Quotations About / On: HUMOR
In truth, politeness is artificial good humor, it covers the natural want of it, and ends by rendering habitual a substitute nearly equivalent to the real virtue.
(Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. letter, Nov. 24, 1808, to his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph.)
Probably it is impossible for humor to be ever a revolutionary weapon. Candide can do little more than generate irony.
(Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, notebook entry 1931-1932, ed. William Philips (1985).)
Dostoevski is not a great writer, but a rather mediocre onewith flashes of excellent humor, but, alas, with wastelands of literary platitudes in between.
(Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. "Fyodor Dostoevski," Lectures on Russian Literature (1981).
"From the point of view of enduring art and individual genius.")
An emotional man may possess no humor, but a humorous man usually has deep pockets of emotion, sometimes tucked away or forgotten.
(Constance Rourke (1885-1941), U.S. author. American Humor, ch. 1 (1931).)
The whimsicalness of our own humor is a thousand times more fickle and unaccountable than what we blame so much in fortune.
(François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), French writer, moralist. repr. F.A. Stokes Co., New York (c. 1930). Moral Maxims and Reflections, no. 46 (1665-1678), trans. London (1706).)
Humor does not rescue us from unhappiness, but enables us to move back from it a little.
(Mason Cooley (b. 1927), U.S. aphorist. City Aphorisms, Seventh Selection, New York (1990).)
Men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig. How many of them will own up to a lack of humor?
(Frank Moore Colby (1865-1925), U.S. editor, essayist. "Satire and Teeth," vol. 1, The Colby Essays (1926).)
Oversimplified, Mercier's Hypothesis would run like this: "Wit is always absurd and true, humor absurd and untrue."
(Vivian Mercier (b. 1919), Irish-born U.S. critic, educator. "Truth and Laughter: A Theory of Wit and Humor," The Nation (August 6, 1960).)
When humor can be made to alternate with melancholy, one has a success, but when the same things are funny and melancholic at the same time, it's just wonderful.
(François Truffaut (1932-1984), French film director. letter, Jan. 15, 1980. Letters (1989, French edition, 1988).)
Married people should not be quick to hear what is said by either when in ill humor.
(Samuel Richardson (1689-1761), British novelist. First edition, London (1753-1754). Sir Charles Grandison, in Sir Charles Grandison, vol. 4, letter 4, Oxford University Press (1972, repr. 1986).)