Edward Abbey


American Author and Essayist noted for advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies

Author Quotes

Wilderness, wilderness... We scarcely know what we mean by the term, though the sound of it draws all whose nerves and emotions have not been irreparably stunned, deadened, numbed by the caterwauling of commerce, the sweating scramble for profit and domination.

You can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamn contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbrush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail, you'll see something, maybe.

With the neutron bomb, which destroys life but not property, capitalism has found the weapon of its dreams.

You can't study the darkness by flooding it with light.

Within minutes my 115-mile walk through the desert hills becomes a thing apart, a disjunct reality on the far side of a bottomless abyss, immediately beyond physical recollection. But it?s all still there in my heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure?they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days to come, like a treasure found and then, voluntarily, surrendered. Returned to the mountains with my blessing. It leaves a golden glowing on the mind.

You long for success? Start at the bottom; dig down.

Without courage, all other virtues are useless.

Women truly are better than men. Otherwise, they'd be intolerable.

Women who love only women may have a good point.

Women: We cannot love them all. But we must try.

Wordless, it rises and falls in hemidemisemitones of unearthly misery. The dirge of the damned.

Would you do it if you were me? If I was you I'd do whatever you would do.

Writers should avoid the academy. When a writer begins to accept pay for talking about words, we know what he will produce soon: nothing but words.

Writing on the wall: Will trade three blind crabs for two with no teeth.

Yes sir, yes madam, I entreat you, get out of those motorized wheelchairs, get off your foam rubber backsides, stand up straight like men! like women! like human beings! and walk-walk-WALK upon our sweet and blessed land!

Why wilderness? Because we like the taste of freedom; because we like the smell of danger.

Yes, I know, if the American Indians had enforced such a policy none of us pale-faced honkies would be here. But the Indians were foolish, and divided, and failed to keep our WASP ancestors out. They've regretted it ever since.

Wilderness and motors are incompatible and the former can best be experienced, understood and enjoyed when the machines are left behind where they belong -- on the superhighways and in the parking lots, on the reservoirs and in the marinas.

Yes, there are plenty of heroes and heroines everywhere you look. They are not famous people. They are generally obscure and modest people doing useful work, keeping their families together and taking an active part in the health of their communities, opposing what is evil (in one way or another) and defending what is good. Heroes do not want power over others.

Wilderness begins in the human mind.

You cannot reshape human nature without mutilating human beings.

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.

You can't belay a man who's falling in love.

Of all bores, the worst is the sparkling bore.

One word is worth a thousand pictures. If it's the right word.

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American Author and Essayist noted for advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies