Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"All great art contains at its center contemplation, a dynamic contemplation. " - Susan Sontag

"Certain artists and critics attacked me for painting the ‘Woman’, but I felt that this was their problem, not mine. I don’t really feel like a non-objective painter at all… …It’s really absurd to make an image, like a human image. With paint, today, when you think about it, since we have this problem of doing it or not doing it. But then all of a sudden it was even more absurd not to do it. So I fear I have to follow my desires." - Willem de Kooning

"The artist fills space with an attitude. The attitude never comes from himself alone." - Willem de Kooning

"A human being is the best computer available to place in a spacecraft. . . It is also the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor." - Wernher von Braun, fully Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun

"A craftsman knows in advance what the finished result will be, while the artist knows only what it will be when he has finished it. But it is unbecoming in an artist to talk about inspiration; that is the reader's business." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"For my nymphet I needed a diminutive with a lyrical lilt to it. One of the most limpid and luminous letters is L. The suffix -ita has a lot of Latin tenderness, and this I required too. Hence: Lolita. However, it should not be pronounced as you and most Americans pronounce it: Low-lee-ta, with a heavy, clammy L and a long o. No, the first syllable should be as in lollipop, the L liquid and delicate, the lee not too sharp. Spaniards and Italians pronounce it, of course, with exactly the necessary note of archness and caress. Another consideration was the welcome murmur of its source name, the fountain name: those roses and tears in Dolores. My little girl's heartrending fate had to be taken into account together with the cuteness and limpidity. Dolores also provided her with another, plainer, more familiar and infantile diminutive: Dolly, which went nicely with the surname Haze, where Irish mists blend with a German bunny—I mean, a small German hare." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"There are teachers and students with square minds who are by nature meant to undergo the fascination of categories. For them, 'schools' and 'movements' are everything; by painting a group symbol on the brow of mediocrity, they condone their own incomprehension of true genius." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"A growing body of clinical observation has pointed to the conclusion that the family therapy must be oriented to the family as a whole." - Virginia Satir

"Don't make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up." - Thomas J. Watson, fully Thomas John Watson, Sr.

"Every time we've moved ahead in IBM, it was because someone was willing to take a chance, put his head on the block, and try something new." - Thomas J. Watson, Jr., fully Thomas John Watson, Jr.

"The basis on which good repute in any highly organized industrial community ultimately rests is pecuniary strength; and the means of showing pecuniary strength, and so of gaining or retaining a good name, are leisure and a conspicuous consumption of goods." - Thorstein Veblen, fully Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen

"The dog commends himself to our favor by affording play to our propensity for mastery" - Thorstein Veblen, fully Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen

"The superior gratification derived from the use and contemplation of costly and supposedly beautiful products is, commonly, in great measure a gratification of our sense of costliness masquerading under the name of beauty." - Thorstein Veblen, fully Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen

"Speak but one word to me over the corn, over the tender, bowed locks of the corn." - William Morris

"An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along; he must offer some little opposition. Even the great Victorian artists were all anti-Victorian, despite the pressures to conform." - Evelyn Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh

"I can never understand how two men can write a book together; to me, that's like three people getting together to have a baby." - Evelyn Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh