyre, _Life of Voltaire_).

Comfort is the only thing our civilization can give us.
--Oscar Wilde, _Lord Arthur Saville's Crime_.

Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
--Oscar Wilde, _The Critic as Artist_.

All great ideas are dangerous.
--Oscar Wilde, _De Profundis_.

Music is the best means we have of digesting time.
--W. H. Auden (quoted in Robert Craft's _Stravinsky_).

The dust will not settle in our time.  And when it does some great roaring 
machine will come and whirl it all skyhigh again.
--Samuel Beckett, _All That Fall_.

We could have saved sixpence.  We could have saved fivepence.  But at what 
--Samuel Beckett, _All That Fall_.

That's what hell must be like, small chat to the babbling of Lethe about the 
good old days when we wished we were dead.
--Samuel Beckett, _Embers_.

Nothing to be done.
--Samuel Beckett, _Waiting for Godot_.

We should have thought of it when the world was young, in the nineties.
--Samuel Beckett, _Waiting for Godot_.

Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards.
--Samuel Beckett, _First Love_.

I have my faults, but changing my tune is not one of them.
--Samuel Beckett, _The Unnameable_.

The only real distinction at this dangerous moment in human history and 
cosmic development has nothing to do with medals and ribbons.  Not to fall 
asleep is distinguished.  Everything else is mere popcorn.
--Saul Bellow, _Humboldt's Gift_.

Conquered people tend to be witty.
--Saul Bellow, _Mr. Sammler's Planet_.

A good soldier has his heart and soul in it.  When he receives an order, he 
gets a hard on, and when he drives his lance through his enemy's guts, he 
--Bertolt Brecht, _The Caucasian Chalk Circle_.

Science knows only one commandment: contribute to science.
--Bertolt Brecht, _Galileo_.

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
--Bertolt Brecht, _Mother Courage_.

As enunciated today, "progress" is simply a comparative of which we have not 
settled the superlative.
--G. K. Chesterton, _Heretics_.

Those who believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.
--G. K. Chesterton, _Orthodoxy_.

The cosmos is the smallest hole a man can hide his head in.
--G. K. Chesterton, _Orthodoxy_.

Reason is itself a matter of faith.  It is an act of faith to assert that 
our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
--G. K. Chesterton, _Orthodoxy_.

The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas.  
In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur 
of design, and by that element of the bizarre which seems inherent in them.
--Jean Cocteau, _Les Enfants Terribles_.

Everything is a dangerous drug to me except reality, which is unendurable.
--Cyril Connolly, _The Unquiet Grave_.

It is the final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order 
to save us.
--Peter De Vries, _The Mackerel Plaza_.

A map is the dead body of where you've been.  A map is the unborn baby of 
where you're going.  There are no maps.  Maps are pictures of what isn't.
--Russell Hoban, _The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz_.

Me, what's that after all?  An arbitrary limitation of being bounded by the 
people before and after and on either side.  Where they leave off I begin, 
and vice versa.
--Russell Hoban, _Turtle Diary_.

And now it seems she's on my wavelength.  That's all I need.  My mind isn't 
much of a comfort to me but at least I thought it was private.
--Russell Hoban, _Turtle Diary_.

The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between 
right and wrong.
--Carl Gustav Jung, _Memories, Dreams, Reflections_.

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a 
light in the darkness of mere being.
--Carl Gustav Jung, _Memories, Dreams, Reflections_.

It's the truth even if it didn't happen.
--Ken Kesey, _One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_.

The word "now" is like a bomb through the window, and it ticks.
--Arthur Miller, _After the Fall_.

I still feel--kind of temporary about myself.
--Arthur Miller, _Death of a Salesman_.

When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find 
sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite 
different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
--A. A. Milne, _The House at Pooh Corner_.

If the English language has been properly organized, then there would be a 
word which means both "he" and "she," and I could write "If John or Mary 
comes, heesh will want to play tennis," which would save a lot of trouble.
--A. A. Milne, _The Christopher Robin Birthday Book_.

Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing; the 
rest is mere sheep-herding.
--Ezra Pound, _ABC of Learning_.

Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank.  Its value depends 
on what is there to meet it.
--Ezra Pound, _ABC of Learning_.

Philosophy is the battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by 
means of language.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery (attributed).

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.  You are 
responsible for your rose.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, _The Little Prince_.

Life is nothing until it is lived; but it is yours to make sense of, and the 
of it is nothing other than the sense you choose.
--Jean-Paul Sartre, _Existentialism is a Humanism_.

Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.
--Jean-Paul Sartre, _Words_.

"The [London] Times" has published no rumours; it's only reported facts, 
namely that other, less responsible papers are publishing certain rumours.
--Tom Stoppard, _Dirty Linen_.

A circle is the longest distance to same point.
--Tom Stoppard, _Every Good Boy Deserves Favour_.

We do on the stage the things that are supposed to happen off.  Which is a 
kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere 
--Tom Stoppard, _Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead_.

You're familiar with the tragedies of antiquity, are you?  The great 
homicidal classics?
--Tom Stoppard, _Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead_.

I do not pretend to understand the universe.  It is a great deal bigger than 
I am.
--Tom Stoppard, _Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon_.

I write fiction because it's a way of making statements I can disown, and I 
write plays because dialogue is the most respectable way of contradicting 
--Tom Stoppard (attributed).

Revolutions are always verbose.
--Leon Trotsky, _History of the Russian Revolution_.

On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.
--Virginia Woolf, _The Waves_.

Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying.
--John Updike.

A writer's job is sticking out his neck.
--Sloan Wilson.

The art of writing has for backbone some fierce attachment to an idea.
--Virginia Woolf.

Less is more, in prose as in architecture.
--Donald Hall.

To be nobody-but-yourself--in a world which is doing its best, night and 
day, to make you everybody else--means to fight the hardest battle which any 
human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
--e. e. cummings.

Great men are true men, the men in whom nature has succeeded.
--Amiel, _Journal_, 13 Aug 1865.

He is great who is what he is from nature, and who never reminds us of 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Representative Men: Uses of Great Men_.

History is a pageant, and not a philosophy.
--Augustine Birrell, _Obiter Dicta, Second Series: The Muse of History_.

History after all is the true poetry.
--Carlyle, _Essays: Boswell's Life of Johnson_.

There is properly no history, only biography.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays, First Series: History_.

History teaches everything, even the future.
--Lamartine, speech at Macon 1847.

History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but _one_ page.
--Byron, "Childe Harold," Canto iv, st. 108.

Ancient histories, as one of our wits has said, are but fables that have 
been agreed upon.
--Voltaire, _Jeannot et Colin_.

History is but a picture of crimes and misfortunes.
--Voltaire, _L'Ingenu_, Ch. 10.

Only the wise possess ideas; the greater part of mankind are possessed by 
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge, _Miscellanies_, p. 154.

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.
--Walter Bagehot, _Physics and Politics_.

It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men to put trust in ideas, and 
not in circumstances.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Miscellanies: War_.

Ideas are, in truth, forces.  Infinite, too, is the power of personality.  A 
union of the two always makes history.
--Henry James, _Charles W. Eliot_, i, 235.

General and abstract ideas are the source of the greatest errors of mankind.
--Jean-Jacques Rousseau, _Emile_.

Knowledge is the only elegance.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Journal_, 1856.

All our knowledge is symbolic.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _Table-Talk_, 1805.

They know enough who know how to learn.
--Henry Adams, _Education of Henry Adams_.

Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause awhile from letters, to be wise.
--Samuel Johnson, "The Vanity of Human Wishes," l. 155.

The more abstract the truth you wish to teach, the more you must allure 
the senses to it.
--Friedrich Nietzsche.

The pursuit of truth is just a polite name for the intellectual's 
favorite pastime of substituting simple and therefore false abstractions 
for the living complexities of reality.
--Aldous Huxley.

Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory?  They are 
so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together.
--George Santayana.

He who doesn't accept the conditions of life sells his soul.
--Charles Baudelaire.

There is always some accident in the best things, whether thoughts or 
expressions or deeds.  The memorable thought, the happy expression, the 
admirable deed are only partly ours.
--Henry David Thoreau.

The strongest man on earth is he who stands most alone.
--Henrik Ibsen.

All perception of truth is the perception of an analogy; we reason from 
our hands to our head.
--Henry David Thoreau.

What then is the wisdom of the times called old?  Is it the wisdom of 
gray hairs?  No.  It is the wisdom of the cradle.
--Sir Thomas Browne.

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using 
his intelligence; he is just using his memory.
--Leonardo da Vinci.

Art is man added to nature.
--Francis Bacon.

The highest condition of art is artlessness.
--Henry David Thoreau.

No great artist ever sees things as they really are.  If he did, he would 
cease to be an artist.
--Oscar Wilde.

When an artist deserts to the side of the angels, it is the most odious of 
--Aldous Huxley.

What is your religion?  I mean--not what you know about religion but the 
belief that helps you most?
--George Eliot.

Your body is the harp of your soul.
--Kahlil Gibran.

I hate books; they teach us to talk about things we do not understand.
--Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The thinker makes a great mistake when he asks after cause and effect.  
They both together make up the indivisible phenomenon.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Character is long-standing habit.

Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by 
those one has had.
--Friedrich Nietzsche.

Few men realize that their life, the very essence of their character, 
their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their 
belief in the safety of their surroundings.
--Joseph Conrad.

You have to ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

City life: millions of people being lonesome together.
--Henry David Thoreau.

There are no principles, there are only events; there are no laws, there 
are only circumstances.

Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessaries.
--Mark Twain.

Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of 
organized human life.
--H. G. Wells.

Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly.  Everything 
than can be said can be said clearly.

Launch your boat, blessed youth, and flee at full speed from every form 
of culture.

Definitions may be good things, if only we did not employ words in making 
--Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Definitions are a kind of scratching, and generally leave a sore place 
more sore than it was before.
--Samuel Butler.

Life begins on the other side of despair.
--Jean-Paul Sartre.

A man that steps aside from the world and has leisure to observe it 
without interest and design, thinks all mankind as mad as they think him.
--Lord Halifax.

Dictionaries are like watches: the worst is better than none, and the 
best cannot be expected to go quite true.
--Samuel Johnson.

We boil at different degrees.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Discontent is the seed of ethics.
--Friedrich Nietzsche.

The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas.
--George Santayana.

One is certain of nothing but the truth of one's emotions.
--E. M. Forster

He who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage.
--Kahlil Gibran.

God forbid that truth should be confined to Mathematical Demonstration.
--William Blake (notes on ReynoldŐs _Discourses_).

What if this present were the worldŐs last night?
--John Donne.

Our unconscious, then, does not believe in its own death; it behaves as if 
it were immortal.  It knows nothing that is negative; in it contradictories 
coincide.  This may be the secret of heroism.
--Sigmund Freud, "Thoughts for the Times on War and Death," 1915.

In a dark time, the eye begins to see.
--Theodore Roethke, "In a Dark Time," 1966.

I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are 
ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we 
have yet gone ourselves.
--E. M. Forster.

Immature artists imitate.  Mature artists steal.
--Lionel Trilling.

Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.
--Robert Frost.

It takes more to make one sage today than it did to make the seven of 
Greece.  And you need more resources to deal with a single person these days 
than with an entire nation in times past.
--Baltasar Gracian, _The Art of Worldly Wisdom_.

Character and intelligence are the poles you talent spins on, displaying 
your gifts.
--Baltasar Gracian, _The Art of Worldly Wisdom_.

The absurd is clear reason recognizing its limits.
--Albert Camus, _Le Suicide Philosophique_.

The absurd is born is the confrontation between the human void and the 
unreasonable silence of the world.
--Albert Camus, _The Myth of Sisyphus_.

Man is able to do what he is unable to imagine.
--Rene Char, _Hypnos Waking_.

Deliberation is a function of the many; action is the function of the one.
--Charles de Gaulle, _War Memoirs_, 1960.

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?
--Robert Browning, "Andrea del Sarto," 1855.

The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, 
cutting the heart asunder.
--Virginia Woolf, _A Room of One's Own_, 1929.

