Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Dean Howells

American Novelist, Poet, Editor and Critic

"Not possible for Clemens to write like anybody else."

"Not quite himself till he had made you aware of his quality."

"Nothing in the way of sport, as people commonly understand it."

"Novels hurt because they are not true."

"Now death has come to join its vague conjectures."

"Now I know that so long as we have social inequality we shall have snobs; we shall have men who bully and truckle, and women who snub and crawl. I know that it is futile to, spurn them, or lash them for trying to get on in the world, and that the world is what it must be from the selfish motives which underlie our economic life."

"Now little notion what it was about, but I love its memory."

"NYC, a city where money counts for more and goes for less."

"Odious hilarity, without meaning and without remission."

"Offers mortifyingly mean, and others insultingly vague."

"Old man's disposition to speak of his infirmities."

"Old man's tendency to revert to the past."

"One could be openly poor in Cambridge without open shame."

"Only one concerned who was quite unconcerned."

"Openly depraved by shows of wealth."

"Ought not to call coarse without calling one's self prudish."

"Our huckstering civilization."

"Our theory of disaster, of sorrow, of affliction, borrowed from the poets and novelist, is that it is incessant; but every passage in our own lives and in the lives of others, so far as we have witnessed them, teaches us that this is false. The house of mourning is decorously darkened to the world, but within itself it is also the house of laughing. Burst of gaiety, as heartfelt as its grief, relieve the gloom, and the stricken survivors have their jest together, in which the thought of the dead is tenderly involved, and a fond sense, not crazier than many others, of sympathy and enjoyment beyond the silence, justifies the sunnier mood before sorrow rushes back, deploring and despairing, and make it all up again with the conventional fitness of things."

"Outer integument of pretense."

"Passive elegance which only ancestral uselessness can give."

"Pathetic hopefulness."

"Pathos of revolt from the colorless rigidities."

"People have never had ideals, but only moods and fashions."

"People naturally despise a dependent."

"People of wealth and fashion always dissemble their joy."

"People whom we think unequal to their good fortune."

"Picture which, he said to himself, no one would believe in."

"Plagiarism carries inevitable detection with it."

"Plain industry and plodding perseverance are despised."

"Plain-speaking or Rude Speaking."

"Pointed the moral in all they did."

"Polite learning hesitated his praise."

"Praised extravagantly, and in the wrong place."

"Praised it enough to satisfy the author."

"Prejudice against certain words that I cannot overcome."

"Provisional reprehension of possible shiftlessness."


"Public whose taste is so crude that they cannot enjoy the best."

"Public wish to be amused rather than edified."

"Put your finger on the present moment and enjoy it."

"Quiet but rather dull look of people slightly deaf."

"Rapture of the new convert could not last."

"Real aristocracy is above social prejudice."

"Reformers, who are so often tedious and ridiculous."

"Refused to see us as we see ourselves."

"Reparation due from every white to every black man."

"Responsibility of finding him all we have been told he is."

"Rogues in every walk of life."

"Satirical smile with which men witness the effusion of women."

"Secret of the man who is universally interesting."