The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character. -Walter Scott, novelist and poet (1771-1832).
It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924).
Every man possesses three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he really has, and that which he believes he has. -Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, novelist and journalist (1808-1890).
Only the good doubt their own goodness, which is what makes them good in the first place. The bad know they are good, but the good know nothing. They spend their lives forgiving others, but they can’t forgive themselves. -Paul Auster, novelist and poet (b. 1947).
Everything you add to the truth subtracts from the truth. -Alexander Solzhenitsyn, novelist, Nobel laureate (1918-2008).
Every age is fed on illusions, lest men should renounce life early and the human race come to an end. -Joseph Conrad, novelist (1857-1924).
Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids. -John Steinbeck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1902-1968)
Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. —Herman Melville, novelist and poet (1819-1891).
Among men, it seems, historically at any rate, that processes of co-ordination and disintegration follow each other with great regularity, and the index of the co-ordination is the measure of the disintegration which follows. There is no mob like a group of well-drilled soldiers when they have thrown off their discipline. And there is no lostness like that which comes to a man when a perfect and certain pattern has dissolved about him. There is no hater like one who has greatly loved. -John Steinbeck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1902-1968)
Moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world’s champions. -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., novelist (1922-2007)
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock. -Ben Hecht, screenwriter, playwright, novelist, director, and producer (1894-1964)
No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind. -Miguel de Cervantes, novelist (1547-1616)
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. -J.M. Barrie, novelist and playwright (1860-1937)
The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)
We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr, poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (1809-1894)
You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends. -Joseph Conrad, novelist (1857-1924)
I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don’t trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance, any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it. -Charles Dickens, novelist (1812-1870).
Some people become so expert at reading between the lines they don’t read the lines. -Margaret Millar, novelist (1915-1994).
Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual. -Arthur Koestler, novelist and journalist (1905-1983).
Thank everyone who calls out your faults, your anger, your impatience, your egotism; do this consciously, voluntarily. -Jean Toomer, poet and novelist (1894-1967).
Dictionary: The universe in alphabetical order. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924).
Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feeling of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibal country. –Samuel Butler, writer (1835-1902).