- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
WIST currently holds 19,632 quotations by 3,057 authors. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
Author CloudAristotle • Asimov, Isaac • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterfield (Lord) • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Cicero, Marcus Tullius • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Homer • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Martial • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Sophocles • Tolkien, J.R.R. • Twain, Mark • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
Most Quoted Authors
Topic Cloudaction age America author beauty belief change character courage death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history human nature humanity integrity liberty life love morality perspective politics power progress reality religion science society success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (10,009)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (6,676)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (6,259)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,639)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,970)
- “Tips for Teens,” Social Studies (1981) (4,822)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,634)
- Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907) (4,629)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (4,253)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (4,150)
- “Caesar,” Lives [tr. Dryden (1693)] on
- Shakespeare Up-to-Date on
- First Principles, Pt. I “The Unknowable,” ch. 1 “Religion and Science”” (1862) on
- Hamlet, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 366ff [Rosencrantz] (c. 1600) on
- Letter to the Danbury Baptists (1 Jan 1802) on
- Letter to the Synod of the Reformed Church of North America (12 Jun 1832) on
- (Attributed) on
- Problems [Problemata], Book 30, Q. 1 / 953a [tr. @sentantiq (2018)] on
- Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 17 / 1455a.33 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Bywater (1909)] on
- Moral Essays, “On Tranquility of Mind [De Tranquillitate Animi],” 17.10 [tr. Langsdorf (1900)] on
The only advice I ever give actors is to learn to speak clearly, to project your voice without shouting — and to move about the stage gracefully, without bumping into people.
Quoted in Leonard Lyons, “The Lyons Den” syndicated column (16 Aug 1954)
Variants attributed to Coward:
Alternately, another Lyons Den column (24 Jan 1955) quoted Lynn Fontanne, in talking about her acting style with her husband Alfred Lunt:
- "You ask my advice about acting? Speak clearly, don't bump into the furniture and if you must have motivation, think of your pay packet on Friday."
- "Just say the lines and don't trip over the furniture." [Dick Richards, The Wit of Noël Coward (1968)]
We read the lines so that people can hear and understand them; we move about the stage without bumping into the furniture or each other; and, well that’s it.
Coward and Fontanne were good friends, and may well have discussed the concepts here previously, or shared the idea one to the other.
The quote is also attributed to Lunt, and to Spencer Tracy.
More discussion about this quotation:
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Mar-22
Visited 31 time(s).