Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Romance cannot be put into quantity production - the moment love becomes casual, it becomes commonplace." - Eric Lewis, aka ELEW

"In a great romance, each person basically plays a part that the other really likes." -

"In the meanest hut is a romance, if you but knew the hearts there." - von Ense, fully Karl August Varnhagen von Ense

"Life is a romantic business. It is painting a picture, not doing a sum; but you have to make the romance, and it will come to the question how much fire you have in your belly." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Romance is an everlasting longing." - Molly Losey

"Romance cannot be put into quantity production - the moment love becomes casual; it becomes commonplace." - Kenneth Lewis Allen

"Passion is universal humanity. With it religion, history, romance and art would be useless." - Honoré de Balzac

"All history is but a romance unless it is studied as an example." - George Croly

"In the meanest hut is a romance, if you knew the hearts there." - Varnhagen von Ense, fully Karl August Varnhagen von Ense

"Imagination, whatever may be said to the contrary, will always hold a place in history, as truth does in romance. Has not romance been penned with history in view?" - Arsène Houssaye

"All history, so far as it is unsupported by contemporary evidence, is romance." -

"Whatever you do, put romance and enthusiasm into the life of our children." - Margaret MacDonald, née Margaret Ethel Gladstone

"Love is like a charming romance which is read with avidity, and often with such impatience that many pages are skipped to reach the denouement sooner." - Sylvain Maréchal

"Men always want to be a woman's first love, women like to be a man's last romance." -

"To love one's self is the beginning of a life-long romance." -

"Does not the history of the world show that there would have been no romance in life if there had been no risks?" - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"Human existence has no such simple and direct meaning or goodness as the humanistic American dream... A comfortable chair, a hi-fi set, a pwoerful car, the protection of a deoderant, a college romance and a paying job, cannot even in combination provide meaning for our life." - Langdon Gilkey, fully Langdon Brown Gilkey

"The nearer my approach to the end, the plainer is the sound of immortal symphonies of worlds which invite me. It is wonderful yet simple. It is a fairy tale; it is history. For half a century I have been translating my thoughts into prose and verse; history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode and song; all of these I have tried. But I feel that I haven’t given utterance to the thousandth part of what lies within me. When I go to the grave I can say as others have said, “My day’s work is done.” But I cannot say, “My life is done.” My day’s work will recommence the next morning. the tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes upon the twilight, but opens upon the dawn." - Victor Hugo

"Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women like to be a man's last romance." -

"The essence of romance is uncertainty." -

"War is no longer a lively adventure or expedition into romance, matching man against man in the test of the stout-hearted. Instead, it is aimed against the cities mankind has built. Its goal is their total destruction and devastation." - Dwight Eisenhower, fully Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower

"Sometimes there are living beings in nature as beautiful as in romance. Reality surpasses imagination; and we see breathing, brightening, and moving before our eyes sights dearer to our hearts than any we ever beheld in the land of sleep." - Jane Austen

"We need to realize that money is not the ultimate power of the world. It is not money itself, but the love of money that is the root of all evil. If you let this love blot out courage, work, art, romance - then you are closing yourself into a narrower and narrower cage." - Lewis H. Lapham

"To love one's self is the beginning of a life-long romance." - Oscar Wilde, pen name for Fingal O'Flahertie Wills

"When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self; and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance." - Oscar Wilde, pen name for Fingal O'Flahertie Wills

"The essence of romance is uncertainty." - Oscar Wilde, pen name for Fingal O'Flahertie Wills

"The life of man is the true romance, which when it is valiantly conduced, will yield the imagination a higher joy than any fiction." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If the romance does not become a fact, at least the fact can become a romance." - Theodor Herzl, born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl

"Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening." - Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson

"Life becomes meaningful and all activities are purposeful only on the basis of faith in the enduring reality. … The greatest romance possible in life is to discover this Eternal Reality in the midst of infinite change. Once, one has experienced this, one sees oneself in everything that lives, one recognises all of life as his life, everybody's interests as his own. One is no longer bound by habits of the past, no longer swayed by the hopes of the future — One lives in and enjoys each present moment to the full. There is no greater romance in life than this adventure in realization." - Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani

"The ideal of romantic love stands in opposition to much of our history, as we shall see. First of all, it is individualistic. It rejects the view of human beings as interchangeable units, and it attaches the highest importance to individual differences as well as to individual choice. Romantic love is egoistic, in the philosophical, not in the petty, sense. Egoism as a philosophical doctrine holds that self-realization and personal happiness are the moral goals of life, and romantic love is motivated by the desire for personal happiness. Romantic love is secular. In its union of physical with spiritual pleasure in sex and love, as well as in its union of romance and daily life, romantic love is a passionate commitment to this earth and to the exalted happiness that life on earth can offer." - Nathaniel Branden

"Painting is the most beautiful of all arts. In it, all sensations are condensed, at its aspect everyone may create romance at the will of his imagination, and at a glance have his soul invaded by the most profound memories, no efforts of memory, everything summed up in one moment. Complete art which sums up all the others and completes them." - Paul Gaugin, fully Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin

"The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance - the idea that anything is possible." - Ray Bradbury, fully Ray Douglas Bradbury

"Genius is unquestionably a great trial, when it takes the romantic form, and genius and romance are so associated in the public mind that many people recognize no other kind. There are other forms of genius, of course, and though they create their own problems, they are not impossible people. But O, how deeply we should thank God for these impossible people like Berlioz and Dylan Thomas! What a weary, grey, well-ordered, polite, unendurable hell this would be without them!" - Robertson Davies

"`Let us now praise famous men' - / Men of little showing - / For their work continueth, / And their work continueth, / Broad and deep continueth, / Greater than their knowing!" - Rudyard Kipling

"As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify." - Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

"Hitherto every civilization that has arisen has been able to develop only a comparatively few activities; that is, its field of endeavor has been limited in kind as well as in locality. There have, of course, been great movements, but they were of practically only one form of activity; and, although usually this set in motion other kinds of activities, such was not always the case. The great religious movements have been the pre-eminent examples of this type. But they are not the only ones. Such peoples as the Mongols and the Phoenicians, at almost opposite poles of cultivation, have represented movements in which one element, military or commercial, so overshadowed all other elements that the movement died out chiefly because it was one-sided. The extraordinary outburst of activity among the Mongols of the thirteenth century was almost purely a military movement, without even any great administrative side; and it was therefore well-nigh purely a movement of destruction. The individual prowess and hardihood of the Mongols, and the perfection of their military organization rendered their armies incomparably superior to those of any European, or any other Asiatic, power of that day. They conquered from the Yellow Sea to the Persian Gulf and the Adriatic; they seized the imperial throne of China; they slew the Caliph in Bagdad; they founded dynasties in India. The fanaticism of Christianity and the fanaticism of Mohammedanism were alike powerless against them. The valor of the bravest fighting men in Europe was impotent to check them. They trampled Russia into bloody mire beneath the hoofs of their horses; they drew red furrows of destruction across Poland and Hungary; they overthrew with ease any force from western Europe that dared encounter them. Yet they had no root of permanence; their work was mere evil while it lasted, and it did not last long; and when they vanished they left hardly a trace behind them. So the extraordinary Phoenician civilization was almost purely a mercantile, a business civilization, and though it left an impress on the life that came after, this impress was faint indeed compared to that left, for instance, by the Greeks with their many-sided development. Yet the Greek civilization itself fell because this many-sided development became too exclusively one of intellect, at the expense of character, at the expense of the fundamental qualities which fit men to govern both themselves and others. When the Greek lost the sterner virtues, when his soldiers lost the fighting edge, and his statesmen grew corrupt, while the people became a faction-torn and pleasure-loving rabble, then the doom of Greece was at hand, and not all their cultivation, their intellectual brilliancy, their artistic development, their adroitness in speculative science, could save the Hellenic peoples as they bowed before the sword of the iron Roman." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"No amount of ability is of the slightest avail without honor." - Thomas Carlyle

"Bodily agitation, then, is an enemy to the spirit. And by agitation I do not necessarily mean exercise or movement. There is all the difference in the world between agitation and work. Work occupies the body and the mind and is necessary for the health of the spirit. Work can help us to pray and be recollected if we work properly. Agitation, however, destroys the spiritual usefulness of work and even tends to frustrate its physical and social purpose. Agitation is the useless and ill-directed action of the body. It expresses the inner confusion of a soul without peace. Work brings peace to the soul that has a semblance of order and spiritual understanding. It helps the soul to focus upon its spiritual aims and to achieve them. But the whole reason for agitation is to hide the soul from itself, to camouflage its interior conflicts and their purposelessness, and to induce a false feeling that 'we are getting somewhere'." - Thomas Merton

"I am aware of many things being quite as important as good writing and good reading; but in all things it is wiser to go directly to the quiddity, to the text, to the source, to the essence—and only then evolve whatever theories may tempt the philosopher, or the historian, or merely please the spirit of the day. Readers are born free and ought to remain free." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Spontaneous eloquence seems to me a miracle." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Just as a sailor's fate depends on knowing that the bulk of the iceberg is under the water, so a family's fate depends on understanding the feelings and needs that lie beneath everyday family events." - Virginia Satir

"The thing about Proust is his combination of the utmost sensibility with the utmost tenacity. He searches out these butterfly shades to the last grain. He is as tough as catgut and as evanescent as a butterfly’s bloom." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"We are used to the actions of human beings, not to their stillness." - V. S. Pritchett, fully Sir Victor Sawdon Pritchett

"He kept at true good humour''s mark The social flow of pleasure''s tide: He never made a brow look dark, Nor caused a tear, but when he died." - Thomas Love Peacock

"There are two reasons for drinking: one is, when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it." - Thomas Love Peacock

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it." - Thucydides NULL

"Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defense. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries." - Thucydides NULL

"Gods and men create one another, destroy one another, though by different means." - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"I have never been in any rich man's home that would not have looked the better for having a bonfire made of nine-tenths of all it held." - William Morris