Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Max Beerbohm, fully Sir Henry Maximilian "Max" Beerbohm

English Essayist, Caricaturist and Parodist

"When hospitality becomes an art, it loses its very soul."

"To say that a man is vain simply means that he is pleased with the effect he produces on other people. A conceited man is satisfied with the effect he produces on himself."

"It is easier to confess a defect than to claim a quality."

"No fine work can be done without concentration and self-sacrifice and toil and doubt."

"A crowd, proportionately to its size, magnifies all that in its units pertains to the emotions, and diminishes all that in them pertains to thought."

"A hundred eyes were fixed on her, and half as many hearts lost to her."

"After all, as a pretty girl once said to me, women are a sex by themselves, so to speak."

"All fantasy should have a solid base in reality."

"Anything that is worth doing has been done frequently. Things hitherto undone should be given, I suspect, a wide berth."

"As a teacher, as a propagandist, Mr. Shaw is no good at all, even in his own generation. But as a personality, he is immortal."

"But beauty and the lust for learning have yet to be allied."

"But the dullard's envy of brilliant men is always assuaged by the suspicion that they will come to a bad end."

"Good sense about trivialities is better than nonsense about things that matter."

"Humility is a virtue, and it is a virtue innate in guests."

"I have known no man of genius who had not to pay, in some affliction or defect either physical or spiritual, for what the gods had given him."

"I need no dictionary of quotations to remind me that the eyes are the windows of the soul."

"I was a modest, good-humored boy. It is Oxford that has made me insufferable."

"Incongruity is the mainspring of laughter."

"It seems to be a law of nature that no man ever is loth to sit for his portrait."

"It seems to be a law of nature that no man, unless he has some obvious physical deformity, ever is loth to sit for his portrait."

"Mankind is divisible into two great classes: hosts and guests."

"Men of genius are not quick judges of character. Deep thinking and high imagining blunt that trivial instinct by which you and I size people up."

"Most women are not as young as they are painted."

"No Roman ever was able to say, 'I dined last night with the Borgias'."

"Nobody ever died of laughter."

"Not that I had any special reason for hating school. Strange as it may seem to my readers, I was not unpopular there. I was a modest, good-humored boy. It is Oxford that has made me insufferable."

"Of all the objects of hatred, a woman once loved is the most hateful."

"One might well say that mankind is divisible into two great classes: hosts and guests."

"Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best."

"Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best. Sir Max Beerbohm"

"People are either born hosts or born guests."

"People who insist on telling their dreams are among the terrors of the breakfast table."

"She was one of the people who say I don't know anything about music really, but I know what I like."

"Some people are born to lift heavy weights, some are born to juggle golden balls."

"Strange when you come to think of it, that of all the countless folk who have lived before our time on this planet not one is known in history for in legend as having died of laughter."

"The delicate balance between modesty and conceit is popularity."

"The dullard's envy of brilliant men is always assuaged by the suspicion that they will come to a bad end."

"The most perfect caricature is that which, on a small surface, with the simplest means, most accurately exaggerates, to the highest point, the peculiarities of a human being, at his most characteristic moment in the most beautiful manner."

"The Non-Conformist Conscience makes cowards of us all."

"The past is a work of art, free of irrelevancies and loose ends."

"There is much to be said for failure. It is much more interesting than success."

"To destroy is still the strongest instinct in nature."

"To give an accurate and exhaustive account of that period would need a far less brilliant pen than mine."

"To give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving."

"To mankind in general Macbeth and Lady Macbeth stand out as the supreme type of all that a host and hostess should not be."

"We must stop talking about the American dream and start listening to the dreams of Americans."

"You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men."

"You will find my last words in the blue folder."

"You will find that the woman who is really kind to dogs is always one who has failed to inspire sympathy in men."

"Zuleika, on a desert island, would have spent most of her time in looking for a man's footprint."