To receive applause for works which do not demand all our powers hinders our advance towards a perfecting of our spirit. It usually means that thereafter we stand still.
What makes our poetry so contemptible nowadays is its paucity of ideas. If you want to be read, invent. Who the Devil wouldn't like to read something new?
There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.
Too much is unwholesome.
What most clearly characterizes true freedom and its true employment is its misemployment.
There can hardly be stranger wares in the world than books: printed by people who do not understand them; sold by people who do not understand them; bound, reviewed and read by people who do not understand them; and now even written by people who do not understand them.
Virtue by premeditation isn't worth much.
When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book?
There exists a species of transcendental ventriloquism by means of which men can be made to believe that something said on earth comes from Heaven.
We are obliged to regard many of our original minds as crazy — at least until we have become as clever as they are.
When a book and a head collide and there is a hollow sound, is it always from the book?
There is no greater impediment to progress in the sciences than the desire to see it take place too quickly.
We can see nothing whatever of the soul unless it is visible in the expression of the countenance; one might call the faces at a large assembly of people a history of the human soul written in a kind of Chinese ideograms.
When an acquaintance goes by I often step back from my window, not so much to spare him the effort of acknowledging me as to spare myself the embarrassment of seeing that he has not done so.
There is no mistaking a good book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.
We cannot remember too often that when we observe nature, and especially the ordering of nature, it is always ourselves alone we are observing.
When they have discovered truth in nature they fling it into a book, where it is even worse hands.
The noble simplicity in the works of nature only too often originates in the noble shortsightedness of him who observes it.
There is no more important rule of conduct in the world than this: attach yourself as much as you can to people who are abler than you and yet not so very different that you cannot understand them.
We do not think good metaphors are anything very important, but I think that a good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on.
When you do a job, do not always think its entirety; execute snippet that we have to face, and when you're done with it, go ahead.
The pleasures of the imagination are as it were only drawings and models which are played with by poor people who cannot afford the real thing.
There is something in our minds like sunshine and the weather, which is not under our control. When I write, the best things come to me from I know not where.
We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands the wise is wise already.
Whenever he composes a critical review, I have been told, he gets an enormous erection.