An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





A genius is one who can do anything except make a living.


Joey Lauren Adams (1971-, American actress)


Genius is sorrow's child.


John Adams (1735-1826, American President (2nd))


It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women.


Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888, American author)


It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women.


Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888, American author)


Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.


Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881, Swiss philosopher, poet, critic)


We know that the nature of genius is to provide idiots with ideas twenty years later.


Louis Aragon (1897-1982, French poet)


There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


There are big men, men of intellect, intellectual men, men of talent and men of action; but the great man is difficult to find, and it needs -- apart from discernment -- a certain greatness to find him.


Margot Asquith (1864-1945, British socialite)


Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do.


W. H. Auden (1907-1973, Anglo-American poet)


Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man's physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed.


Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867, French poet)


Genius is childhood recaptured.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius.


Simone De Beauvoir (1908-1986, French novelist, essayist)


Genius unexerted is no more genius than a bushel of acorns is a forest of oaks.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


Men of genius are not quick judges of character. Deep thinking and high imagining blunt that trivial instinct by which you and I size people up.


Max Beerbohm (1872-1956, British actor)


Genius is the gold in the mine; talent is the miner who works and brings it out.


Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789-1849, Irish writer and socialite)


Genius makes its observations in short-hand; talent writes them out at length.


John Christian Bovee (1820-1904, American author, lawyer)


Since when was genius found respectable?


Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861, British poet)


What is genius but the power of expressing a new individuality?


Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861, British poet)


Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly grows unconsciously into genius.


Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873, British novelist, poet)


A genius can never expect to have a good time anywhere, if he is a genuine article, but America is about the last place in which life will be endurable at all for an inspired writer of any kind.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


I really cannot know whether I am or am not the Genius you are pleased to call me, but I am very willing to put up with the mistake, if it be one. It is a title dearly enough bought by most men, to render it endurable, even when not quite clearly made out, which it never can be till the Posterity, whose decisions are merely dreams to ourselves, has sanctioned or denied it, while it can touch us no further.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


What Romantic terminology called genius or talent or inspiration is nothing other than finding the right road empirically, following one's nose, taking shortcuts.


Italo Calvino (1923-1985, Cuban writer, essayist, journalist)


Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.


C. W. Ceran


Passion holds up the bottom of the universe and genius paints up its roof.


Chao Chang


Genius is independent of situation.


Charles Churchill (1731-1764, British poet, satirist)


As it must not, so genius cannot be lawless; for it is even that constitutes its genius -- the power of acting creatively under laws of its own origination.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834, British poet, critic, philosopher)


The drafts which true genius draws upon posterity, although they may not always be honored so soon as they are due, are sure to be paid with compound interest in the end.


Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, British sportsman writer)


When human power becomes so great and original that we can account for it only as a kind of divine imagination, we call it genius.


William Crashaw


Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active.


Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519, Italian inventor, architect, painter, scientist, sculptor)


Genius, like truth, has a shabby and neglected mien.


Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977, American author, critic)


Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them.


Robertson Davies (1913-1995, Canadian novelist, journalist)


What makes men of genius, or rather, what they make, is not new ideas, it is that idea -- possessing them -- that what has been said has still not been said enough.


Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863, French artist)


Genius is present in every age, but the men carrying it within them remain benumbed unless extraordinary events occur to heat up and melt the mass so that it flows forth.


Denis Diderot (1713-1784, French philosopher)


Genius, when young, is divine.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Fortune has rarely condescended to be the companion of genius.


Isaac Disraeli (1766-1848, British critic, historian)


Genius must be born, and never can be taught.


John Dryden (1631-1700, British poet, dramatist, critic)


Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide.


John Dryden (1631-1700, British poet, dramatist, critic)


Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.


Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931, American inventor, founder of GE)


His genius he was quite content in one brief sentence to define; Of inspiration one percent, of perspiration, ninety nine.


Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931, American inventor, founder of GE)


Genius at first is little more than a great capacity for receiving discipline.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


A man of genius is privileged only as far as he is genius. His dullness is as insupportable as any other dullness.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Accept your genius and say what you think.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Coffee is good for talent, but genius wants prayer.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Great geniuses have the shortest biographies.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American scientist, publisher, diplomat)


Unpretending mediocrity is good, and genius is glorious; but a weak flavor of genius in an essentially common person is detestable. It spoils the grand neutrality of a commonplace character, as the rinsings of an unwashed wine-glass spoil a draught of fair water.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


Only an inventor knows how to borrow, and every man is or should be an inventor.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


The greatest genius is the most indebted person.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


The hearing ear is always found close to the speaking tongue; and no genius can long or often utter anything which is not invited and gladly entertained by men around him.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men -- that is genius.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


When Nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Everybody hates a prodigy, detests an old head on young shoulders.


Desiderius Erasmus (c.1466-1536, Dutch humanist)


Genius is entitled to respect only when it promotes the peace and improves the happiness of mankind.


Lord Essex


Genius goes around the world in its youth incessantly apologizing for having large feet. What wonder that later in life it should be inclined to raise those feet too swiftly to fools and bores.


F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940, American writer)

Author's website:


Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind.


F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940, American writer)

Author's website:


Genius without education is like silver in the mine.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American scientist, publisher, diplomat)


Genius will live and thrive without training, but it does not the less reward the watering pot and pruning knife.


Margaret Witter Fuller (1810-1850, American writer, lecturer)


It is not because the touch of genius has roused genius to production, but because the admiration of genius has made talent ambitious, that the harvest is still so abundant.


Margaret Witter Fuller (1810-1850, American writer, lecturer)


I'm not a genius. I'm just a tremendous bundle of experience.


R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983, American inventor, designer, poet, philosopher)


Better beware of notions like genius and inspiration; they are a sort of magic wand and should be used sparingly by anybody who wants to see things clearly.


Jose Ortega Y Gasset (1883-1955, Spanish essayist, philosopher)


The first and last thing required of genius is, love of the truth.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


True genius walks along a line, and, perhaps, our greatest pleasure is in seeing it so often near falling, without being ever actually down.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have is this. When I have a subject in mind. I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it... the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.


Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804,  American  statesman)


Nothing is so envied as genius, nothing so hopeless of attainment by labor alone. Though labor always accompanies the greatest genius, without the intellectual gift labor alone will do little.


B. R. Hayden (1913-1980, American poet)


The definition of genius is that it acts unconsciously; and those who have produced immortal works, have done so without knowing how or why. The greatest power operates unseen.


William Hazlitt (1778-1830, British essayist)


Talent is a faculty that is highly developed, but genius commands all the faculties.


Francis Herbert Hedge (1846-1924, British philosopher)


Great genius takes shape by contact with another great genius, but, less by assimilation than by fiction.


Heinrich Heine (1797-1856, German poet, journalist)


Nature is the master of talents; genius is the master of nature.


Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881, American author)


The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


Genius is the ability to act rightly without precedent -- the power to do the right thing the first time.


Elbert Hubbard (1859-1915, American author, publisher)


Genius is a promontory jutting out into the infinite.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds.


David Hume (1711-1776, Scottish philosopher, historian)


We are all geniuses up to the age of ten.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


Rising genius always shoots out its rays from among the clouds, but these will gradually roll away and disappear as it ascends to its steady luster.


Washington Irving (1783-1859, American author)


Genius... means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an inhabitual way.


William James (1842-1910, American psychologist, professor, author)


Saying that a great genius is mad, while at the same time recognizing his artistic worth, is like saying that he had rheumatism or suffered from diabetes. Madness, in fact, is a medical term that can claim no more notice from the objective critic than he grants the charge of heresy raised by the theologian, or the charge of immorality raised by the police.


James Joyce (1882-1941, Irish author)


Sometimes, indeed, there is such a discrepancy between the genius and his human qualities that one has to ask oneself whether a little less talent might not have been better.


Carl Jung (1875-1961, Swiss psychiatrist)


Genius sits in a glass house -- but in an unbreakable one -- conceiving ideas. After giving birth, it falls into madness. Stretches out its hand through the window toward the first person happening by. The demon's claw rips, the iron fist grips. Before, you were a model, mocks the ironic voice between serrated teeth, for me, you are raw material to work on. I throw you against the glass wall, so that you remain stuck there, projected and stuck. (Then come the lovers of art and contemplate the bleeding work from outside. Then come the photographers. "New art," it says in the newspaper the following day. The learned journals give it a name that ends in "ism.")


