Edward Abbey


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

Author Quotes

Our suicidal poets (Plath, Berryman, Lowell, Jarrell, et al.) spent too much of their lives inside rooms and classrooms when they should have been trudging up mountains, slogging through swamps, rowing down rivers. The indoor life is the next best thing to premature burial.

Proust again: One can only wish that a man with such powers of total recall had led a less tedious life, moved among somewhat livelier circles.

Running the big rapids is like sex: half the fun lies in the anticipation. Two thirds of the thrill with the approach. The remainder is only ecstasy-or darkness.

So I lived alone.

Suppose we were planning to impose a dictatorial regime upon the American people?the following preparations would be essential.

The best American writers have come from the hinterlands -- Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser, Jack London, Hemingway, Faulkner, Wolfe, Steinbeck. Most of them never even went to college.

The dog's life is a good life, for a dog.

The great question of life is not the question of death but the question of life. Fear of death shames us all.

The longer you rest the harder it is to get up and go on. The steady ox-like plod is best.

The New Age orgy: The flesh was willing but the spirit's weak.

The purpose of love, sex, and marriage is the production and raising of children. But look about you: Most people have no business having children. They are unqualified, either genetically or culturally or both, to reproduce such sorry specimens as themselves. Of all our privileges, the license to breed is the one most grossly abused.

The sun is rising through a yellow, howling wind. Time for breakfast. Inside the trailer now, broiling bacon and frying eggs with good appetite, I hear the sand patter like rain against the metal walls and brush across the windowpanes. A fine silt accumulates beneath the door and on the window ledge. The trailer shakes in a sudden gust. All one to me -- sandstorm or sunshine I am content, so long as I have something to eat, good health, the earth to take my stand on, and light behind the eyes to see by.

The world is older and bigger than we are. This is a hard truth for some folks to swallow.

There has got to be a God; the world could not have become so fucked up by chance alone.

There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.

This sweet virginal primitive land will metaphorically breathe a sigh of relief --like a whisper of wind--when we are all and finally gone and the place and its creations can return to their ancient procedures unobserved and undisturbed by the busy, anxious, brooding consciousness of man.

To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious. But the stupid have an answer for every question.

War: First day in the U.S. Army, the government placed a Bible in my left hand, a bayonet in the other.

We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis.

What is reason? Knowledge informed by sympathy, intelligence in the arms of love.

When I want to write something I just sit down (or stand up) and do it. Scribble, scribble, nothing could be easier. It helps, naturally, to have something to say.

While the actual working cowboy disappears, along with the genuine nonworking Indian, the make-believe cowboys flourish and multiply like flies on a pecan pie. ? From the rear many of them look like women; many of them are woman.

Of all the featherless beasts, only man, chained by his self-imposed slavery to the clock, denies the elemental fire and proceeds as best he can about his business, suffering quietly, martyr to his madness. Much to learn.

Only a fool is astonished by the foolishness of mankind.

Page, Arizona, Shithead Capital of Coconino County: any town with thirteen churches and only four bars has got an incipient social problem. That town is looking for trouble.

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