Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"In the Queen's prayerbook, along with the blood-stain, was also a lock of hair and a crumb of pastry; Orlando now added to these keepsakes a flake of tobacco, and so, reading and smoking, was moved by the humane jumble of them all--the hair, the pastry, the blood-stain, the tobacco--to such a mood of contemplation as gave her a reverent air suitable in the circumstances, though she had, it is said, no traffic with the usual God." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Literature is open to everybody. I refuse to allow you, Beadle though you are, to turn me off the grass. Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt, that you can set upon the freedom of my mind." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Other people have faces; Susan and Jinny have faces; they are here. Their world is the real world. The things they lift are heavy. They say ‘Yes’, they say ‘No’; whereas I shift and change and am seen through in a second. If they meet a housemaid she looks at them without laughing. But she laughs at me. They know what to say if spoken to. They laugh really; they get angry really; while I have to look first and do what other people do when they have done it." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"The weight of the world is on our shoulders, its vision is through our eyes; if we blink or look aside, or turn back to finger what Plato said or remember Napoleon and his conquests, we inflict on the world the injury of some obliquity. This is life." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"There is no stability in this world. Who is to say what meaning there is in anything? Who is to foretell the flight of a word? It is a balloon that sails over tree-tops. To speak of knowledge is futile. All is experiment and adventure. We are forever mixing ourselves with unknown quantities. What is to come? I know not. But, as I put down my glass I remember; I am engaged to be married. I am to dine with my friends tonight. I am Bernard." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"This is one of the tortures and miseries of life: our friends when they are unable to finish their stories." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"What did it mean to her, this thing she called life? Oh, it was very queer." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"It is genius that brings into being, and it is taste that preserves. Without taste genius is nought but sublime folly." - François-René de Chateaubriand, fully François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand

"Love almost replaces thought. Love is a burning forgetfulness of everything else." - Victor Hugo

"The Canadian spirit is cautious, observant and critical where the American is assertive." - V. S. Pritchett, fully Sir Victor Sawdon Pritchett

"The nineteenth century will colonize; so, in its fantasies, did the nineteenth century soul. When Emma [Bovary] turns spendthrift and buys curtains, carpets and hangings from the draper, the information takes on something from the theme of the novel itself: the material is a symbol of the exotic, and the exotic feeds the Romantic appetite. It will lead to satiety, bankruptcy and eventually to nihilism and the final drive towards death and nothingness." - V. S. Pritchett, fully Sir Victor Sawdon Pritchett

"The award is destined for scientists who do not fear to touch on some of the darkest aspects of being without betraying what they have achieved. On the contrary, they head in this direction," - Václav Havel

"With machines for advanced analysis no such situation existed; for there was and is no extensive market; the users of advanced methods of manipulating data are a very small part of the population." - Vannevar Bush

"Character shows itself apart from genius as a special thing. The first point of measurement of any man is that of quality." - Thomas Wentworth Higginson

"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

"Nothing was ever done so systematically as nothing is being done now." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"There is at present in the world a cold reserve that keeps man at a distance from man. There is an art in the practice of which individuals communicate forever, without anyone telling his neighbor what estimate he forms of his attainments and character, how they ought to be employed, and how to be improved. There is a sort of domestic tactics, the object of which is to elude curiosity, and keep up the tenor of conversation, without the disclosure either of our feelings or opinions. The friend of justice will have no object more deeply at heart than the annihilation of this duplicity. The man whose heart overflows with kindness for his species will habituate himself to consider, in each successive occasion of social intercourse, how that occasion may be most beneficently improved. Among the topics to which he will be anxious to awaken attention, politics will occupy a principal share." - William Godwin

"An acre of performance is worth a whole world of promise." - William Howells, fully William Dean Howells, aka The Dean of American Letters

"Nothing really succeeds which is not based on reality; sham, in a large sense, is never successful. In the life of the individual, as in the more comprehensive life of the State, pretension is nothing and power is everything." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"It is always the enemy who started it, even if he was not the first to speak out, he was certainly planning it; and if he was not actually planning it, he was thinking of it; and, if he was not thinking of it, he would have thought of it." - Elias Canetti

"When he has nothing to say, he lets words speak." - Elias Canetti

"Why, what's wrong! Religions are like rivers: all flow into a sea. Mother Mary embodies compassion, mercy, love and unconditional love. It is personal, but belongs to everyone. Never mind that you're a Muslim, you can still love her and even called his daughter Maria." - Elif Safak

"You think you're frightening me with your hell, don't you? You think Yyur hell is worse than mine." - Dorothy Parker

"What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens." - Ellen Glasgow, fully Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow

"A soft Sea washed around the House a Sea of Summer Air and rose and fell the magic Planks that sailed without a care — for Captain was the Butterfly for Helmsman was the Bee and an entire universe for the delighted crew." - Emily Dickinson, fully Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

"All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"She should have. All women should see it. It's a face that ought to be thrown on every screen in the country. Every woman ought to be given a copy of this face as she leaves the altar. Mothers should tell their daughters about this face." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"In matters of faith, inconvenient evidence is always suppressed while contradictions go unnoticed." - Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

"Mardonius was more fond of me than I was of him. That always gives one an advantage." - Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

"We have ceased to be a nation under law but instead a homeland where the withered Bill of Rights, like a dead trumpet vine, clings to our pseudo-Roman columns." - Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

"It is better to paint from memory, for thus your work will be your own." -

"A necklace of pearls on a white neck. We had lost the sense of discovery which had infused the anarchy of our first year. I began to settle down... the old house in the foreground, the rest of the world abandoned and forgotten; a world of its own of peace and love and beauty." - Evelyn Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh

"If you asked me now who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name. For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be." - Evelyn Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh

"A great spirit has been amongst us, and a great artist is gone." - Ezra Pound, fully Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

"Hang it all, Robert Browning, there can be but the one "Sordello."" - Ezra Pound, fully Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

"If a patron buys from an artist who needs money (needs money to buy tools, time, food), the patron then makes himself equal to the artist; he is building art into the world; he creates." - Ezra Pound, fully Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

"The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods. Those artists, so called, whose work does not show this strife, are uninteresting." - Ezra Pound, fully Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

"For a long time the conviction has been dimly felt in the community that, without prejudice to existing institutions, the legal day of weekly rest might be employed to advantage for purposes affecting the general good." - Felix Adler

"When a wife sins the husband is never innocent." -