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





The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.


Felix Adler (1851-1933, American educator, social critic)


Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid... He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.


Raymond Chandler (1888-1959, American author)


You lived too long, we have supped full with heroes, they waste their deaths on us.


C. D. Andrews (1913-1992, British poet, scholar)


Listen, my friend, there are two races of beings. The masses teeming and happy -- common clay, if you like -- eating, breeding, working, counting their pennies; people who just live; ordinary people; people you can't imagine dead. And then there are the others -- the noble ones, the heroes. The ones you can quite well imagine lying shot, pale and tragic; one minute triumphant with a guard of honor, and the next being marched away between two gendarmes.


Jean Anouilh (1910-1987, French playwright)


They wouldn't be heroes if they were infallible, in fact they wouldn't be heroes if they weren't miserable wretched dogs, the pariahs of the earth, besides which the only reason to build up an idol is to tear it down again.


Lester Bangs (1948-1982, American rock journalist)


Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story.


John Barth (1930-, American novelist, short story writer)


What is a society without a heroic dimension?


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


The world's battlefields have been in the heart chiefly; more heroism has been displayed in the household and the closet, than on the most memorable battlefields in history.


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


True heroism consists in being superior to the ills of life, in whatever shape they may challenge us to combat.


Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, French general, emperor)


In our world of big names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be anonymous. In this life of illusion and quasi-illusion, the person of solid virtues who can be admired for something more substantial than his well-knownness often proves to be the unsung hero: the teacher, the nurse, the mother, the honest cop, the hard worker at lonely, underpaid, unglamorous, unpublicized jobs.


Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-2004, American historian)


In our world of big names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be anonymous. In this life of illusion and quasi-illusion, the person of solid virtues who can be admired for something more substantial than his well-knownness often proves to be the unsung hero: the teacher, the nurse, the mother, the honest cop, the hard worker at lonely, underpaid, unglamorous, unpublicized jobs.


Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-2004, American historian)


Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.


Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956, German dramatist, poet)


The poetry of heroism appeals irresistibly to those who don't go to a war, and even more to those whom the war is making enormously wealthy. It's always so.


Louis-Ferdinand Celine (1894-1961, French author)


I am convinced that a light supper, a good night's sleep, and a fine morning, have sometimes made a hero of the same man, who, by an indigestion, a restless night, and rainy morning, would have proved a coward.


Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield (1694-1773, British statesman, author)


Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."


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


Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.


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


The "paper tiger" hero, James Bond, offering the whites a triumphant image of themselves, is saying what many whites want desperately to hear reaffirmed: I am still the White Man, lord of the land, licensed to kill, and the world is still an empire at my feet.


Eldridge Cleaver (1935-, American black leader, writer)


To have no heroes is to have no aspiration, to live on the momentum of the past, to be thrown back upon routine, sensuality, and the narrow self.


Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929, American sociologist)


Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.


Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933, American President (30th))


The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.


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


Now stiff on a pillar with a phallic air Nelson stylites in Trafalgar square remind the British what once they were.


Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990, British author)


A man can be a hero if he is a scientist, or a soldier, or a drug addict, or a disc jockey, or a crummy mediocre politician. A man can be a hero because he suffers and despairs; or because he thinks logically and analytically; or because he is "sensitive;" or because he is cruel. Wealth establishes a man as a hero, and so does poverty. Virtually any circumstance in a man's life will make him a hero to some group of people and has a mythic rendering in the culture -- in literature, art, theater, or the daily newspapers.


Andrea Dworkin (1946-, American feminist critic)


I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.


Bob Dylan (1941-, American musician, singer, songwriter)


It is said, that no one is a hero to their butler. The reason is, that it requires a hero to recognize a hero. The butler, however, will probably know well how to estimate his equals.


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


Children demand that their heroes should be freckleless, and easily believe them so: perhaps a first discovery to the contrary is less revolutionary shock to a passionate child than the threatened downfall of habitual beliefs which makes the world seem to totter for us in maturer life.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.


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


Every hero becomes a bore at last.


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


Heroism feels and never reasons, and therefore is always right.


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


The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.


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


Bardot, Byron, Hitler, Hemingway, Monroe, Sade: we do not require our heroes to be subtle, just to be big. Then we can depend on someone to make them subtle.


D. J. Enright (1920-, British poet, critic)


A big man has no time really to do anything but just sit and be big.


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

Author's website:


Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.


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

Author's website:


A hero is someone right who doesn't change.


George Foreman (1949-, American boxer)


I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor food; I offer only hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart, and not merely with his lips, follow me.


Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882, Italian patriot, soldier)


The fame of heroes owes little to the extent of their conquests and all to the success of the tributes paid to them.


Jean Genet (1910-1986, French playwright, novelist)


What is our task? To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in.


David Lloyd George (1863-1945, British Prime Minister)


The hero draws inspiration from the virtue of his ancestors.


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


Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.


Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658, Spanish philosopher, writer)


The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one's self a fool; the truest heroism is to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when it be obeyed.


Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864, American novelist, short story writer)


We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too.


Helen Hayes (1900-1993, American actress)


No man is a hero to his valet. This is not because the hero is no hero, but because the valet is a valet.


Georg Hegel (1770-1831, German philosopher)


Once the state has been founded, there can no longer be any heroes. They come on the scene only in uncivilized conditions.


Georg Hegel (1770-1831, German philosopher)


Be your own hero, it's cheaper than a movie ticket.


Doug Horton


Be your own hero, it's cheaper than a movie ticket.


Doug Horton


A boy doesn't have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn't like pie when he sees there isn't enough to go around.


Edgar Watson Howe (1853-1937, American journalist, author)


What with making their way and enjoying what they have won, heroes have no time to think. But the sons of heroes -- ah, they have all the necessary leisure.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


The idol of today pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection; and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of tomorrow.


Washington Irving (1783-1859, American author)


Mankind's common instinct for reality has always held the world to be essentially a theatre for heroism. In heroism, we feel, life's supreme mystery is hidden. We tolerate no one who has no capacity whatever for it in any direction. On the other hand, no matter what a man's frailties otherwise may be, if he be willing to risk death, and still more if he suffer it heroically, in the service he has chosen, the fact consecrates him forever.


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


Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


A hero is someone we can admire without apology.


Kitty Kelley


There are heroes in evil as well as in good.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.


Alphonse De Lamartine (1790-1869, French poet, statesman, historian)


The prudent see only the difficulties, the bold only the advantages, of a great enterprise; the hero sees both; diminishes the former and makes the latter preponderate, and so conquers.


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


Too much has been said of the heroes of history -- the strong men, the troublesome men; too little of the amiable, the kindly and the tolerant.


Stephen B. Leacock (1869-1944, Canadian humorist, economist)


The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


All our lives we fought against exalting the individual, against the elevation of the single person, and long ago we were over and done with the business of a hero, and here it comes up again: the glorification of one personality. This is not good at all. I am just like everybody else.


Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924, Russian revolutionary leader)


And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?


Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1859, American essayist and historian)


Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision. The more a man can achieve, the more he may be certain that the devil will inhabit a part of his creation.


Norman Mailer (1923-, American author)


In war, the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


Calculation never made a hero.


John Henry Newman (1801-1890, British religious leader, prelate, writer)


One never dives into the water to save a drowning man more eagerly than when there are others present who dare not take the risk.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Most people aren't appreciated enough, and the bravest things we do in our lives are usually known only to ourselves. No one throws ticker tape on the man who chose to be faithful to his wife, on the lawyer who didn't take the drug money, or the daughter who held her tongue again and again. All this anonymous heroism.


Peggy Noonan (1950-, American author, presidential speechwriter)


Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.


Carol Pearson


One murder makes a villain, millions often a hero.


Bishop Porteous


A hero is a man who is afraid to run away.


English Proverb (Sayings of British origin)


A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.


Christopher Reeve (1952-2004, American actor, director, author)


As a rule, all heroism is due to a lack of reflection, and thus it is necessary to maintain a mass of imbeciles. If they once understand themselves the ruling men will be lost.


Ernest Renan (1823-1892, French writer, critic, scholar)


No heroine can create a hero through love of one, but she can give birth to one.


Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825, German novelist)


Being a hero is about the shortest lived profession on earth.


Will Rogers (1879-1935, American humorist, actor)


The main thing about being a hero is to know when to die.


Will Rogers (1879-1935, American humorist, actor)


We can't all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.


Will Rogers (1879-1935, American humorist, actor)


Heroes are not known by the loftiness of their carriage; the greatest braggarts are generally the merest cowards.


Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778, Swiss political philosopher, educationist, essayist)


How many famous and high-spirited heroes have lived a day too long?


Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778, Swiss political philosopher, educationist, essayist)


One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.


May Sarton (1912-1995, American poet, novelist)


It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.


Norman Schwarzkopf (1934-, American general of the gulf war)


Had we lived I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale.


Robert Falcon Scott (1863-1912, British Antarctic explorer)


If we are marked to die, we are enough to do our country loss -- and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honor.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


You cannot be a hero without being a coward.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


It's true that heroes are inspiring, but mustn't they also do some rescuing if they are to be worthy of their name? Would Wonder Woman matter if she only sent commiserating telegrams to the distressed?


Jeanette Winterson (1959-, British author)


The more characteristic American hero in the earlier day, and the more beloved type at all times, was not the hustler but the whittler.


Mark Sullivan (1874-1952, American journalist, historian)


What makes a hero truly great is that they never despair.


Roy Thompson (1894-1977, British press lord)


The great destroyers of nations and men are comfort, plenty and security. A coward gets scared and quits. A hero gets scared, but still goes on.


Author Unknown


One brave deed makes no hero.


John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892, American poet, reformer, author)


The opportunities for heroism are limited in this kind of world: the most people can do is sometimes not to be as weak as they've been at other times.


Angus Wilson (1913-1991, British author)


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