The world of sight is still limitless.  It is the artist who limits 
vision to the cramped dimensions of his own ego.
--Marya Mannes, _More in Anger_, 1958.

The morality of art is in its very beauty.
--Gustave Flaubert (to Louis Bonenfant), 1856.

The work of art may have a moral effect, but to demand moral purpose from 
the artist is to make him ruin his work.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _Maxims_, 1832.

Art is science made clear.
--Jean Cocteau, _Le Coq et l'Arlequin_.

A work should convey its entire meaning by itself, imposing it on the 
spectator even before he knows what the subject is.
--Marcel Proust, _Within a Budding Grove_, 1919.

The great artists are those who impose their peculiar vision on the rest 
of mankind.
--Guy de Maupassant, _Pierre et Jean_, 1888.

An artist cannot talk about his art any more than a plant can discuss 
--Jean Cocteau (quoted in _Newsweek_, 16 May 1955).

An aspiration is a joy forever, a possession as solid as a landed estate, 
a fortune which we can never exhaust and which gives us year by year a 
revenue of pleasurable activity.
--Robert Louis Stevenson, "El Dorado," 1881.

Gods are born and die, but the atom endures.
--Alexander Chase, _Perspectives_, 1966.

To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.
--Walt Whitman, _Notes Left Over_, 1881.

Speed provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.
--Aldous Huxley, _Music at Night_.

Infancy conforms to nobody; all conform to it.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance," 1841.

Barbarism is needed every four or five hundred years to bring the world 
back to life.  Otherwise it would die of civilization.
--Edmond de Goncourt, _Journal_, 3 Sep 1855.

The crimes of extreme civilization are certainly more atrocious than 
those of extreme barbarism.
--Barbey d'Aurevilly, _La Vengeance d'une Femme_.

It is because everything must come to an end that everything is so 
--Charles Ramuz, _Adieu a Beaucoup de Personnages_.

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the 
only end of life.
--Robert Louis Stevenson, _Of Men and Books_, 1882.

Man is the only animal for whom his existence is a problem which he has 
to solve.
--Erich Fromm, _Man for Himself_, 1947.

Religion is a fashionable substitute for Belief.
--Oscar Wilde, _The Picture of Dorian Gray_, 1891.

Be not afraid of life.  Believe that life is worth living, and your 
belief will help you create the fact.
--William James, _The Will to Believe_, 1897.

I should like to abolish funerals; the time to mourn a person is at his 
birth, not his death.
--Montesquieu, _Persian Letters_, 1721.

There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book; books are well written 
or badly written.
--Oscar Wilde _The Picture of Dorian Gray_, 1891.

Boredom is a sickness the cure for which is work; pleasure is only a 
--Le Duc de Levis, _Memoires_.

Two things only the people actually desire--bread and circuses.
--Juvenal, _Satires_.

"Let the dead bury the dead."  There is not a single word of Christ to 
which the Christian religion has paid less attention.
--Andre Gide, _Journals_, 13 Jul 1930.

Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the 
lost faith in ourselves.
--Eric Hoffer, _The Ordeal of Change_, 1964.

We cannot bear to regard ourselves simply as playthings of blind chance; 
we cannot admit to feeling ourselves abandoned.
--Ugo Betti, _Struggle till Dawn_, 1949.

History abhors determinism but cannot tolerate chance.
--Bernard De Voto, _The Course of Empire_, 1952.

Happiness is not the end of life; character is.
--Henry Ward Beecher, _Life Thoughts_, 1858.

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a 
confession of character.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _The Conduct of Life_, 1860.

There is neither vice nor virtue, there are only circumstances.
--Balzac, _Le Pere Goriot_, 1834.

Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.
--Arnold Toynbee, _Civilization on Trial_.

No individual is isolated.  He who is sad, saddens others.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, _Flight at Arras_, 1942.

Talking about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.
--Friedrich Nietzsche, _Beyond Good and Evil_, 1886.

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in 
us, but our emptiness.  The hardest thing to hide is something that is 
not there.
--Eric Hoffer, _The Passionate State of Mind_, 1954.

The fact that human consciousness remains partially infantile throughout 
life is the core of human tragedy.
--Erik Erikson, _Childhood and Society_, 1950.

Neither intelligence nor judgment are creative.  If a sculptor is nothing 
but science and intelligence, his hands will have no talent.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, _Flight to Arras_, 1942.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
--Martin Luther King, Jr., _Strength to Love_, 1963.

We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _The Conduct of Life_, 1860.

A good critic describes his adventures among masterpieces.
--Anatole France, _La Vie Litteraire_, 1892.

Death is the only thing we have not completely succeeded in vulgarizing.
--Aldous Huxley, _Eyeless in Gaza_, 1936.

The certainties of one age are the problems of the next.
--R. H. Tawney, _Religion and the Rise of Capitalism_, 1926.

Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt.
--Ortega y Gasset, "In Search of Goethe" (in _Partisan Review_, Dec 1949).

All the knowledge I possess everyone can acquire, but my heart is all my 
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _The Sorrows of Young Werther_, 1774. 

Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of 
commodities, so the social process requires the standardization of man, 
and this standardization is called equality.
--Erich Fromm, _The Art of Loving_, 1956.

Man finally knows that he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the 
Universe, from which he emerged by accident.
--Jacques Monod, _Le Hasard et la Necessite_, 1970.

Man is abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, 
without help, with no aim but what he sets himself.
--Jean Paul Sartre, _Being and Nothingness_, 1943.

Genius is the ability to see things invisible, to manipulate things 
intangible, to paint things that have no features.
--Joseph Joubert, _Pensees_, 1842.

Men of genius are meteors destined to burn themselves out in lighting up 
their age.
--Napoleon Bonaparte, _Discours de Lyon_, 1771.

Heresies are experiments in man's unsatisfied search for truth.
--H. G. Wells, _Crux Ansata_.

Heresy is the lifeblood of religions.  It is faith that begets heresies.  
There are no heresies in a dead religion.
--Andre Suares, _Peguy_.

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.
--Victor Hugo, _Ninety-three_, 1874.

Heroism feels and never reasons and is therefore always right.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance," 1841.

The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest 
coward like everybody else.
--Umberto Eco, _Travels in Hyper Reality_, 1986.

I have no idea what the mind of a low-life scoundrel is like, but I know 
what the mind of an honest man is like: it is terrifying.
--Abel Hermant, _Le Bourgeois_, 1906.

The difficulty with humorists is that they will mix what they believe 
with what they don't; whichever seems likely to win an effect.
--John Updike, _A Month of Sundays_.

Wild animals never kill for sport.  Man is the only one to whom the 
torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.
--James A. Froude, _Oceana_.

We boast our emancipation from many superstitions; but if we have broken 
any idols, it is merely through a transfer of idolatry.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays_, 1841.

Ignorance is not bliss--it is oblivion.
--Philip Wylie, _Generation of Vipers_, 1942.

Man has always sacrificed truth to his vanity, comfort and advantage.  He 
lives by make-believe.
--W. Somerset Maugham, _The Summing Up_, 1938.

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter.
--John Keats, "Ode to a Grecian Urn," 1819.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes).
--Walt Whitman, _Leaves of Grass_, 1892.

A good indignation brings out all one's powers.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Journals_, 1841.

The true, strong and sound mind is the mind that can embrace equally 
things great and small.
--Samuel Johnson (quoted in Boswell's _Life_).

To live without killing is a thought which could electrify the world, if 
men were only capable of staying awake long enough to let the idea soak 
--Henry Miller, "Reunion in Brooklyn."

Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want 
to know.
--Eric Hoffer, _The Passionate State of Mind_, 1954.

Language is our body and our breath, our world and our thought, our 
perception and even out unconscious.
--Philippe Sollers, _Logiques_, 1968.

Language was given to Man to conceal his thoughts.
--Stendhal, _Armance_, 1827.

Language was not given to man: he seized it.
--Louis Aragon, _Le Libertinage_.

Correct English is the slang of prigs who write history and essays.  And 
the strongest slang of all is the slang of poets.
--George Eliot, _Middlemarch_, 1872.

