Logan Pearsall Smith

Logan Pearsall

American-born English Essayist, Critic and Man of Letters

Author Quotes

You cannot be both fashionable and first-rate.

Youth is the time for adventures of the body, but age for the triumphs of the mind.

What pursuit is more elegant than that of collecting the ignominies of our nature and transfixing them for show, each on the bright pin of a polished phrase?

What things there are to write, if one could only write them! My mind is full of gleaming thought; gay moods and mysterious, moth-like meditations hover in my imagination, fanning their painted wings. But always the rarest, those streaked with azure and the deepest crimson, flutter away beyond my reach.

What's more enchanting than the voices of young people, when you can't hear what they say?

When people talk of Ghosts I don't mention the Apparition by which I am haunted, the Phantom that shadows me about the streets, the image or spectre, so familiar, so like myself, which lurks in the plate glass of shop-windows, or leaps out of mirrors.

When they come downstairs from their Ivory Towers, Idealists are very apt to walk straight into the gutter.

Whiskey has killed more men than bullets, but most men would rather be full of whiskey than bullets. What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.

Yes there is a meaning; at least for me, there is one thing that matters - to set a chime of words tinkling in the minds of a few fastidious people.

I might give my life for a friend, but he'd better not ask me to do up a parcel.

People before the public live an imagined life in the thought of others, and flourish or feel faint as their self outside themselves grows bright or dwindles in that mirror.

The test of enjoyment is the remembrance which it leaves behind.

To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?"

If we shake hands with icy fingers, it is because we've burnt them so hatefully before.

Retreat hell! We just got here!

The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right.

To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave the way the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and stay sober.

A best-seller is the golden touch of mediocre talent.

If we're told that an odd piece of our china is worth a hundred pounds, - how rare its beauty!

Self-respecting people do not care to peep at their reflections in unexpected mirrors, or to see themselves as others see them.

The truth is that the phenomena of artistic production are still so obscure, so baffling, we are still so far from an accurate scientific and psychological knowledge of their genesis or meaning, that we are forced to accept them as empirical facts; and empirical and non-explanatory names are the names that suit them best. The complete explanation of any fact is the very last step in human thought; and it is reached, as I have said, if indeed it is ever reached, by the preliminary processes of recognition, designation, and definition. It is with these preliminary processes that our aesthetic criticism is still occupied.

We need new friends. Some of us are cannibals who have eaten their old friends up; others must have ever-renewed audiences before whom to re-enact an ideal version of their lives.

A slight touch of friendly malice and amusement towards those we love keeps our affections for them from turning flat.

If you are losing your leisure, look out, you may be losing your soul.

Shopping: I like to walk down Bond Street, thinking of all the things I don't want.

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Logan Pearsall
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American-born English Essayist, Critic and Man of Letters