Quotations From ELLEN GLASGOW


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  • Women like to sit down with trouble as if it were knitting.
    Ellen Glasgow (1874-1945), U.S. novelist. Jenny Blair, in The Sheltered Life, pt. 3, sct. 3 (1932).

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  • No idea is so antiquated that it was not once modern. No idea is so modern that it will not someday be antiquated.
    Ellen Glasgow (1874-1945), U.S. novelist. Address, 1936, to the Modern Language Association. The Quotable Woman, ed. Elaine Partnow (1982).
  • ... the ordinary is simply the universal observed from the surface, that the direct approach to reality is not without, but within. Touch life anywhere ... and you will touch universality wherever you touch the earth.
    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945), U.S. novelist. The Woman Within, ch. 10 (1954). Written in 1944. Glasgow said that she gained this insight from reading the great Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910).

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  • I would write of the universal, not the provincial, in human nature.... I would write of characters, not of characteristics.
    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945), U.S. novelist. The Woman Within, ch. 11 (1954). Written in 1944.

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  • Mediocrity would always win by force of numbers, but it would win only more mediocrity.
    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945), U.S. novelist. The Woman Within, ch. 21 (1954). Written in 1937.
  • The worst thing about war is that so many people enjoy it.
    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945), U.S. novelist. The Woman Within, ch. 19 (1954). Written in 1944, near the end of World War II.

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  • Insolent youth rides, now, in the whirlwind. For those modern iconoclasts who are without culture possess, apparently, all the courage.
    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945), U.S. novelist. The Woman Within, ch. 12 (1954). Written in 1944, of the "New South." Glasgow had grown up in the more traditional Southern ambience of late-nineteenth-century Virginia.

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  • The attraction of horror is a mental, or even an intellectual, excitement, but the fascination of the repulsive, so noticeable in contemporary writing, can spring openly from some rotted substance within our civilization ...
    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945), U.S. novelist. The Woman Within, ch. 21 (1954). Written in 1937.

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  • I was always a feminist, for I liked intellectual revolt as much as I disliked physical violence. On the whole, I think women have lost something precious, but have gained, immeasurably, by the passing of the old order.
    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945), U.S. novelist. The Woman Within, ch. 14 (1954).

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  • ... the novel, as a living force, if not as a work of art, owes an incalculable debt to what we call, mistakenly, the new psychology, to Freud, in his earlier interpretations, and more truly, I think, to Jung.
    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945), U.S. novelist. The Woman Within, ch. 21 (1954). Written in 1937. Glasgow, an important Southern novelist, was never a "disciple" of the psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) or Carl Jung (1875-1961), but lauded "the invigorating effect of this fresh approach to experience." These thinkers were attracting a great deal of attention among artists and intellectuals when Glasgow wrote this.

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