Life is half spent before we know what it is.
--George Herbert, _Jacula Prudentum_, 1651.

The only basis for living is believing in life, loving it, and applying 
the whole force of one's intellect to know it better.
--Emile Zola, _Le Docteur Pascal_, 1893.

Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
--George Santayana, _Little Essays_, 1920.

The thing I am most aware of is my limits.  And this is natural; for I 
never, or almost never, occupy the middle of my cage; my whole being 
surges toward the bars.
--Andre Gide, _Journals_, 4 Aug 1930.

Love is not just looking at each other, it's looking in the same direction.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, _Wind, Sand and Stars_, 1939.

What is it that makes a man willing to sit on top of an enormous Roman 
candle, such as a Redstone, Atlas, Titan or Saturn rocket and wait for 
someone to light the fuse?
--Tom Wolfe, _The Right Stuff_, 1979.

We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that 
we know how to manipulate or consume them.
--Erich Fromm, _The Sane Society_, 1948.

The union of the mathematician with the poet, fervor with measure, passion 
with correctness, this surely is the ideal.
--William James, _Collected Essays and Reviews_, 1920.

A person's maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one 
had as a child, at play.
--Friedrich Nietzsche, _Beyond Good and Evil_, 1886.

To live with fear and not be afraid is the final test of maturity.
--Edward Weeks (in _Look_, 18 Jul 1961).

The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the 
core of strength within you that survives all hurt.
--Max Lerner, _The Unfinished Country_, 1950.

Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is 
a necessary condition for our existence.
--Sholem Asch, _The Nazarene_, 1939.

Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold 
weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.
--Leonardo da Vinci, _Notebooks_, 1508.

Every man has seen the wall that limits his mind.
--Alfred de Vigny, _Les Distinees_, 1864.

The direction is the mind is more important than its progress.
--Joseph Joubert, _Pensees_, 1842.

Two things fill my mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe: the starry 
skies above me and the moral law within me.
--Immanuel Kant, _Critique of Practical Reason_, 1788.

It is not reason that gives us our moral orientation, it is sensitivity.
--Maurice Barres, _La Grande Pitie des Eglises de France_, 1914.

A man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and 
the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through 
them; and he tries to live his life as if he were recounting it.
--Jean Paul Sartre, _Nausea_, 1938.

Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Uncollected Lectures: Natural Religion_.

Life is a loom, weaving illusion.
--Vachel Lindsay, _The Chinese Nightingale_.

Life is a school of probability.
--Bagehot, _Literary Studies_, Vol. ii.

Life is a long lesson in humility.
--J. M. Barrie, _The Little Minister_.

Do what you will, this life's a fiction,
And is made up of contradiction.
--William Blake, _Gnomic Verses, No. 23_.

We live ruins amid ruins.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Society and Solitude: Domestic Life_.

Life is an end in itself, and the only question as to whether it is worth 
living is whether you have had enough of it.
--Justice O. W. Holmes.

I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.
--William Shakespeare, _Richard III_, V.iv.9-10.

I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this 
isthmus of life, between two boundless oceans.
--John Wesley (in a letter), 1747.

How many lives we live in one,
And how much less than one, in all!
--Alice Cary, _Life's Mysteries_.

The philosopher is Nature's pilot.  And there you have our difference: to be 
in hell is to drift: to be in heaven is to steer.
--George Bernard Shaw, _Man and Superman_, Act iii.

The whole life of the philosopher is a preparation for death.

Poetry is devil's wine.
--St. Augustine, _Contra Academicos_.

It does not need that a poem should be long.  Every word was once a poem.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays: Second Series: The Poet_.

Poetry must be as new as foam and as old as the rock.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Journals_.

The true poem is the poet's mind.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays: First Series: Of History_.

Poetry is a criticism of life in terms of beauty.
--Mrs. George Pierce, (from _Forum_, Aug 1928).

Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in 
the air.  Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the 
unknown and the unknowable.  Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows 
are made and why they go away.
--Carl Sandburg, _Poetry Considered_.

Poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
--Carl Sandburg, _Poetry Considered_.

Equilibrium is the profoundest tendency of all human activity.
--Jean Piaget, _Six Etudes des Psychologie_.

