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History, Life and Death, Criticism


History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake. - James Joyce, Ulysses

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

The history of the Victorian Age will never be written; we know too much about it.- Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians

History isn't dead; it's not even past. - William Faulkner

What experience and history teach us is this that people and governments have never learnt anything from history or acted on principles deduced from it. - George Hegel

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana (1863-1952)

History is a set of lies agreed upon. - Napoleon Bonaparte

History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it. - Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

This is a very fickle and faithless generation. - Capt. William Kidd, last words, 1701

Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these. - Ovid (43 BC-18 AD)

Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter. - William R. Inge (1860-1954)

The very ink in which history is written is merely fluid prejudice. - Mark Twain

History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot. - Mark Twain

Those who stare at the past have their backs turned to the future. - unknown

To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times? - Marcus Tullius Cicero, Orator

History has the relation to truth that theology has to religion -- i.e., none to speak of. - Lazarus Long, Robert Heinlein (1907-1988)

History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there. - George Santayana (1863-1952)

How strangely is antiquity treated! To answer some purposes it is spoken of as the times of darkness and ignorance, and to answer others, it is put for the light of the world. - Tom Paine (1737-1809), Rights of Man


The Avalon Project, at Yale Law School, has a great collection of American historical documents on line.

Advice on Life:

Start every day off with a smile and get it over with. - W. C. Fields (1880-1946)

If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. No need to be a damn fool about it. - W.C. Fields

WC Fields

Formula for success: Rise early, work hard, strike oil. - J. Paul Getty

You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do. - Henry Ford

Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others.

Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate! - Julian Bond

While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. - George Bernard Shaw

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. - Robert A Heinlein, Lazarus Long

A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience. - Doug Larson

The contemplative life is often miserable. One must act more, think less, and not watch oneself live. - Sebastien Roch Nicholas de Chamfort (1741-1794)

To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the blood. - George Santayana

The Universe has an incredibly sadistic sense of humor.  And I, for one, enjoy watching the poor fools who just don't get the joke. - Lynn Marshall

It is not true that life is one damn thing after another - It's one damn thing over and over. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend. - Albert Camus

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. - Albert Camus

Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering. - Buckminster Fuller

When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. - Eric Hoffer

A man's mind, stretched by a new idea, can never return to its original dimension. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ninety percent of everything is crap. - Theodore Sturgeon

Never argue with a fool, people might not know the difference. - unknown

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. - Henry David Thoreau

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. - Henry David Thoreau

All that is gold does not glitter: Not all those that wander are lost. - J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives. - Leo Tolstoy

Gout.—Sometimes the father's sin visited upon the child, but more often the child of our own sins visiting its father. A man of the latter stamp once asked Albernethy what he should do to avoid the infliction.—" Live upon a shilling a day—and earn it," was the reply, at once pertinent and impertinent.

People (a group that in my opinion has always attracted an undue amount of attention) have often been likened to snowflakes. This analogy is meant to suggest that each is unique - no two alike. This is quite patently not the case. People, even at the current rate of inflation - in fact, people especially at the current rate of inflation - are quite simply a dime a dozen. And, I hasten to add, their only similarity to snowflakes resides in their invariably and lamentable tendency to turn, after a few warm days, to slush. - Fran Lebowitz

A man's feet should be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world. - George Santayana

A professional is a person who can do his best at a time when he doesn't particularly feel like it. - Alistair Cooke

A prudent question is one half of wisdom. - Francis Bacon

A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for. - unknown

After all is said and done, a lot more will have been said than done. - unknown

An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it. - Don Marquis

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do. - Dale Carnegie

It is always the best policy to speak the truth unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar. - Jerome K. Jerome

No matter how great your triumphs or how tragic your defeats approximately one billion Chinese couldn't care less. - Lazlo 's Chinese Relativity Axiom

Life is what happens while you are making other plans. - John Lennon

Losers always whine about 'Their Best'. Winners go home and f*** the Prom Queen. - John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery), The Rock (1996)

You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do. - Olin Miller

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your thing. - Warren Miller

A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountaintop. - unknown

Swallow a toad in the morning and you will encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day. - Sebastien Roch Nicholas de Chamfort (1741-1794)

Fools rush in where fools have been before. - unknown

If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. - Laurence J. Peter

Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips

To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top. - Robert M. Pirsig

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. - Plutarch

How much of our lives is spent in reverie, in wishing for what cannot be, in regretting what might have been avoided. These obsessions steal from us the moments of the now. - David K. Reynolds

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. - Theodore Roosevelt

The purpose of life is not to be happy but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make a difference that you lived at all. - Leo Rosten

An optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds - the pessimist fears this is true. - James Branch Cabell

There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted. - James Branch Cabell

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this. - Bertrand Russell

Even while they teach, men learn. - Seneca (4 BC - AD 65)

If you would make a man happy, do not add to his possessions but subtract from the sum of his desires. - Seneca

When I think over what I have said, I envy mutes. - Seneca

Time heals what reason cannot. - Seneca

Pluralitas non ponenda est sine necessitate. - Occam

Non est ad astra mollis e terris via. (There is no easy road from the earth to the stars.) - Seneca

Status quo, you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in.' - Ronald Reagan

And what is it to know what one wants but to listen quietly to the silent voices from within and to yield to their guidance over the clamorous objections of fear and pride of consistency and custom and of greed and hate. - Bradford Shank

Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think. - Jean de la Bruyere and/or Horace Walpole

A pessimist is one who builds dungeons in the air. - Walter Winchell

I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they're the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights! - Warren G. Harding

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. - H. L. Mencken

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.  - Gustav Mahler

The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature. - Arthur D. Hlavaty

When forced to choose between two evils, I always choose the one I haven't done before. - Mae West

If our knowledge of the world is controlled by the media then we live in a mediocrity.

Never appeal to a man's better nature. He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. - Lazarus Long, Robert Heinlein (1907-1988)

$100 placed at 7 percent interest compounded quarterly for 200 years will increase to more than $100,000,000, by which time it will be worth nothing. - Lazarus Long, Robert Heinlein

To be matter of fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy - and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful. - Robert A. Heinlein

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyways.

No guts, no glory. No brain, same story.

If quitters never win, and winners never cheat, then who is the fool who said, "Quit while you're ahead"?

GroughoThe secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made. - Groucho

Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend, and inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

"Before we begin our banquet, I'd like to say a few works. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!
Thank you!" - Professor Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, JK Rowling

You can only be young once, but you can be immature forever.

To safeguard one's health at the cost of too strict a diet is a tiresome illness indeed. - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Very few of the great leaders ever get through their careers without failing, sometimes dramatically. - Philip Crosby, Reflections on Quality

Virtue is its own reward. There's a pleasure in doing good which sufficiently pays itself. - Sir John Vanbrugh, The Relapse

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. - M. C. Escher

We aim above the mark to hit the mark. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

We always admire the other person more after we've tried to do his job. - William Feather

When money talks, nobody notices what grammar it uses. - Anonymous

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Life... is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctoral gift that no one ever asks for. Unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates. So, you're stuck with mostly undefinable whipped mint crap, mindlessly wolfed down when there's nothing else to eat while you're watching the game. Sure, once is a while you get a peanut butter cup or an English toffee but it's gone too fast and the taste is fleeting. In the end, you are left with nothing but broken bits filled with hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts, which, if you are desperate enough to eat, leaves nothing but an empty box of useless brown paper. - Cigarette-Smoking Man, in The X-Files

Try to look unimportant, because the bad guys might be low on ammo.

It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. - Alfred Adler

Some men are alive simply because it is against the law to kill them. - Ed Howe

Stress: a condition created when the brain overrides the bodily propensity to beat the living shit out of someone who needs it.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying. - Woody Allen

Mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to extinction. Let us pray we choose correctly. - Woody Allen

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. - Aristotle

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right. - Isaac Asimov

Justice is a goal. Consistency is a virtue that can prevent reaching the goal. - unknown

My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot. - Ashleigh Brilliant

All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power. - Ashleigh Brilliant

Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove. - Ashleigh Brilliant

There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on. - Robert Byrne

A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his client to plant vines. - Frank Lloyd Wright

There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man's lawful prey. - John Ruskin

The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues.   — Elizabeth Taylor

There's always something to suggest that you'll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to take it or keep on moving. - Phylicia Rashad

There's nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever. - Alfred Hitchcock

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. - Carl W. Buechner

To err is human, to blame the next guy even more so. - Unknown

To pull together is to avoid being pulled apart. - Bob Allisat

I am easily satisfied with the very best. - Winston Churchill

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. - Winston Churchill

or: Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on.

If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going. - Professor Irwin Corey

There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realise that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.

Never, ever rest on your laurels. Today's laurels are tomorrow's compost. - Tom Peters

The thirst for equality can express itself either as a desire to draw everyone down to one's level, or to raise oneself and everyone else up. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. - Mark Twain

We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

The universe is not hostile, nor is it friendly. It is simply indifferent. - John Haynes Holmes

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge. - Paul Gauguin

Hollywood's a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. - Marilyn Monroe

If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he next comes to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. - Thomas De Quincey

A friend is someone who will help you move; a GOOD friend is someone who will help you move a body.

