Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.
We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.
I think I don't regret a single 'excess' of my responsive youth - I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace.
What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?
There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.
The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have.
I've always been interested in people, but I've never liked them.
Deep experience is never peaceful.
It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance... and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
In art economy is always beauty.
I adore adverbs; they are the only qualifications I really much respect.
The superiority of one man's opinion over another's is never so great as when the opinion is about a woman.
Cats and monkeys; monkeys and cats; all human life is there.
It's a complex fate, being an American, and one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe.
Ideas are, in truth, force.
Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had?
The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life.
The only success worth one's powder was success in the line of one's idiosyncrasy... what was talent but the art of being completely whatever one happened to be?
There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition.
Life is a predicament which precedes death.
A man who pretends to understand women is bad manners. For him to really to understand them is bad morals.
If I were to live my life over again, I would be an American. I would steep myself in America, I would know no other land.
It is, I think, an indisputable fact that Americans are, as Americans, the most self-conscious people in the world, and the most addicted to the belief that the other nations of the earth are in a conspiracy to under value them.
To criticize is to appreciate, to appropriate, to take intellectual possession, to establish in fine a relation with the criticized thing and to make it one's own.
I hold any writer sufficiently justified who is himself in love with his theme.
Though there are some disagreeable things in Venice there is nothing so disagreeable as the visitors.
An Englishman's never so natural as when he's holding his tongue.
Money's a horrid thing to follow, but a charming thing to meet.
The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.
The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination. To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master.
However British you may be, I am more British still.
To kill a human being is, after all, the least injury you can do him.
In museums and palaces we are alternate radicals and conservatives.
Young men of this class never do anything for themselves that they can get other people to do for them, and it is the infatuation, the devotion, the superstition of others that keeps them going. These others in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred are women.
People talk about the conscience, but it seems to me one must just bring it up to a certain point and leave it there. You can let your conscience alone if you're nice to the second housemaid.
One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left.
I hate American simplicity. I glory in the piling up of complications of every sort. If I could pronounce the name James in any different or more elaborate way I should be in favor of doing it.