George Jean Nathan

George Jean

American Drama Critic, Social Critic, Editor, Memorist

Author Quotes

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.

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.

An actor without a playwright is like a hole without a doughnut

Love is an emotion experienced by the many and enjoyed by the few.

An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.

Love is the emotion that a woman feels always for a poodle dog and sometimes for a man.

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote

Marriage is based on the theory that when man discovers a brand of beer exactly to his taste he should at once throw up his job and go work in the brewery.

Beauty makes idiots sad and wise men merry.

My code of life and conduct is simply this: work hard, play to the allowable limit, disregard equally the good and bad opinion of others, never do a friend a dirty trick, eat and drink what you feel like when you feel like, never grow indignant over anything, trust to tobacco for calm and serenity, bathe twice a day ... learn to play at least one musical instrument and then play it only in private, never allow one's self even a passing thought of death, never contradict anyone or seek to prove anything to anyone unless one gets paid for it in cold, hard coin, live the moment to the utmost of its possibilities, treat one's enemies with polite inconsideration, avoid persons who are chronically in need, and be satisfied with life always but never with one's self.

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.

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