The race may not be to the swift nor victory to the strong, but that's how you bet. - Damon Runyon

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit. - W. Somerset Maugham

I have a most peaceable disposition. My desires are for a modest hut, a thatched roof, but a good bed, good food, very fresh milk and butter, flowers in front of my window and a few pretty trees by my door. And should the good Lord wish to make me really happy, he will allow me the pleasure of seeing about six or seven of my enemies hanged upon those trees. - Heinrich Heine

I had the ambition to not only go farther than man had gone before, but to go as far as it was possible to go. - Captain James Cook (1728-1779), on his voyage to the Pacific in HMS Endeavor

It will be generally found that those who sneer habitually at human nature and affect to despise it are among its worst and least pleasant examples.

To stive for excellence brings about confidence and pride. To strive for perfection brings about frustration.

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions. - Naguib Mahfouz

There is a difference between being different and being new, a difference between questioning social customs and just being rude, a difference between being daring and simply breaking rules. Most people do not understand this difference. It makes them easy to tell them apart. - Jessica Marrell

Having the world's best idea will do you no good unless you act on it. People who want milk shouldn't sit on a stool in the middle of a field in hopes that a cow will back up to them. - Curtis Grant

You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. - Al Capone (1899-1947)

This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it. - Al Capone

A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation. - Howard Scott

It was involuntary. They sank my boat. - John F. Kennedy, when asked how he became a Navy hero

It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue. - Voltaire

What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy. - Voltaire

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. - Abraham Lincoln

  'You know, said Arthur, 'it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young.

'Why, what did she tell you?'

'I don't know, I didn't listen.' ' - Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you will see why. - Mignon McLaughlin

Not only is life a bitch, but it is always having puppies. - Adrienne Gusoff

Hell is other people. - Jean-Paul Sartre

Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. -  Fran Lebowitz

Sport is a seductive metaphor (life as a game in which we gain victory through hard work, discipline, and visualizing success). but the older metaphor of farming (life as hard labor that is subject to weather and quirks of blind fate and may return no reward whatsoever and don't be surprised) is still in our blood. - Garrison Keillor, National Geographic Jul 2009

Many people believe that they are attracted by God, or by Nature, when they are only repelled by man. - William R. Inge

"Mom and Dad say I should make my life an example of the principles I believe in. But every time I do, they tell me to stop it." - Bill Waterson, Calvin & Hobbes

There are two rules for success...

1. Never tell everything you know.


- Roger H. Lincoln

Does anyone else ever get the distinct impression that some day a group of people in suits are going to walk into your office or your home and say, 'We've got you now! You had everyone *thinking* you were a grown up, but you're not. Now get your things. Your mother's got supper on the table and you have to be in bed by 7:30.' Or is it just me? - Cynthia Melcher

"We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit." - The Texas Observer

Of course, it has never paid much. - Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose, Shrub

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie!' till you can find a rock. - Wynn Catlin

Diplomacy is to do and say the nastiest things in the nicest way.- Goldberg

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age. - Robert Frost

A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip. - Caskie Stinnett

A diplomat is a man who says you have an open mind, instead of telling you that you have a hole in the head. - unknown

Don't talk about yourself; it will be done when you leave. - Wilson Mizner

"Every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Bah, Humbug!" - Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol

One only has an adventure when one makes a mistake, but [as] my grandmother used to say: "You don't have to get out of trouble if you don't get into trouble." - Richard Wheeler, rowing around Cape Cod, 9/26/00 Cape Cod Times
The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness

Justice is the only worship.
Love is the only priest.
Ignorance is the only slavery.
Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here,
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Wisdom is the science of happiness.

- Robert G. Ingersoll


Get out of here and leave me alone. Last words are for fools who haven't said enough already. - Karl Marx, last words, 1883

Dead, we become the lumber of the world,
And to that mass of matter shall be swept
Where things destroyed with things unborn are kept.
- Seneca

He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend; provided, of course, he really is dead. - Voltaire

We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it. - Tennessee Williams

People hear that I am a horror writer and they think that I must be a monster, but actually I have the heart of a small child - I keep it in a jar on my desk. - Robert Bloch

I wouldn't mind dying - it's that business of having to stay dead that scares the shit out of me. - R. Geis

Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.- W. Somerset Maugham

Don't look forward to the day when you stop suffering. Because when it comes you'll know that you're dead. - Tennessee Williams

I detest life-insurance agents; they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so. - Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

I feel nothing, apart from a certain difficulty in continuing to exist. - Bernard de Fontenelle (1657-1757) on his deathbed

