Walter Scott: Willows and oaks

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).

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: Three characters

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).

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: 240 x 187 mm, Kol...

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: 240 x 187 mm, Kollodium auf Glas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul Auster: Only the good

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).

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Power over people

You only have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power — he’s free again. 

English: Solzhenicyn

English: Solzhenicyn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, novelist, Nobel laureate (1918-2008)

Herman Melville: Assumptions

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).

English: Oil Painting of Herman Melville in 18...

Oil Painting of Herman Melville in 1846/7. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Steinbeck: Co-ordination and disintegration

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)

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr: Moderate giftedness

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)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr: Superstition

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)

Daguerreotype of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., 1841

Daguerreotype of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., 1841 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Dickens: Bad men

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).

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr: Wind and water power

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894), American ph...

Image via Wikipedia

Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power. –Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (1809-1894)

George Sand: Ingredients of happiness

One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness: simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self denial to a point, love of work, and above all, a clear conscience. –George Sand [pen name of Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin], novelist (1804-1876).