George Jean Nathan

George Jean

American Drama Critic, Social Critic, Editor, Memorist

Author Quotes

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.

I only drink to make other people seem interesting.

So long as there is one pretty girl left on the stage, the professional undertakers may hold up their burial of the theater.

Women, as they grow older, rely more and more on cosmetics. Men, as they grow older, rely more and more on a sense of humor.

What passes for woman's intuition is often nothing more than man's transparency.

No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.

Art is the sex of imagination.

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.

The notion that as man grows older his illusions leave him is not quite true. What is true is that his early illusions are supplanted by new and, to him, equally convincing illusions.

Art is reaching out into the ugliness of the world for vagrant beauty and the imprisoning of it in a tangible dream.

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