I inhabit a weak, frail, decayed tenement; battered by the winds and broken in on by the storms, and, from all I can learn, the landlord does not intend to repair. - John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

I hope that after I die, people will say of me, "That guy sure owed me a lot of money." - Jack Handey


Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an aquaintance, or a stranger. - Franklin P. Jones

Whilst in many places the effect of Ulysses undoubtedly is somewhat emetic, nowhere does it tend to be aphrodisiac. -  John M. Woolsey, U.S. District Court judge

James Joyce -- an essentially private man who wished his total indifference to public opinion to be universally recognized.  -  Tom Stoppard

A good many writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self- addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much a temptation to the editor. -  Ring Lardner
 As an editor, I must often tell writers that their stories "do not fit our present needs." But there are times when I want to reply: "Sir, I would not trust you to write a ransom note." -  Richard Conniff

From my close observation of writers...they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review. - Isaac Asimov

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do. - Dale Carnegie 

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. - Dorothy Parker

The covers of this book are too far apart. - Ambrose Bierce

Just the omission of Jane Austen's books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it. - Mark Twain

To me, Poe's prose is unreadable -- like Jane Austen's. No, there is a difference. I could read his prose on a salary, but not Jane's.  - Mark Twain

I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top. - English Professor, Ohio University

H.L.Mencken's war aims, according to the handful of observers who deigned to notice his conflict, were the overthrow of American Democracy, the Christian religion, and the YMCA. He was also credited with trying to wipe out poets and luncheon orators. -  Ben Hecht

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

There is no such way to gain admittance, or give defense, to strange and absurd doctrines, as to guard them round about with legions of obscure, doubtful, and undefined words: which yet make these retreats more like the dens of robbers, or holes of foxes, than fortresses of fair warriors. - John Locke

The way Bernard Shaw believes in himself is very refreshing in these atheistic days when so many people believe in no God at all. - Israel Zangwill

The more I think you over, the more it comes home to me what an unmitigated Middle Victorian ass you are! - HL Mencken, about GB Shaw

After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations. - H. L. Mencken (on Shakespeare)

Shakespeare, who never could think up a plot by himself, found this one [Macbeth] in Holinshed's Chronicles, changing it just enough so that no one would recognize the source. He didn't count on the resourcefulness of modern scholars, who have to discover things like this to become associate professors. -  Richard Armour

Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'. - Mary McCarthy, about Lillian Hellman. 18 Oct 1979, on the Dick Cavett Show

I could readily see in Emerson, not withstanding his merit, a gaping flaw. It was the insinuation that had he lived in those days when the world was made, he might have offered some valuable suggestions. - Herman Melville, of Emerson

Your mariner is an honest fellow, none better; but he is sadly given to jargon. - Stephen Maturin (Patrick O'Brian, Post Captain )

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it. - Groucho Marx (1895-1977)

Henry James is one of the nicest little old ladies I ever met. - William Faulkner

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.- Marin Paper TV listing for "The Wizard of Oz"

An autobiography usually reveals nothing bad about its writer except his memory. - Franklin P. Jones

[He] has taken a basically valid observation [...] and extrapolated it somewhere into the Oort cloud. - Dan Martinez

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. - W. Somerset Maugham

Did a sense of shame ever reside in our Republican toadies? You can't stop people who are never embarrassed by themselves. Will's readiness to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse can be cited as world class sycophancy. - Norman Mailer, about George Will, 3/14/2002 Boston Globe letter

In opera, anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung. - Voltaire

Most books today seemed to have been written overnight from books read the day before. - Sebastien Roch Nicholas de Chamfort (1741-1794) 

The success of many books is due to the affinity between the mediocrity of the author's ideas and those of the public. -  Nicholas de Chamfort

E. B. Osborn's description of a Russian novel .... " Page after page the rain pours down steadily, making an infinity of infinitesimal splashes on the gray surface of the Bug or some other beastly river, and incessantly the five geese walk in single file thru the muddy byre, splashing in the malodorous puddles and making rude noises with their yellow beaks. Nothing else really happens till you get to page 479, when the old man asleep on the stove wakes up and says, 'My God!' and then goes to sleep again."

A classic is something everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read. -  Mark Twain
 He is useless on top of the ground; he ought to be under it, inspiring the cabbages. -  Mark Twain

Summation of Leviathan: “The axiom, fear; the method, logic; the conclusion, despotism.” Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre, British historian

Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address reviewed:
  "The President acted without let us pass over his silly remarks" - Harrisburg Patriot

"The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat utterances of the President" - Chicago Times

"Anything more dull and commonplace it wouldn't be easy to produce" - London Times

To escape criticism -- do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -  Elbert Hubbard

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