Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Dean Howells

American Novelist, Poet, Editor and Critic

"Primitive societies without religion have never been found."

"The secret of the man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested."

"It is the still voice that the soul heeds; not the deafening blasts of doom."

"A man never sees all that his mother has been to him till it's too late to let her know that he sees it."

"Inequality is as dear to the American heart as liberty itself."

"It is the curse of prosperity that it takes work away from us, and shuts that door to hope and health of spirit."

"The disposition to give a cup of cold water to a disciple is a far nobler property than the finest intellect. Satan has a fine intellect, but not the image of God."

"The secret of a man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested."

"Live all you can. It's a mistake not to. It doesn't matter what you do -- but live. This place makes it all come over me. I see it now. I haven't done so -- and now I'm old. It's too late. It has gone past me -- I've lost it. You have time. You are young. Live!"

"Absolutely, so positively, so almost aggressively truthful."

"Abstract, the air-drawn, afflicted me like physical discomforts."

"Account of one's reading is an account of one's life."

"Adroitness in flattery is not necessary for its successful use."

"Affections will not be bidden."

"Aim at nothing higher than the amusement of your readers."

"Air of looking down on the highest."

"All civilization comes through literature now, especially in our country. A Greek got his civilization by talking and looking, and in some measure a Parisian may still do it. But we, who live remote from history and monuments, we must read or we must barbarise."

"All in all to each other."

"Always sumptuously providing out of his destitution."

"Amiable perception, and yet with a sort of remote absence."

"Amiably satirical."

"An acre of performance is worth a whole world of promise."

"And the names he loved to hear have been carved for many a year on the tomb."

"Any man's country could get on without him."

"Appeal, which he had come to recognize as invasive."

"Artist has seasons, as trees, when he cannot blossom."

"Authors I must call my masters."

"Became gratefully strange."

"Beginning to grow old with touching courage."

"Begun to fight with want from their cradles."

"Best talkers are willing that you should talk if you like."

"Boldest man is commonly a little behind a timid woman."

"Book that they are content to know at second hand."

"Browbeat wholesome common-sense into the self-distrust."

"Business to take advantage of his necessity."

"But now I remember that he gets twenty dollars a month."

"Buzz of activities and pretenses."

"Capriciousness of memory: what it will hold and what lose."

"Chained to the restless pursuit of an ideal not his own"

"Christianity had done nothing to improve morals and conditions."

"Church: "Oh yes, I go! It 'most kills me, but I go"."

"Clemens was sole, incomparable, the Lincoln of our literature."

"Collective opacity."

"Comfort from the thought that most things cannot be helped."

"Competition has deformed human nature."

"Composed her features and her ideas to receive her visitor."

"Concerning popularity as a test of merit in a book."

"Conditions of hucksters imposed upon poets."

"Contemptible he found our pseudo-equality."

"Could easily believe now that it was someone else who saw it."