Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

Henry
Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
1838
1918

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist

Author Quotes

The first serious consciousness of Nature's gesture - her attitude towards life-took form then as a phantasm, a nightmare, all insanity of force. For the first time, the stage-scenery of the senses collapsed; the human mind felt itself stripped naked, vibrating in a void of shapeless energies, with resistless mass, colliding, crushing, wasting, and destroying what these same energies had created and labored from eternity to perfect.

Any schoolboy could see that man as a force must be measured by motion, from a fixed point. Psychology helped here by suggesting a unit ? the point of history when man held the highest idea of himself as a unit in a unified universe. Eight or ten years of study had led Adams to think he might use the century 1150-1250, expressed in Amiens Cathedral and the Works of Thomas Aquinas, as the unit from which he might measure motion down to his own time, without assuming anything as true or untrue, except relation. The movement might be studied at once in philosophy and mechanics. Setting himself to the task, he began a volume which he mentally knew as "Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres: a Study of Thirteenth-Century Unity." From that point he proposed to fix a position for himself, which he could label: "The Education of Henry Adams: a Study of Twentieth-Century Multiplicity." With the help of these two points of relation, he hoped to project his lines forward and backward indefinitely, subject to correction from anyone who should know better. Thereupon, he sailed for home.

Every mane should have a fair sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friend.

He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers.

If somebody thinks they're a hedgehog, presumably you just give 'em a mirror and a few pictures of hedgehogs and tell them to sort it out for themselves.

Life is a narrow valley, and the roads run close together.

Politics are a very unsatisfactory game.

The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

Every syllable that can be struck out is pure profit, and every page that can be economized is a five-per-cent dividend. Nature rebels against this rule; the flesh is weak, and shrinks from the scissors; I groan in retrospect over the weak.

He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.

I'm spending a year dead for tax reasons.

Life is wasted on the living.

Power is poison. Its effect on Presidents had always been tragic.

The habit of expression leads to the search for something to express. Something remains as a residuum of the commonplace itself, if one strikes out every commonplace in the expression.

Artists... disappeared long ago as social forces. So did the church.

Everyone carries his own inch rule of taste, and amuse himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

In order to fly, all one must do is simply miss the ground.

Man has mounted science, and is now run away with. I firmly believe that before many centuries more, science will be the master of men. The engines he will have invented will be beyond his strength to control. Someday science may have the existence of mankind in its power, and the human race commit suicide, by blowing up the world. Not only shall we be able to cruise in space, but I'll be hanged if I see any reason why some future generation shouldn't walk off like a beetle with the world on its back, or give it another rotary motion so that every zone should receive in turn its due portion of heat and light.

Silence alone is respectable and respected. I believe God to be silence.

As educator, Jean Jacques was, in one respect, easily first; he erected a monument of warning against the Ego. Since his time, and largely thanks to him, the Ego has steadily tended to efface itself, and, for purposes of model, to become a manikin on which the toilet of education is to be draped in order to show the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garment, not the figure. The tailor adapts the manikin as well as the clothes to his patron's wants. The tailor's object, in this volume, is to fit young men, in universities or elsewhere, to be men of the world, equipped for any emergency; and the garment offered to them is meant to show the faults of the patchwork fitted on their fathers.

Everyone must bear his own universe, and most persons are moderately interested in learning how their neighbors have managed to carry theirs.

I am an anarchist in politics and an impressionist in art as well as a symbolist in literature. Not that I understand what these terms mean, but I take them to be all merely synonyms of pessimist.

In Paris and London he had seen nothing to make a return to life worthwhile; in Washington he saw plenty of reasons for staying dead.

Author Picture
First Name
Henry
Last Name
Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
Birth Date
1838
Death Date
1918
Bio

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist