''The rhythm of the weekend, with its birth, its planned gaieties, and its announced end, followed the rhythm of life and was a substitute for it.''
''When he urinated, it sounded like night prayer.''
''The easiest way to get a reputation is to go outside the fold, shout around for a few years as a violent atheist or a dangerous radical, and then crawl back to the shelter.''
''Though the Jazz Age continued it became less and less an affair of youth. The sequel was like a children's party taken over by the elders.''
''Switzerland is a country where very few things begin, but many things end.''
''Of all natural forces, vitality is the incommunicable one.... Vitality never "takes." You have it or you haven't it, like health or brown eyes or a baritone voice.''
''Either you think—or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.''
''It is in the thirties that we want friends. In the forties we know they won't save us any more than love did.''
''No decent career was ever founded on a public.''
''I'm a romantic—a sentimental person thinks things will last—a romantic person hopes against hope that they won't.''
''Everybody's youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness.''
''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.''
''Listen, little Elia: draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I'll tell you a story.''
''To write it, it took three months; to conceive it three minutes; to collect the data in it—all my life.''
''Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.''
''Shakespeare—whetting, frustrating, surprising and gratifying.''
''You can stroke people with words.''
''All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.''
''At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide.''
''No such thing as a man willing to be honest—that would be like a blind man willing to see.''
''Some men have a necessity to be mean, as if they were exercising a faculty which they had to partially neglect since early childhood.''
''Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat ... the redeeming things are not "happiness and pleasure" but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.''
''Optimism is the content of small men in high places.''
''In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.''
''I talk with the authority of failure—Ernest with the authority of success. We could never sit across the same table again.''
''It occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.''
''After all, life hasn't much to offer except youth and I suppose for older people the love of youth in others.''
''What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years?''
''An idea ran back and forward in his head like a blind man, knocking over the solid furniture.''
''Thirty—the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning brief-case of enthusiasm, thinning hair.''
''The intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions.''
''The hangover became a part of the day as well allowed-for as the Spanish siesta.''
''Sometimes I think that idlers seem to be a special class for whom nothing can be planned, plead as one will with them—their only contribution to the human family is to warm a seat at the common table.''
''There never was a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn't be. He is too many people, if he's any good.''
''His life was a sort of dream, as are most lives with the mainspring left out.''
''Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement—discouragement has a germ of its own, as different from trouble as arthritis is different from a stiff joint.''
''Speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again.''
''When people are taken out of their depths they lose their heads, no matter how charming a bluff they may put up.''
''Great art is the contempt of a great man for small art.''
''Young people do not perceive at once that the giver of wounds is the enemy and the quoted tattle merely the arrow.''
''Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures.''
''It's not a slam at you when people are rude—it's a slam at the people they've met before.''
''Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.''
''The idea that to make a man work you've got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We've done that for so long that we've forgotten there's any other way.''
''Action is character.''
''A big man has no time really to do anything but just sit and be big.''
''Beware the artist who's an intellectual also. The artist who doesn't fit.''
''Advertising is a racket, like the movies and the brokerage business. You cannot be honest without admitting that its constructive contribution to humanity is exactly minus zero.''
''Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.''
''It is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory.''
''Scratch a Yale man with both hands and you'll be lucky to find a coast-guard. Usually you find nothing at all.''
''Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues.''
''My idea is always to reach my generation. The wise writer ... writes for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.''
''For awhile after you quit Keats all other poetry seems to be only whistling or humming.''
''I've been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library.''
''There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.''
''Poetry is either something that lives like fire inside you—like music to the musician or Marxism to the Communist—or else it is nothing, an empty formalized bore around which pedants can endlessly drone their notes and explanations.''
''Riches have never fascinated me, unless combined with the greatest charm or distinction.''
''One of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-climax.''
''Often I think writing is a sheer paring away of oneself leaving always something thinner, barer, more meager.''
''I hate the place like poison with a sincere hatred.''
''I am not a great man, but sometimes I think the impersonal and objective equality of my talent and the sacrifices of it, in pieces, to preserve its essential value has some sort of epic grandeur.''
''Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues.''
''A great social success is a pretty girl who plays her cards as carefully as if she were plain.''
''The compensation of a very early success is a conviction that life is a romantic matter. In the best sense one stays young.''
''Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known.''
''Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known.''
''I like people and I like them to like me, but I wear my heart where God put it—on the inside.''
''The faces of most American women over thirty are relief maps of petulant and bewildered unhappiness.''
''Boredom is not an end-product, is comparatively rather an early stage in life and art. You've got to go by or past or through boredom, as through a filter, before the clear product emerges.''
''To a profound pessimist about life, being in danger is not depressing.''
''Only remember—west of the Mississippi it's a little more look, see, act. A little less rationalize, comment, talk.''
''Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.''
''The world, as a rule, does not live on beaches and in country clubs.''
''The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.''
''Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues.''
''His was a great sin who first invented consciousness. Let us lose it for a few hours.''
''Her unselfishness came in pretty small packages well wrapped.''
''Her body calculated to a millimeter to suggest a bud yet guarantee a flower.''
''In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.''
''No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.''
''There are no second acts in American lives.''
''Eighteen might look at thirty-four through a rising mist of adolescence; but twenty-two would see thirty-eight with discerning clarity.''
''At any rate, let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That's a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try.''
''Any walk through a park that runs between a double line of mangy trees and passes brazenly by the ladies' toilet is invariably known as "Lover's Lane."''
''It's a mining town in lotus land.''