Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
I can live for two months on a good compliment.
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.
There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.
As to the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.
The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.
I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.
To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.
I have no liking for novels or stories – none in the world; and so, whenever I read one – which is not oftener than once in two years, and even in these same cases I seldom read beyond the middle of the book – my distaste for the vehicle always taints my judgment of the literature itself, as a matter of course; and also of course makes my verdict valueless. Are you saying “You have written stories yourself.” Quite true: but the fact that an Indian likes to scalp people is no evidence that he likes to be scalped.
There is only one expert who is qualified to examine the souls and the life of a people and make a valuable report – the native novelist. … And when a thousand able novels have been written, there you have the soul of the people; and not anywhere else can these be had.
It makes one hope and believe that a day will come when, in the eye of the law, literary property will be as sacred as whiskey, or any other of the necessaries of life. It grieves me to think how far more profound and reverent a respect the law would have for literature if a body could only get drunk on it.
In a good book room, you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.
I have been reading the morning paper. I do it every morning-knowing well that I shall find in it the usual depravities and businesses and hypocrisies and cruelties that make up civilization, and cause me to put in the rest of the day pleading for the damnation of the human race. I cannot seem to get my prayers answered, yet I do not despair.