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





In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.


Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001, American educator, philosopher)


One must be a wise reader to quote wisely and well.


Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888, American educator, social reformer)


Apothegms are portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feelings.


William R. Alger (1822-1905, American writer)


Quotes from Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara... are as germane to our highly technological, computerized society as a stagecoach on a jet runway at Kennedy airport.


Saul Alinsky (1909-1972, American radical activist)


When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living.


James Baldwin (1924-1987, American author)


The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him.


Robert Benchley (1889-1945, American humorist, critic, parodist)


Quotations in my work are like wayside robbers who leap out armed and relieve the stroller of his conviction.


Walter Benjamin (1982-1940, German critic, philosopher)


The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


Life itself is a quotation.


Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986, Argentinean author)


Next to being witty yourself, the best thing is being able to quote another's wit.


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


Ah, yes, I wrote the ''Purple Cow'' -- I'm sorry, now, I wrote it! But I can tell you, anyhow, I'll kill you if you quote it.


Frank Gelett Burgess (1866-1951, American writer, humorist)


I pick my favorite quotation and store them in my mind as ready armor, offensive or defensive, amid the struggle of this turbulent existence.


Robert Burns (1759-1796, Scottish poet)


I must claim the quoter's privilege of giving only as much of the text as will suit my purpose, said Tan-Chun. If I told you how it went on, I should end up by contradicting myself!


Xueqin Cao (1715-1763, Chinese writer)


Most people who put together verses or quotes are like people who eat cherries and oysters: they start with the best, and end up eating everything.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


A quotation, like a pun, should come unsought, and then be welcomed only for some propriety of felicity justifying the intrusion.


Robert Chapman


It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read a book of quotations.


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


Why are not more gems from our great authors scattered over the country? Great books are not in everybody's reach; and though it is better to know them thoroughly than to know them only here and there, yet it is a good work to give a little to those who have not the time nor means to get more.


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


That is the point of quotations. One can use another's words to be insulting.


Amanda Cross


Too much traffic with a quotation book begets a conviction of ignorance in a sensitive reader. Not only is there a mass of quotable stuff he never quotes, but an even vaster realm of which he has never heard.


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


Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs.


Guy Debord (1931-, French philosopher)


When we would prepare the mind by a forcible appeal, an opening quotation is a symphony precluding on the chords those tones we are about to harmonize.


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


The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.


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


He presents me with what is always an acceptable gift who brings me news of a great thought before unknown. He enriches me without impoverishing himself.


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


I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.


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


Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. Many will read the book before one thinks of quoting a passage. As soon as he has done this, that line will be quoted east and west.


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


Our best thoughts come from others.


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


The adventitious beauty of poetry may be felt in the greater delight with a verse given in a happy quotation than in the poem.


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


The next best thing to saying a good thing yourself, is to quote one.


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


The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until an equal mind and heart finds and publishes it.


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


I think we must quote whenever we feel that the allusion is interesting or helpful or amusing.


Cliff Fadiman (American writer)


Quotation... A writer expresses himself in words that have been used before because they give his meaning better than he can give it himself, or because they are beautiful or witty, or because he expects them to touch a cord of association in his reader, or because he wishes to show that he is learned and well read. Quotations due to the last motive are invariably ill-advised; the discerning reader detects it and is contemptuous; the undiscerning is perhaps impressed, but even then is at the same time repelled, pretentious quotations being the surest road to tedium.


Henry W. Fowler (1859-1933, British lexicographer)


Stronger than an army is a quotation whose time has come.


W. I. E. Gates


Everything has been thought of before, but the problem is to think of it again.


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


I improve on misquotation.


Cary Grant (1904-1986, British-born American actor)


Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


He is a benefactor of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and so recur habitually to the mind.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Quotations (such as have point and lack triteness) from the great old authors are an act of reverence on the part of the quoter, and a blessing to a public grown superficial and external.


