Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

American Novelist, Short-Story Writer and Journalist

""A Farewell To Arms"; that is the great fallacy; the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful."

"It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."

"What is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was."

"Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the function of the imagination."

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

"Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead."

"The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places."

"A man can be destroyed but not defeated. "

"All things truly wicked start from innocence. "

"As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary. "

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. "

"I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

"Never confuse movement with action. "

"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists. "

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within begins to live more simply without. "

"Wars are caused by undefended wealth. "

"Why should anybody be interested in some old man who was a failure?"

"Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another"

"All thinking men are atheists."

"When you start to live outside yourself, it's all dangerous."

"But life isn't hard to manage when you've nothing to lose"

"Hesitation increases in relation to risk in equal proportion to age. "

"A bottle of wine was good company."

"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not."

"A girl came in the cafe and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain-freshened skin, and her hair was black as a crow's wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek. I looked at her and she disturbed me and made me very excited. I wished I could put her in the story, or anywhere, but she had placed herself so she could watch the street and the entry and I knew she was waiting for someone. So I went on writing."

"A man must comport himself as a man. He must fight always preferably and soundly with the odds in his favor but on necessity against any sort of odds and with no thought of the outcome. He should follow his tribal laws and customs insofar as he can and accept the tribal discipline when he cannot. But it is never a reproach that he has kept a child's heart, a child's honesty and a child's freshness and nobility."

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."

"A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl."

"A severed femoral artery empties itself faster than you can believe."

"A wine shop was open and I went in for some coffee. It smelled of early morning, of swept dust, spoons in coffee-glasses and the wet circles left by wine glasses."

"A writer can be compared to a well. There are as many kinds of wells as there are writers. The important thing is to have good water in the well, and it is better to take a regular amount out than to pump the well dry and wait for it to refill."

"A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it."

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

"Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates."

"Actually if a writer needs a dictionary he should not write. He should have read the dictionary at least three times from beginning to end and then have loaned it to someone who needs it. There are only certain words which are valid and similies (bring me my dictionary) are like defective ammunition (the lowest thing I can think of at this time)."

"After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain."

"After the completion of the book I feel emotionally exhausted. If you do not happen to you, you will not be able to transfer feelings to your reader."

"After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love."

"Age is my alarm clock, the old man said. Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?"

"All a man has is pride. Sometimes you have it so much it is a sin. We have all done things for pridethat we knew were impossible. We didn't care. But a man must implement his pride with intelligence and care."

"All art is only done by the individual. The individual is all you ever have and all schools only serve to classify their members as failures."

"All cowardice comes from not truly loving, or at least, not loving well."

"All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened."

"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."

"All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time."

"All our words from loose using have lost their edge."

"All right. Have it your own way. Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs. Not my fault."

"All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you."

"All the critics who could not make their reputations by discovering you are hoping to make them by predicting hopefully your approaching impotence, failure and general drying up of natural juices. Not a one will wish you luck or hope that you will keep on writing unless you have political affiliations in which case these will rally around and speak of you and Homer, Balzac, Zola and Link Steffens."