Quotations From MARK TWAIN [SAMUEL LANGHORNE CLEMENS]


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  • It grieves me to think how far more profound and reverent a respect the law would have for literature if a body could only get drunk on it.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. (1881). "Dinner Speech in Montreal," p. 777, Mark Twain: Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays, 1852-1890, Library of America (1992). Discussing the lack of international copyright law.

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  • Let us be grateful to Adam, our benefactor. He cut us out of the "blessing" of idleness and won for us the "curse" of labor.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar," ch. 33, Following the Equator (1897).

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  • No one has ever seen a Republican mass meeting that was devoid of the perception of the ludicrous.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Speech, 1884. "Turncoats," Mark Twain's Speeches, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine (1923). Closing words.
  • There isn't a single human characteristic that can be safely labeled as "American."
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. repr. In Complete Essays, ed. Charles Neider (1963). "What Paul Bourget Thinks of Us," North American Review (Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jan. 1895).
  • What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Speech to the Washington Correspondents' Club. "Woman—an Opinion," Mark Twain's Speeches, ed. William Dean Howells, Harpers (1910).

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  • Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of Humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Following the Equator, ch. 10 (1897).

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  • If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill came always together, who would escape hanging?
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Following the Equator, ch. 46 (1897).

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  • I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious—except he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Mark Twain's Notebooks and Journals, vol. 3, notebook 27 (Aug. 1887-July 1888), ed. Frederick Anderson (1979).
  • Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar," ch. 52, Following the Equator (1897).
  • There are many humorous things in the world; among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Following the Equator, ch. (1897).

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