Great Throughts Treasury

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

Leo Stein

American Journalist, Art Collector and Critic

"A temporary compromise is a diplomatic act, but a permanent compromise is the abandonment of a goal."

"Almost all art cycles are short in their development though often long in their degeneration."

"The perfect method of learning is analogous to infection. It enters and spreads."

"The chief value of history, if it is critically studied, is to break down the illusion that peoples are very different."

"One feels free within one's own limitations, but not within the limitations imposed by others."

"Boredom is an emptiness filled with insistence."

"The wise man questions the wisdom of others because he questions his own, the foolish man because of its different from his own."

"To be intelligent is to be open-minded, active-memoried, and persistently experimental."

"I know of only one mystical poem that is satisfactorily successful, The Obscure Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross. In that amazing poem, what is said counts for almost nothing, but is sublimated into the purposed significance. The artist does not intend to go so far as that, but in seeking an incorruptible unity, he is always something of a mystic. Unlike the mystic, he clings to the world of things, though he transmutes it. He can never say the whole of what he means, but the mystic cannot say at all what he means; for his meaning is something singular and indivisible, something absolute in its inexpressibility. The simple lover in Cyrano can only say "I love you," but the poet Cyrano can say the same thing in a hundred elaborate ways."

"Poetry is adjectives expressed in nouns"

"Art is nature seen in the light of its formal significance."

"Since there are only a few original people in the world, there is more uniformity than one might expect, in view of the large number who think they have something to say"