George Jean Nathan

George Jean

American Drama Critic, Social Critic, Editor, Memorist

Author Quotes

The man who exercises his intelligence in the presence of a woman may gain a friend or a wife, but never a sweetheart.

The most poignantly personal autobiography of a biographer is the biography he has written of another man.

The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism.

The test of a real comedian is whether you laugh at him before he opens his mouth.

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.

There is something distinguished about even his failures; they sink not trivially, but with a certain air of majesty, like a great ship, its flags flying, full of holes.

Whenever a man encounters a woman in a mood he doesn't understand, he wants to know if she's tired.

Women can form a friendship with a man very well but to preserve it--to that end a slight physical antipathy must probably help.

Common sense, in so far as it exists, is all for the bourgeoisie. Nonsense is the privilege of the aristocracy. The worries of the world are for the common people.

Never underestimate the ignorance of the American audience.

Criticism is the art of appraising others at one's own value.

One does not go to the theater to see life and nature; one goes to see the particular way in which life and nature happen to look to a cultivated, imaginative and entertaining man who happens, in turn, to be a playwright.

Criticism is the windows and chandeliers of art: it illuminates the enveloping darkness in which art might otherwise rest only vaguely discernible, and perhaps altogether unseen.

Opening night is the night before the play is ready to open.

Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness.

Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible a plea as baseball in Italian.

Hollywood is ten million dollars-worth of intricate and high ingenious machinery functioning elaborately to put skin on baloney.

Politics is the diversion of trivial men who, when they succeed at it, become important in the eyes of more trivial men.

A broken heart is a monument to a love that will never die; fulfillment is a monument to a love that is already on its deathbed.

I have yet to find a man worth his salt in any direction who did not think of himself first and foremost.

Sex touches the heavens only when it simultaneously touches the gutter and the mud.

A life spent in constant labor is a life wasted, save a man be such a fool as to regard a fulsome obituary notice as ample reward.

I know many married men, I even know a few happily married men, but I don't know one who wouldn't fall down the first open coal hole running after the first pretty girl who gave him a wink.

Shaw writes his plays for the ages, the ages between five and twelve.

A man admires a woman not for what she says, but what she listens to.

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George Jean
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American Drama Critic, Social Critic, Editor, Memorist