There is hardly a man on earth who will take advice unless he is certain that it is positively bad.
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Ambition is a Dead Sea fruit, and the greatest peril to the soul is that one is likely to get precisely what he is seeking.
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Those who write for lucre or fame are grosser than the cartel robbers, for they steal the genius of the people, which is its will to resist evil.
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We can only write well about our sins because it is too difficult to recall a virtuous act or even whether it was the result of good or evil motives.
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Utility is our national shibboleth: the savior of the American businessman is fact and his uterine half-brother, statistics.
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One cat in a house is a sign of loneliness, two of barrenness, and three of sodomy.
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I would rather take hellebore than spend a conversation with a good, little man.
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Hardly a book of human worth, be it heaven's own secret, is honestly placed before the reader; it is either shunned, given a Periclean funeral oration in a hundred and fifty words, or interred in the potter's field of the newspapers back pages.
View quote | Quotes about Critics and Criticism

It is very perplexing how an intrepid frontier people, who fought a wilderness, floods, tornadoes, and the Rockies, cower before criticism, which is regarded as a malignant tumor in the imagination.
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Recognize the cunning man not by the corpses he pays homage to but by the living writers he conspires against with the most shameful weapon, Silence, or the briefest review.
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Every decision you make is a mistake.
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A strong foe is better than a weak friend.
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Everything ultimately fails, for we die, and that is either the penultimate failure or our most enigmatical achievement.
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Genius, like truth, has a shabby and neglected mien.
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Though man is the only beast that can write, he has small reason to be proud of it. When he utters something that is wise it is nothing that the river horse does not know, and most of his creations are the result of accident.
View quote | Quotes about Humankind

Intellectual sodomy, which comes from the refusal to be simple about plain matters, is as gross and abundant today as sexual perversion and they are nowise different from one another.
View quote | Quotes about Intelligence and Intellectuals

One of the weaknesses in the cooperative is that it has never been sufficiently leavened by the imagination. This is a quick-silver faculty, and likely to be a cause of worry to any collective settlement.
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What most men desire is a virgin who is a whore.
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The machine has had a pernicious effect upon virtue, pity, and love, and young men used to machines which induce inertia, and fear, are near impotent.
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Men are mad most of their lives; few live sane, fewer die so. The acts of people are baffling unless we realize that their wits are disordered. Man is driven to justice by his lunacy.
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Man hoards himself when he has nothing to give away.
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There is a strange and mighty race of people called the Americans who are rapidly becoming the coldest in the world because of this cruel, man-eating idol, lucre.
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Always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter. Walt Disney Every decision you make is a mistake.
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No people require maxims so much as the American. The reason is obvious: the country is so vast, the people always going somewhere, from Oregon apple valley to boreal New England, that we do not know whether to be temperate orchards or sterile climate.
View quote | Quotes about Proverbs

The ruin of the human heart is self-interest, which the American merchant calls self-service. We have become a self-service populace, and all our specious comforts --the automatic elevator, the escalator, the cafeteria --are depriving us of volition and moral and physical energy.
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We are a most solitary people, and we live, repelled by one another, in the gray, outcast cities of Cain.
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We cannot live, suffer or die for somebody else, for suffering is too precious to be shared.
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We are always talking about being together, and yet whatever we invent destroys the family, and makes us wild, touchless beasts feeding on technicolor prairies and rivers.
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When one realizes that his life is worthless he either commits suicide or travels.
View quote | Quotes about Travel and Tourism

So much of our lives is given over to the consideration of our imperfections that there is no time to improve our imaginary virtues. The truth is we only perfect our vices, and man is a worse creature when he dies than he was when he was born.
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Nothing in our times has become so unattractive as virtue.
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No country has suffered so much from the ruins of war while being at peace as the American.
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The majority of persons choose their wives with as little prudence as they eat. They see a troll with nothing else to recommend her but a pair of thighs and choice hunkers, and so smart to void their seed that they marry her at once. They imagine they can live in marvelous contentment with handsome feet and ambrosial buttocks. Most men are accredited fools shortly after they leave the womb.
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Herman Melville was as separated from a civilized literature as the lost Atlantis was said to have been from the great peoples of the earth.
View quote | Quotes about Writers and Writing

To write is a humiliation.
View quote | Quotes about Writers and Writing

What has a writer to be bombastic about? Whatever good a man may write is the consequence of accident, luck, or surprise, and nobody is more surprised than an honest writer when he makes a good phrase or says something truthful.
View quote | Quotes about Writers and Writing

Writing is conscience, scruple, and the farming of our ancestors.
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Dahlberg, Edward

No biography at present.

37 quotations