Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Affectation

"Great cultural changes begin in affectation and end in routine." -

"Affectation proceeds from one of these two causes - vanity or hypocrisy; for as vanity puts us on affecting false characters, in order to purchase applause; so hypocrisy sets us on an endeavor to avoid censure, by concealing our vices under an appearance of their opposite virtues." - Henry Fielding

"Affectation in any part of our carriage is lighting up a candle to see our defects, and never fails to make us taken notice of, either as wanting sense or sincerity." - John Locke

"Affectation is an awkward and forced Imitation of what should be genuine and easy, wanting the Beauty that accompanies what is natural." - John Locke

"The tone of good conversation is brilliant and natural; it is neither tedious nor frivolous; it is instructive without pedantry, gay without tumultuousness, polished without affectation, gallant without insipidity, waggish without equivocation." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"It is remarkable that great affectation and great absence of it (unconsciousness) are at first sight very similar; they are both apt to produce singularity." - Richard Whately

"Vanity is the foundation of the most ridiculous and contemptible vices - the vices of affectation and common lying." - Adam Smith

"Some are atheists by neglect; others are so by affectation; they that think there is no God at some times do not think so at all times." - Benjamin Whichcote

"Affectation is a greater enemy to the face than smallpox." - English Proverbs

"In politics, religion is now a name; in art, a hypocrisy or affectation." - John Ruskin

"Paltry affectation, strained allusions, and disgusting finery are easily attained by those who choose to wear them; they are but too frequently the badges of ignorance or of stupidity, whenever it would endeavor to please." - Oliver Goldsmith

"False wit is a fatiguing search after cunning traits, an affectation of saying in enigmas what others have already said naturally, to hang together ideas which are incompatible, to divide that which ought to be united, of seizing false relations." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"Envy is the most universal passion. We only pride ourselves on the qualities owe possess, or think we possess; but we envy the pretensions we have, and those which we have not, and do not even wish for. We envy the greatest qualities and every trifling advantage. We envy the most ridiculous appearance or affectation of superiority. We envy folly and conceit; nay, we go so far as to envy whatever confers distinction of notoriety, even vice and infamy." - William Hazlitt

"Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood." -

"I wish to use my last hours of ease and strength in telling the strange story of my experience. I have never fully unbosomed myself to any human being; I have never been encouraged to trust much in the sympathy of my fellow-men. But we have all a chance of meeting with some pity, some tenderness, some charity, when we are dead: it is the living only who cannot be forgiven — the living only from whom men's indulgence and reverence are held off, like the rain by the hard east wind. While the heart beats, bruise it — it is your only opportunity; while the eye can still turn towards you with moist, timid entreaty, freeze it with an icy unanswering gaze; while the ear, that delicate messenger to the inmost sanctuary of the soul, can still take in the tones of kindness, put it off with hard civility, or sneering compliment, or envious affectation of indifference; while the creative brain can still throb with the sense of injustice, with the yearning for brotherly recognition — make haste — oppress it with your ill-considered judgements, your trivial comparisons, your careless misrepresentations." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"Great cultural changes begin in affectation and end in routine." - Jacques Barzun, fully Jacques Martin Barzun

"Avoid all affectation and singularity. What is according to nature is best, and what is contrary to it is always distasteful. Nothing is graceful that is not our own." - Jeremy Collier

"There are moments when society people seem ready to be assessed at their true value. I've often noticed that they appreciate those who show little regard for them, which seems a sort of invitation to express your contempt openly, providing you do it sincerely, without affectation of ignorance, and from the heart." - Nicolas Chamfort,fully Sébastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort, also spelled Nicholas

"You must be respectful and assenting, but without being servile and abject. You must be frank, but without indiscretion, and close, without being costive. You must keep up dignity of character, without the least pride of birth, or rank. You must be gay, within all the bounds of decency and respect; and grave, without the affectation of wisdom, which does not become the age of twenty. You must be essentially secret, without being dark and mysterious. You must be firm, and even bold, but with great seeming modesty." - Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"Great affectation and great absence of it are at first sight very similar." - Richard Whately

"A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Late-learning would seem to mean the pursuit of exercises for which one is too old." - Theophrastus NULL

"Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self..We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves. Contemplation is not and cannot be a function of this external self. There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular. Our reality, our true self, is hidden in what appears to us to be nothingness... We can rise above this unreality and recover our hidden reality... God Himself begins to live in me not only as my Creator but as my other and true self." - Thomas Merton

"He wanted to know how they prayed to God in El Dorado. We do not pray to him at all, said the reverend sage. We have nothing to ask of him. He has given us all we want, and we give him thanks continually." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"It seems unspeakably important that all persons among us, and especially the student and the writer, should be pervaded with Americanism. Americanism includes the faith that national self-government is not a chimera, but that, with whatever inconsistencies and drawbacks, we are steadily establishing it here. It includes the faith that to this good thing all other good things must in time be added. When a man is heartily imbued with such a national sentiment as this, it is as marrow in his bones and blood in his veins. He may still need culture, but he has the basis of all culture. He is entitled to an imperturbable patience and hopefulness, born of a living faith. All that is scanty in our intellectual attainments, or poor in our artistic life, may then be cheerfully endured: if a man sees his house steadily rising on sure foundations, he can wait or let his children wait for the cornice and the frieze. But if one happens to be born or bred in America without this wholesome confidence, there is no happiness for him; he has his alternative between being unhappy at home and unhappy abroad; it is a choice of martyrdoms for himself, and a certainty of martyrdom for his friends." - Thomas Wentworth Higginson