''How much longer are we going to think it necessary to be "American" before (or in contradistinction to) being cultivated, being enlightened, being humane, & having the same intellectual discipline as other civilized countries? It is really too easy a disguise for our shortcomings to dress them up as a form of patriotism!''
''... how I understand that love of living, of being in this wonderful, astounding world even if one can look at it only through the prison bars of illness and suffering! Plus je vois, the more I am thrilled by the spectacle.''
''We who knew him well know how great he would have been if he had never written a line.''
''I wonder, among all the tangles of this mortal coil, which one contains tighter knots to undo, & consequently suggests more tugging, & pain, & diversified elements of misery, than the marriage tie.''
''After all, one knows one's weak points so well, that it's rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them & invent others.''
''The American landscape has no foreground and the American mind no background.''
''I am secretly afraid of animals.... I think it is because of the usness in their eyes, with the underlying not-usness which belies it, and is so tragic a reminder of the lost age when we human beings branched off and left them: left them to eternal inarticulateness and slavery. Why? their eyes seem to ask us.''
''I have never known a novel that was good enough to be good in spite of its being adapted to the author's political views.''
''There's no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.''
''A New York divorce is in itself a diploma of virtue.''
''When people ask for time, it's always for time to say no. Yes has one more letter in it, but it doesn't take half as long to say.''
''I despair of the Republic! Such dreariness, such whining sallow women, such utter absence of the amenities, such crass food, crass manners, crass landscape!!... What a horror it is for a whole nation to be developing without the sense of beauty, & eating bananas for breakfast.''