Louise Imogen Guiney


Quotations offer one kind of break in what the eye can see, the ear can hear.


Ihab Hassan (1925-, American critic)


We rarely quote nowadays to appeal to authority... though we quote sometimes to display our sapience and erudition. Some authors we quote against. Some we quote not at all, offering them our scrupulous avoidance, and so make them part of our "white mythology." Other authors we constantly invoke, chanting their names in cerebral rituals of propitiation or ancestor worship.


Ihab Hassan (1925-, American critic)


Classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


In small proportions we just beauties see, And in short measures life may perfect be.


Ben Jonson (1573-1637, British dramatist, poet)


He wrapped himself in quotations -- as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.


Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936, British author of Prose, Verse)


Fidelity to the subject's thought and to his characteristic way of expressing himself is the sine qua non of journalistic quotation.


Janet Malcolm (1934-, American author)


Be careful -- with quotations, you can damn anything.


Andre Malraux (1901-1976, French statesman, novelist)


Quote me as saying I was misquoted.


Groucho Marx (1895-1977, American comic actor)


The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.


W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965, British novelist, playwright)


The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.


W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965, British novelist, playwright)


After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations.


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


In baiting a mouse trap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.


Hector Hugh Monro


I quote others in order to better express myself.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


The essence of a quote is the compression of a mass of thought and observation into a single saying.


John Morely


A book that furnishes no quotations is no book -- it is a plaything.


Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866, British author)


Misquotation is, in fact, the pride and privilege of the learned. A widely-read man never quotes accurately, for the rather obvious reason that he has read too widely.


Hesketh Pearson (1887-1964, British biographer)


Have a care, therefore, where there is more sail than ballast.


William Penn (1644-1718, British religious leader, founder of Pennsylvania)


Apothegms to thinking minds are the seeds from which spring vast fields of new thought, that may be further cultivated, beautified, and enlarged.


James Ramsey


A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool.


Joseph Roux (1834-1905, French priest, writer)


Though collecting quotations could be considered as merely an ironic mimetism -- victimless collecting, as it were... in a world that is well on its way to becoming one vast quarry, the collector becomes someone engaged in a pious work of salvage. The course of modern history having already sapped the traditions and shattered the living wholes in which precious objects once found their place, the collector may now in good conscience go about excavating the choicer, more emblematic fragments.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


In quoting of books, quote such authors as are usually read; others you may read for your own satisfaction, but not name them.


John Selden (1584-1654, British jurist, statesman)


I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.


Marcus Annaeus Seneca (BC 3-65 AD, Roman philosopher, dramatist, statesman)


For many men that stumble at the threshold are well foretold that danger lurks within.


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


I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.


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


Humanity is composed but of two categories, the invalids and the nurses.


Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816, Anglo-Irish dramatist)


The proverb answers where the sermon fails, as a well-charged pistol will do more execution than a whole barrel of gunpowder idly exploded in the air.


William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870, American author)


To be occasionally quoted is the only fame I care for.


Alexander Smith (1830-1867, Scottish poet, author)


It is better to be quotable than to be honest.


Tom Stoppard (1937-, Czech playwright)


Famous remarks are very seldom quoted correctly.


Simeon Strunsky


A quotation at the right moment is like bread to the famished.


The Talmud (BC 500?-400? AD, Jewish archive of oral tradition)


In the dying world I come from, quotation is a national vice. It used to be the classics, now it's lyric verse.


Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966, British novelist)


Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations.


Orson Welles (1915-1985, American film maker)


Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it.


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British mathematician, philosopher)


Everyone is born a king, and most people die in exile.


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


I like men who have a future and women who have a past.


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


Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.


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


A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.


Lord Peter Wimsey


One has to secrete a jelly in which to slip quotations down people's throats -- and one always secretes too much jelly.


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


Some, for renown, on scraps of learning dote, and think they grow immortal as they quote.


Edward Young (1683-1765, British poet, dramatist)


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