Paul Klee (1879-1940, Swiss artist)


All of us, you, your children, your neighbors and their children are everyday geniuses, even though the fact is unnoticed and unremembered by everyone. That's probably because school hasn't encouraged us to notice what's hidden inside us waiting for the right environment to express itself.


Peter Kline (American peak performance expert)


The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.


Arthur Koestler (1905-1983, Hungarian born British writer)


To see things in the seed is genius.


Lao-Tzu (BC 600-?, Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism)


Genius always gives its best at first; prudence, at last.


Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801, Swiss theologian, mystic)


Who in the same given time can produce more than others has vigor; who can produce more and better, has talents; who can produce what none else can, has genius.


Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801, Swiss theologian, mystic)


The real people of genius were resolute workers not idle dreamers.


George Henry Lewes (1817-1878, British writer)


Everyone is a genius at least once a year; a real genius has his original ideas closer together.


Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


What I do not like about our definitions of genius is that there is in them nothing of the day of judgment, nothing of resounding through eternity and nothing of the footsteps of the Almighty.


Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


Towering genius disdains a beaten path.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


All the means of action -- the shapeless masses -- the materials -- lie everywhere about us. What we need is the celestial fire to change the flint into the transparent crystal, bright and clear. That fire is genius."


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


It is the privilege of genius that life never grows common place, as it does for the rest of us.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


Every person of genius is considerably helped by being dead.


Robert S. Lund


Genius is eternal patience.


Michelangelo (1474-1564, Italian renaissance painter, sculptor)


There is no genius in life like the genius of energy and industry.


Donald G. Mitchell


Genius without religion is only a lamp on the outer gate of a palace; it may serve to cast a gleam of light on those that are without, while the inhabitant sits in darkness.


Hannah More (1745-1833, British writer, reformer, philanthropist)


Genius is an African who dreams up snow.


Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977, Russian-born American novelist, poet)


A man of genius has a right to any mode of expression.


Ezra Pound (1885-1972, American poet, critic)


Geniuses themselves don't talk about the gift of genius, they just talk about hard work and long hours.


J. C. (James Cash) Penney (1875-1971, American retailer, philanthropist, founder JC Penny's)


Genius is personality with a penny's worth of talent. Error which chances to rise above the commonplace.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


The genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


Genius can be recognized by its childish simplicity.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


One of the satisfactions of a genius is his will-power and obstinacy.


Man Ray (1890-1976, American photographer)


The lamp of genius burns quicker than the lamp of life.


Johann Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805, German dramatist, poet, historian)


Genius is, to be sure, not a matter of arbitrariness, but rather of freedom, just as wit, love, and faith, which once shall become arts and disciplines. We should demand genius from everybody, without, however, expecting it.


Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829, German philosopher, critic, writer)


Great minds are related to the brief span of time during which they live as great buildings are to a little square in which they stand: you cannot see them in all their magnitude because you are standing too close to them.


Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860, German philosopher)


Genius is essentially creative; it bears the stamp of the individual who possesses it.


Anne Germain De Stael (1766-1817, French-Swiss novelist)


It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.


Gertrude Stein (1874-1946, American author)


When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.


Jonathan Swift (1667-1745, Anglo-Irish satirist)


True genius sees with the eyes of a child and thinks with the brain of a genius.


Puzant Kevork Thomajan


Every man is a potential genius until he does something.


Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853-1917, British actor-manager)


The function of genius is not to give new answers, but to pose new questions which time and mediocrity can resolve.


H. R. Trevor-Roper


Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered -- either by themselves or by others.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Genius is nothing more than inflamed enthusiasm.


Author Unknown


So few people think. When we find one who really does, we call him a genius


Author Unknown


There is one subtle but important difference between genius and stupidity and that is that genius has its limits. You'll see yourself clearest in the eyes of your friends.


Author Unknown


I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


The divine egoism hat is genius.


Mary Webb (1881-1927, British novelist)


Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought.


Simone Weil (1910-1943, French philosopher, mystic)


Everybody denies I am a genius -- but nobody ever called me one!


Orson Welles (1915-1985, American film maker)


Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


I have nothing to declare except my genius.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Talent is a flame. Genius is a fire.


Bern Williams


Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.


Virginia Woolf (1882-1941, British novelist, essayist)


 Back to Daimon Library English Quotes Search Page


website tracking