"A civilized man is one who will give a serious answer to a serious question. Civilization itself is a certain sane balance of values."
"A man of genius has a right to any mode of expression."
"A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him."
"And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there... Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will."
"Any general statement is like a check drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it."
"As a bathtub lined with white porcelain, when the hot water gives out or goes tepid, so is the slow cooling of our chivalrous passion, o my much praised but-not-altogether-satisfactory lady."
"But the one thing you should. not do is to suppose that when something is wrong with the arts, it is wrong with the arts ONLY."
"Either move or be moved."
"Genius... is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one."
"Good art however "immoral" is wholly a thing of virtue. Good art can NOT be immoral. By good art I mean art that bears true witness, I mean the art that is most precise."
"Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear."
"Humanity is the rich effluvium, it is the waste and the manure and the soil, and from it grows the tree of the arts."
"I consider criticism merely a preliminary excitement, a statement of things a writer has to clear up in his own head sometime or other, probably antecedent to writing; of no value unless it come to fruit in the created work later."
"I could I trust starve like a gentleman. It's listed as part of the poetic training, you know."
"I dunno what my 23 infantile years in America signify. I left as soon as motion was autarchic - I mean my motion."
"I guess the definition of a lunatic is a man surrounded by them."
"If a patron buys from an artist who needs money, the patron then makes himself equal to the artist; he is building art into the world; he creates."
"If the individual, or heretic, gets hold of some essential truth, or sees some error in the system being practiced, he commits so many marginal errors himself that he is worn out before he can establish his point."
"It ought to be illegal for an artist to marry. If the artist must marry let him find someone more interested in art, or his art, or the artist part of him, than in him. After which let them take tea together three times a week."
"Literature is news that stays news."
"Men do not understand books until they have a certain amount of life, or at any rate no man understands a deep book, until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents."
"Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance... poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music."
"No man understands a deep book until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents."
"Nothing written for pay is worth printing. Only what has been written against the market."
"One measure of a civilization, either of an age or of a single individual, is what that age or person really wishes to do. A man's hope measures his civilization. The attainability of the hope measures, or may measure, the civilization of his nation and time."
"People find ideas a bore because they do not distinguish between live ones and stuffed ones on a shelf."
"Properly, we should read for power. Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand."
"Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding."
"The art of letters will come to an end before A.D. 2000. I shall survive as a curiosity."
"The real meditation is... the meditation on one's identity. Ah, voila une chose! You try it. You try finding out why you're you and not somebody else. And who in the blazes are you anyhow? Ah, voila une chose!"
"The worst mistake I made was that stupid, suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism."
"There is natural ignorance and there is artificial ignorance. I should say at the present moment the artificial ignorance is about eighty-five per cent."
"There is no reason why the same man should like the same books at eighteen and forty-eight."
"There once was a brainy baboon who always breathed down a bassoon for he said, "It appears that in billions of years I shall certainly hit on a tune.""
"'Tis the white stag, Fame, we're a-hunting, bid the world's hounds come to horn!"
"Wars are made to make debt."
"We do NOT know the past in chronological sequence. It may be convenient to lay it out anesthetized on the table with dates pasted on here and there, but what we know we know by ripples and spirals eddying out from us and from our own time."
"When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary."
"When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take - choose the bolder."