Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Peter De Vries

American Author, Editor and Novelist

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults."

"Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults."

"A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after."

"It is the final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us."

"The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination, but the combination is locked up in the safe."

"Before the mind snaps, or the heart breaks, it gathers itself like a clock about to strike. It might even be said one pulls himself together to disintegrate. "

"Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us."

"Celibacy is the worst form of self-abuse."

"Everybody hates me because I'm so universally liked. "

"He resented such questions as people do who have thought a great deal about them. The superficial and slipshod have ready answers, but those looking this complex life straight in the eye acquire a wealth of perception so composed of delicately balanced contradictions that they dread, or resent, the call to couch any part of it in a bland generalization. The vanity (if not outrage) of trying to cage this dance of atoms in a single definition may give the weariness of age with the cry of youth for answers the appearance of boredom. "

"Confession is good for the soul only in the sense that a tweed coat is good for dandruff - it is a palliative rather than a remedy."

"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paper work. "

"I wanted to be bored to death, as good a way to go as any."

"Human nature is pretty shabby stuff, as you may know from introspection. "

"I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning."

"Let us hope, that a kind Providence will put a speedy end to the acts of God under which we have been laboring."

"I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school."

"Life is a zoo in a jungle."

"Murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums."

"My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too."

"Pain is the question mark turned like a fishhook in the human heart."

"Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."

"The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds, they mature slowly."

"The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character."

"The idea of a Supreme Being who creates a world in which one creature is designed to eat another in order to subsist, and then pass a law saying, Thou shalt not kill, is so monstrously, immeasurably, bottomlessly absurd that I am at a loss to understand how mankind has entertained or given it house room all this long. "

"There are times when parenthood seems nothing more than feeding the hand that bites you."

"The rich aren't like us, they pay less taxes."

"We are not primarily put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through. "

"What baffles me is the comfort people find in the idea that somebody dealt this mess. Blind and meaningless chance seems to me so much more congenial - or at least less horrible. Prove to me that there is a God and I will really begin to despair. "

"The tuba is certainly the most intestinal of instruments, the very lower bowel of music."

"We must love one another, yes, yes, that's all true enough, but nothing says we have to like each other. It may be the very recognition of all men as our brothers that accounts for the sibling rivalry, and even enmity, we have toward so many of them."

"What people believe is a measure of what they suffer. "

"Words fashioned with somewhat over precise diction are like shapes turned out by a cookie cutter."

"Anyone informed that the universe is expanding and contracting in pulsations of eighty billion years has a right to ask. What's in it for me?"

"Every novel should have a beginning, a muddle, and an end."

"When I can no longer bear to think of the victims of broken homes, I begin to think of the victims of intact ones."

"I made a tentative conclusion. It seemed from all of this that uppermost among human joys is the negative one of restoration: not going to the stars, but learning that one may stay where one is."

"Life is a crowded superhighway with bewildering cloverleaf exits on which a man is liable to find himself speeding back in the direction he came."

"The murals in restaurants are on par with the food in museums."

"The satirist shoots to kill while the humorist brings his prey back alive and eventually releases him again for another chance."

"I am not impressed by the Ivy League establishments. Of course they graduate the best -- it's all they'll take, leaving to others the problem of educating the country. They will give you an education the way the banks will give you money -- provided you can prove to their satisfaction that you don't need it.?"

"How I hate this world. I would like to tear it apart with my own two hands if I could. I would like to dismantle the universe star by star, like a tree full of rotten fruit. Nor do I believe in progress. A vermin-eaten saint scratching his filth for heaven is better off than you damned in clean linen. Progress doubles our tenure in a vale of tears. Man is a mistake, to be corrected only by his abolition, which he gives promise of seeing to himself. Oh, let him pass, and leave the earth to the flowers that carpet the earth wherever he explodes his triumphs. Man is inconsolable, thanks to that eternal Why? when there is no Why, that question mark twisted like a fishhook in the human heart. Let there be light, we cry, and only the dawn breaks."

"Human nature is pretty shabby stuff, as you may know from introspection."

"There's nothing wrong with a scatterbrained woman as long as it's brains that she's scattering."

"Marriage is to courting as humming is to singing."

"Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation ? the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline."

"We all learn by experience but some of us have to go to summer school."

"We turned on one another deep, drowned gazes, and exchanged a kiss that reduced my bones to rubber and my brain to gruel."

"We live this life by a kind of conspiracy of grace: the common assumption, or pretense, that human existence is 'good' or 'matters' or has 'meaning,' a glaze of charm or humor by which we conceal from one another and perhaps even ourselves the suspicion that it does not, and our conviction in times of trouble that it is overpriced - something to be endured rather than enjoyed."

"Why is the awfulness of families such a popular reason for starting another?"