Edward Abbey

Edward
Abbey
1927
1989

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

Author Quotes

Others had attempted the violent method of pursuit and capture and had failed. I was going to use nothing but sympathy and understanding, in direct violation of common sense and all precedent, to bring Moon-Eye home again.

Philosophy without action is the ruin of the soul. One brave deed is worth a hundred books, a thousand theories, a million words. Now as always we need heroes. And heroines! Down with the passive and the limp.

Recorded history is largely an account of the crimes and disasters committed by banal little men at the levers of imperial machines.

Scientific method: There's a madness in the method.

Something private, something Edenic.

The "terror" of the French Revolution lasted for ten years. The terror that preceded and led to it lasted for a thousand years.

The city itself swung slowly toward us silent as a dream. No sign of life but puffs of steam from skyscraper chimneys, the motion of the traffic. The mighty towers stood like tombstones in a graveyard, leaning against the sky and waiting for -- for what? Someday we'll know.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

The ideal kitchen-sink novel: Throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Then add the kitchen sink.

The moral duty of the free writer is to begin his work at home: to be a critic of his own community, his own country, his own government, his own culture. The more freedom the writer possesses, the greater the moral obligation to play the role of critic.

The only thing worse than a knee-jerk liberal is a knee-pad conservative.

The rich are not very nice. That's why they're rich.

The ugliest thing in America is greed, the lust for power and domination, the lunatic ideology of perpetual Growth - with a capital G. 'Progress' in our nation has for too long been confused with 'Growth'; I see the two as different, almost incompatible, since progress means, or should mean, change for the better - toward social justice, a livable and open world, equal opportunity and affirmative action for all forms of life. And I mean all forms, not merely the human. The grizzly, the wolf, the rattlesnake, the condor, the coyote, the crocodile, whatever, each and every species has as much right to be here as we do.

There are only two kinds of books -- good books and the others. The good are winnowed from the bad through the democracy of time.

There is a kind of poetry in simple fact.

There's nothing so obscene and depressing as an American Christmas.

Three words remain that can yet stir the blood of man: the word 'rebellion'; the word 'revolt'; the word 'revolution'.

Unequipped to hold their own in the ferociously competitive world of White America, in which even the language is foreign to them, the Navajos sink ever deeper into the culture of poverty, exhibiting all of the usual and well-known symptoms? and various forms of mental illness, including evangelical Protestantism.

We judge individual man and women as we do nations and races -- by the character of their achievement and by their achievement of character.

What can I tell them? Sealed in their metallic shells like molluscs on wheels, how can I pry the people free? The auto as tin can, the park ranger as opener. Look here, I want to say, for godsake folks get out of them there machines, take off those fucking sunglasses and unpeel both eyeballs, look around; throw away those goddamned idiotic cameras! For chrissake folks what is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare? eh? Take off your shoes for a while, unzip your fly, piss hearty, dig your toes in the hot sand, feel that raw and rugged earth, split a couple of big toenails, draw blood! Why not? Jesus Christ, lady, roll that window down! You can't see the desert if you can't smell it. Dusty? Of course it's dusty?this is Utah! But it's good dust, good red Utahn dust, rich in iron, rich in irony. Turn that motor off. Get out of that peice of iron and stretch your varicose veins, take off your brassiere and get some hot sun on your old wrinkled dugs! You sir, squinting at the map with your radiator boiling over and your fuel pump vapor-locked, crawl out of that shiny hunk of GM junk and take a walk?yes, leave the old lady and those squawling brats behind for a while, turn your back on them and take a long quiet walk straight into the canyons, get lost for a while, come back when you damn well feel like it, it'll do you and her and them a world of good. Give the kids a break too, let them out of the car, let them go scrambling over rocks hunting for rattlesnakes and scorpions and anthills?yes sir, let them out, turn them loose; how dare you imprison little children in your goddamned upholstered horseless hearse? 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 your sweet and blessed land!

What's more American than violence?" Hayduke wanted to know. "Violence, it's as American as pizza pie.

When the situation is hopeless, there?s nothing to worry about.

Why must love always be accompanied--sooner or later--by sorrow and pain? Why not? Because pure bliss is for pure idiots.

Nobody has so many friends that he can afford to lose one.

One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork.

Author Picture
First Name
Edward
Last Name
Abbey
Birth Date
1927
Death Date
1989
Bio

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