A novel tells us that for every human being there is a diversity of 
existences, that the single existence is itself an illusion in part, that 
these many existences signify something, tend to something, fulfill 
something; it promises us meaning, harmony, and even justice.
--Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize speech.

Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still 
attached to life at all four corners.
--Virginia Woolf, _A Room of One's Own_.

Our minds grow in spots; and life grease spots, the spots spread.  But we 
let them spread as little as possible: we keep unaltered as much of our old 
prejudices and beliefs, as we can.  We patch and tinker more than we renew.  
The novelty soaks in; it stains the ancient mass; but it is also tinged by 
what absorbs it.
--William James, _Pragmatism_, 1907.

I can promise to be frank, I cannot promise to be impartial.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, _Essays: Second Series_, 1844.

Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them.
--Thomas Mann, _The Magic Mountain_.

Man is only truly great when he acts from his passions.
--Benjamin Disraeli, _Coningsby_, 1844.

It is by no means self-evident that human beings are most real when most 
violently excited; violent physical passions do not in themselves 
differentiate men from each other, but rather tend to reduce them to the 
same state.
--T. S. Eliot, "After Strange Gods," 1934.

All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art 
would be ineffectual.
--Balzac, _La Comedie Humaine_, 1841.

In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time; the articulate audible voice 
of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether 
vanished like a dream.
--Carlyle, _Heroes and Hero Worship_, 1840.

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
--William Blake, _The Marriage of Heaven and Hell_.

The heart prefers to move against the grain of circumstances; perversity is 
the soul's very life.
--John Updike.

The object of studying philosophy is to know onw's own mind, not other 
--Dean W. R. Inge, _Outspoken Essays_, 1922.

Making fun of philosophy is really philosophising.
--Blaise Pascal, _Pensees_, 1670.

In philosophy it is not the attainment of the goal that matters, it is the 
things that are met with by the way.
--Havelock Ellis, _The Dance of Life_, 1923.

In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.
--Ovid, _The Art of Love_, circa 8 C.E.

The poet may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also 
part of the weather.
--Lionel Trilling, _The Liberal Imagination_, 1950.

The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.
--Jean Cocteau (quoted in _Newsweek_, 7 Apr 1958).

A poet's autobiography is his poetry.  Andthing else is just a footnote.
--Yevgeny Yentushenko, _The Sole Survivor_, 1982.

No good poem, however confessional it may be, is just a self-expression.  
Who on earth would claim that the pearl expresses the oyster?
--C. D. Lewis, (in the _Christian Science Monitor_, 24 May 1966).

Generally speaking, the more civilized and polished a people become, the 
less poetic its ways; everything weakens as it mellows.
--Diderot, _On Dramatic Poetry_.

Before people complain about the obscurity of modern poetry, they should 
first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and 
on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some 
experience with another.
--W. H. Auden, (in _Newsweek_, 17 Mar 1958).

Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking.
--John Wain (on BBC-Radio, 13 Jan 1976).

Poetry is not the proper antithesis to prose, but to science.  Poetry is 
opposed to science, and prose to meter.  The proper and immediate object of 
science is the acquirement, or communication of truth; the proper and 
immediate object of poetry is the communication of pleasure.
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge, _Definitions of Poetry_, 1811.

Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
--George Santayana, _Little Essays_, 1920.

It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, 
compared to what he might have done.
--Samuel Johnson, (in Boswell's _Life_, 1770).

Every situation--nay, every moment--is of infinite worth, for it is the 
representative of a whole eternity.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (in Eckermann's _Conversations_, 3 Nov 1823).

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
--Albert Camus, _The Rebel_, 1951.

Now is the time to get drunk! To stop being the martyred slaves of time, to 
get absolutely drunk--on wine, poetry, or on virtue, as you please.
--Charles Baudelaire, "Envivez-Vous," _Paris Spleen_, 1869.

There's no one so transparent as the person who thinks he's devilish deep.
--Somerset Maugham, _Lady Frederick_, 1907.

The profound thinker always suspects that he is superficial.
--Benjamin Disraeli, _Contarini Fleming_, 1832.

All progress is based on a universal innate desire on the part of every 
organism to live beyond its income.
--Samuel Butler, _The Way of All Flesh_, 1903.

There can be no progress--real, moral prgress--except in the individual and 
by the individual himself.
--Charles Baudelaire, _Mon Coeur mis a nu_, 1887.

To put one's trust in God is only a longer way of saying that one will 
chance it.
--Samuel Butler, _Note-Books_, 1912 (posth.)

A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from 
its being a secular and sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly 
scientific way of affirming the primacy of "spirit" over matter.
--Susan Sontag, _Illness as a Metaphor_, 1977.

It is easier to judge a person's mental capacity by his questions than by 
his answers.
--Le Duc de Levis, _Maxims_.

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he's one who asks 
the right questions.
--Claude Levi-Strauss, _Le Cru et le cuit_, 1964.

'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds 
passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and 
unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the 
sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a 
mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Society and Solitude_, 1870.

If it were possible to talk to the unborn, one could never explain to them 
how it feels to be alive, for life is washed in the speechless real.
--Jacques Barzun, _The House of Intellect_, 1959.

Reality is a staircase going neither up nor down, we don't move, today is 
today, always today.
--Octavio Paz, "The Endless Instant."

You must not depend on your reality as you feel it today, since, like that 
of yesterday, it may prove an illusion for you tomorrow.
--Luigi Pirandello, _Six Characters in Search of an Author_, 1921.

The last function of reason is to recognize that there are an infintiy of 
things which surpass it.
--Blaise Pascal, _Pensees_, 1670.

I ahve said that the world is absurd but I spoke too soon.  All we can say 
is that this world in and of itself is not reasonable.  What is absurd, 
though, is the conflict between this irrationality and man's desperate wish 
for intelligibility.
--Albert Camus, _The Myth of Sisyphus_, 1942.

Analysis kills spontaneity.
--Amiel, _Journal_, 7 Nov 1878.

To reget deeply is to live afresh.
--Henry David Thoreau, _Journal_ 13 Nov 1839.

Nobody can have the consolation of religion or philosophy unless he has 
first experienced their desolations.
--Aldous Huxley, _Themes and Variations_, 1950.

Man is certainly stark mad: he cannot make a flea, yet me makes gods by the 
--Montaigne, _Essays_, 1588.

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river is a strong brown 
god--sullen, untamed, and intractible.
--T. S. Eliot, "The Dry Salvages," Four Quartets, 1941.

We can stand only a certain amount of unhappiness; anything beyond that 
annihilates us or passes us by, leaving us apathethetic.
--Johann Wolfgan von Goethe, _Elective Affinities_, 1809.

The sovereign source of melancholy is repletion.  Need and struggle are what 
excite and inspire us; our hour of triumph is what brings the void.
--William James, _The Will to Believe_, 1896.

Man is the cruelest animal.  At tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions he 
has so far felt best on earth; and when he invented hell for himself, 
behold, that was his very heaven.
--Nietzsche, _Thus Spake Zarathustra_, 1892.

Selfness is an essential fact of life.  The thought of nonselfness, precise 
sameness is terrifying.
--Dr. Lewis Thomas, "On Cloning a Human Being," 1974.

Sanity is madness put to good uses.
--George Santayana, _Little Essays_.

Science is a cemetary of dead ideas.
--Miguel de Unamuno, _The Tragic Sense of Life_, 1913.

The theory of our modern technic shows that nothing is as practical as the 
--J. Robert Oppenheimer, _Reflex_ of July 1977.

I say "me" knowing all the while it's not me.
--Samuel Beckett, _The Unnamable_, 1953.

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant 
than any star.
--G. K. Chesterton, _Orthodoxy_, 1908.

If we had keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be 
like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die 
of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.
--George Eliot, _Middlemarch_, 1872.

The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things, 
indicates a strange inversion.
--Blaise Pascal, _Pensees_, 1670.

Society is always in some way or other to grind us down to a single flat 
--Oliver Wendell Holmes, _The Professor at His Breakfast Table_, 1860.

End of Quintessenital Quotations (1.85)
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