Quotations From EDITH WHARTON


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  • A New York divorce is in itself a diploma of virtue.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. The Descent of Man, ch. 1 (1904).
  • 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.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. Judith, in The Children, ch. 25 (1928).

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  • 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.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. letter, Feb. 12, 1909. The Letters of Edith Wharton (1988).

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  • 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.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. letter, Aug. 19, 1904, to Sara Norton, daughter of distinguished scholar Charles Eliot Norton. The Letters of Edith Wharton (1988).

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  • 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.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. Letter, August 19, 1927, to novelist and socialist Upton Sinclair. The Letters of Edith Wharton (1988).
  • We who knew him well know how great he would have been if he had never written a line.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. Letter of condolence, March 1, 1916, written the day after James's death. The Letters of Edith Wharton (1988).
  • After all, one knows one's weak points so well, that it's rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them & invent others.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. letter, Nov. 19, 1907, following the publication of The Fruit of the Tree. The Letters of Edith Wharton (1988).
  • 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!
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. Letter, July 19, 1919. The Letters of Edith Wharton (1988).
  • 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.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author; later relocated to France. Part 6. As quoted in Edith Wharton, by R.W.B. Lewis (1975). From a journal entry dated 1924.

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  • There's no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. "A First Word," A Backward Glance (1934).

    Read more quotations about / on: sorrow
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