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Edith Wharton Quotes
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Edith Wharton Quote: “Real reading is reflex action; the born reader reads as unconsciously as he breathes; and, to carry the analogy a degree farther, reading is no more a virtue than breathing.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “There were moments when she longed blindly for anything different, anything strange, remote and untried; but the utmost reach of her imagination did not go beyond picturing her usual life in a new setting. She could not figure herself as anywhere but in a drawing-room, diffusing elegance as a flower sheds perfume.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “To keep a kind of republic of the spirit – that’s what I call success.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Ah no, he did not want May to have that kind of innocence that seals the mind against imagination and the heart against experience.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Affluence, unless stimulated by a keen imagination, forms but the vaguest notion of the practical strain of poverty.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “She sat silent, and the world lay like a sunlit valley at their feet.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “To your generation, I must represent the literary equivalent of tufted furniture and gas chandeliers.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “One of the surprises of her unoccupied state was the discovery that time, when it is left to itself and no definite demands are made on it, cannot be trusted to move at any recognized pace.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “The visible world is a daily miracle for those who have eyes and ears; and I still warm hands thankfully at the old fire, though every year it is fed with the dry wood of more old memories.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Yes: I was down there once, and for a good while afterward I could call up the sight of it in winter. But now it’s all snowed under.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Oh, I am – it’s much safer to be fond of dangerous people.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Life has a way of overgrowing its achievements as well as its ruins.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “The turnings of life seldon show a sign-post; or rather, though the sign is always there, it is usually placed some distance back, like the notices that give warning of a bad hill or a level railway-crossing.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “She would not have put herself out so much to say so little.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Because you’re such a wonderful spectacle: I always like to see what you are doing.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “But it was one of those moments when neither seemed to speak deliberately, when an indwelling voice in each called to the other across unsounded depths of feeling.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “She was something he knew he had missed: the flower of life.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “The Countess Olenska was the only young woman at the dinner; yet, as Archer scanned the smooth plump elderly faces between their diamond necklaces and towering ostrich feathers, they struck him as curiously immature compared with hers. It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “His light tone, in which, had her nerves been steadier, she would have recognized the mere effort to bridge over an awkward moment, jarred on her passionate desire to be understood. In her strange state of extra-lucidity, which gave her the sense of being already at the heart of the situation, it seemed incredible that any one should think it necessary to linger in the conventional outskirts of word-play and evasion.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “She rose too, not as if to meet him or to flee from him, but quietly, as though the worst of the task were done and she had only to wait; so quietly that, as he came close, her outstretched hands acted not as a check but as a guide to him.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “And for always getting what she wants in the long run, commend me to a nasty woman.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Original! We’re all as like each other as those dolls cut out of the same folded paper. We’re like patterns stenciled on a wall. Can’t you and I strike out for ourselves, May?”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Of course he’s good-he’s too stupid to be bad.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “There were in her at the moment two beings, one drawing deep breaths of freedom and exhilaration, the other gasping for air in a little black prison-house of fears.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “In all the arts abundance seems to be one of the surest signs of vocation.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Their voices rose and fell, like the murmuring of two fountains answering each other across a garden full of flowers. At length, with a certain tender impatience, he turned to her and said: ‘Love, why should we linger here? All eternity lies before us. Let us go down into that beautiful country together and make a home for ourselves on some blue hill above the shining river’.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Her mind was an hotel where facts came and went like transient lodgers, without leaving their address behind, and frequently without paying for their board.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Something in truth lay dead between them – the love she had killed in him and could no longer call to life. But something lived between them also, and leaped up in her like an imperishable flame: it was the love his love had kindled, the passion of her soul for his.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Something he knew he had missed: the flower of life. But he thought of it now as a thing so unattainable and improbable that to have repined would have been like despairing because one had not drawn the first prize in a lottery.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “She had several times been in love with fortunes or careers, but only once with a man.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “That very afternoon they had seemed full of brilliant qualities; now she saw that they were merely dull in a loud way.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “There was in him a slumbering spark of sociability which the long Starkfield winters had not yet extinguished. By nature grave and inarticulate, he admired recklessness and gaiety in others and was warmed to the marrow by friendly human intercourse.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “As she stood there, in her long sealskin coat, her hands thrust in a small round muff, her veil drawn down like a transparent mask to the tip of her nose, and the bunch of violets he had brought her stirring with her quickly-taken breath, it seemed incredible that this pure harmony of line and colour should ever suffer the stupid law of change.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “It was difficult to define her beyond saying that she seemed to exist only as a hostess, not so much from any exaggerated instinct of hospitality as because she could not sustain life except in a crowd.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “She often climbed up the hill and lay there alone for the mere pleasure of feeling the wind and of rubbing her cheeks in the grass. Generally at such times she did not think of anything, but lay immersed in an in an inarticulate well-being.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Now, as he reviewed his past, he saw into what a deep rut he had sunk. The worst of doing one’s duty was that it apparently unfitted one for doing anything else... There are moments when a man’s imagination, so easily subdued to what it lives in, suddenly rises above its daily level, and surveys the long windings of destiny.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “The provocation in her eyes increased his amusement – he had not supposed she would waste her powder on such small game; but perhaps she was only keeping her hand in; or perhaps a girl of her type had no conversation but of the personal kind. At any rate, she was amazingly pretty, and he had asked her to tea and must live up to his obligations.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “What’s the use – when you will go back?” he broke out, a great hopeless How on earth can I keep you? crying out to her beneath his words.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Every community classifies, coerces, and restricts its members in some fashion; the particulars vary, but compliance with social forms is an inescapable fact of human existence. The exaggerated requirements.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “As the pain that can be told is but half a pain, so the pity that questions has little healing in its touch. What Lily craved was the darkness made by enfolding arms, the silence which is not solitude, but compassion holding its breath.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Until the raw ingredients of a pudding make a pudding, I shall never believe that the raw material of sensation and thought can make a work of art without the cook’s intervening.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “People struggled on for years with ‘troubles,’ but they almost always succumbed to ’complications.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “She had once more shown her talent for profiting by the unexpected, and dangerous theories as to the advisability of yielding to impulse were germinating under the surface of smiling attention which she continued to present to her companion.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “Archer disliked her use of the word “clever” almost as much as her use of the word “common”; but he was beginning to fear his tendency to dwell on the things he disliked in her. After all, her point of view had always been the same. It was that of all the people he had grown up among, and he had always regarded it as necessary but negligible. Until a few months ago he had never known a “nice” woman who looked at life differently; and if a man married it must necessarily be among the nice.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “You see, Monsieur, it’s worth everything, isn’t it, to keep one’s intellectual liberty, not to enslave one’s powers of appreciation, one’s critical independence?”
Edith Wharton Quote: “The longing was with him day and night, an incessant undefinable craving, like the sudden whim of a sick man for food and drink once tasted and long since forgotten. He could not see beyond the craving, or picture what it might lead to, for he was not conscious of any wish to speak to Madame Olenska or to hear her voice. He simply felt that if he could carry the vision of the spot of earth she walked on, and the way the sky and sea enclosed it, the rest of the world might seem less empty.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “It had evidently not occurred to her as yet that those who consent to share the bread of adversity may want the whole cake of prosperity for themselves.”
Edith Wharton Quote: “But I’ve caught it already. I am dead – I’ve been dead for months and months.”
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