Edward Abbey


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

Author Quotes

Poor Hayduke: won all his arguments but lost his immortal soul.

Rocks, like louseworts and snail darters and pupfish and 3rd-world black, lesbian, militant poets, have rights, too. Especially the right to exist.

Silently I dedicate the flower to a girl I know and in honor both of her and the columbine open my knife and carve something appropriate in the soft white bark of the nearest aspen.

Stranger than the storms, though not so grand and symphonic, are the flash floods that follow them, bursting with little warning out of the hills and canyons, sometimes an hour or more after the rain has stopped.

The axiom of conditioned repetition, like the binomial theorem, is nothing but a piece of insolence.

The death penalty would be even more effective, as a deterrent, if we executed a few innocent people more often.

The function of an ideal is not to be realized but, like that of the North Star, to serve as a guiding point.

The Joy of Sex!?Elaine brought home that dreary tract one day, those tidings of comfort and joy by some Californicated Englishman, and we studied the ghastly pictures, the two hundred different positions. What a joyless book. That poor fucker the instructor-model, performing his gymnastic routines over and over, with slight variations, for three hundred pages, each and every time upon the same woman. No wonder he has that look on his soft hairy degenerate face of a bored he-dog hooked up on the street with an exhausted bitch, longing to leave but unable to extricate himself from what breeders call a tie. The woman in the book looks only slightly happier; somebody out of mercy should have emptied a bucket of ice water on the miserable couple. Technique, technique, technical engineering, curse of the modern world, debasing what should be a wild, free, spontaneous act of violent delight into an industrial procedure. Comfort?s treatise is a training manual, a workbook which might better have been entitled The Job of Sex.

The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chainsaws. It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it. Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.

The pre-Columbian Indians of the Southwest, whether hunting, making arrowpoints, going on salt-gathering expeditions or otherwise engaged, clearly enjoyed plenty of leisure time. This speaks well of the food-gathering economy and also of its culture, which encouraged the Indians to employ their freedom in the creation and sharing of a durable art. Unburdened by the necessity of devoting most of their lives to the production, distribution, sale and servicing of labor-saving machinery, lacking proper recreational facilities, these primitive savages were free to do that which comes as naturally to men as making love?making graven images.

The sexual revolution transformed the American West: Now even cowboys can get laid.

The world exists for its own sake, not for ours. Swallow ?that? pill!

There are two kinds of people I cannot abide: bigots and any well-organized ethnic group.

There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.

They listened for a while to the perfect music of the wind and rain and night. To the fire and the simmering kettle.

To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.

Vonnegut is one of America's basic artists, a true and worthy heir to the grand tradition of Thoreau, Whitman, Twain, Dreiser, Traven, Tom Wolfe (the real Tom Wolfe, I mean) and Steinbeck. In other words, he writes out of a concern for justice, love, honesty, and hope.

We live in the kind of world where courage is the most essential of virtues; without courage, the other virtues are useless.

What I am really writing about, what I have always written about, is the idea of human freedom, human community, the real world which makes both possible, and the new technocratic industrial state which threatens the existence of all three. Life and death, that's my subject, and always has been - if the reader will look beyond the assumptions of lazy critics and actually read what I have written. Which also means, quite often, reading between the lines: I am a comic writer and the generation of laughter is my aim.

When a writer has done the best that he can do, he should then withdraw from the book-writing business and take up an honest trade like shoe repair, cattle stealing, or screwworm management.

Where all pretend to be thinking alike, it's likely that no one is thinking at all.

Nothing could be older than the daily news, nothing deader than yesterday's newspaper.

One thing worse than self-hatred is chiggers.

Our modern industrial economy takes a mountain covered with trees, lakes, running streams and transforms it into a mountain of junk, garbage, slime pits, and debris.

Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.

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