Quotations about   aphorism

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What are the proper proportions of a maxim? A minimum of sound to a maximum of sense.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
More Tramps Abroad, Epigraph, ch. 23 (1897)
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Added on 17-Aug-18 | Last updated 17-Aug-18
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Maxims are to the intellect what laws are to actions; they do not enlighten, but they guide and direct; and although themselves blind, are protective. They are like the clue in the labyrinth, or the compass in the night.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées, # 138 (1838)
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Alt. trans.: "Maxims are to the intelligence what laws are to action: they do not illuminate, but they guide, they control, they rescue blindly. They are the clue in the labyrinth, the ship's compass in the night."
Added on 31-Jul-18 | Last updated 1-Aug-18
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The aphorism is a personal observation inflated into a universal truth, a private posing as a general. A proverb is anonymous human history compressed to the size of a seed.

Stefan Kanfer (b. 1933) American writer, editor, journalist
“Proverbs or Aphorisms,” Time (11 Jun 1983)
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Added on 3-Apr-18 | Last updated 3-Apr-18
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The essence of aphorism is the compression of a mass of thought and observation into a single saying. It is the very opposite of dissertation and declamation; its distinction is not so much ingenuity, as good sense brought to a point.

John Morley (1838-1923) English statesman, journalist, writer [John, Viscount Morley]
“Aphorisms,” speech, Edinburgh (1887)
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Added on 20-Mar-18 | Last updated 20-Mar-18
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Our live experiences, fixed in aphorisms, stiffen into cold epigram. Our heart’s blood, as we write with it, turns to mere dull ink.

F. H. Bradley (1846-1924) British idealist philosopher [Francis Herbert Bradley]
Aphorisms (1930)
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Added on 12-Dec-17 | Last updated 12-Dec-17
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The best aphorisms are pointed expressions of the results of observation, experience, and reflection. They are portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feeling. They furnish the largest amount of intellectual stimulus and nutriment in the smallest compass. About every weak point in human nature, or vicious spot in human life, there is deposited a crystallization of warning and protective proverbs.

William Rounseville Alger (1822-1905) American writer, minister, translator
“The Utility and the Futility of Aphorisms,” Atlantic Monthly (Feb 1863)
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Often paraphrased, "Aphorisms are portable wisdom."
Added on 22-Nov-17 | Last updated 22-Nov-17
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Proverbs contradict each other. That is the wisdom of a nation.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
Unkempt Thoughts (1962)
Added on 16-Mar-17 | Last updated 16-Mar-17
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Poets are like proverbs: you can always find one to contradict another.

[Les poëtes sont comme les proverbes : l’un est toujours là pour contredire l’autre.]

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
The Survivors of the Chancellor, ch. 5 “An Unusual Route” (1875)
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Added on 3-Jun-16 | Last updated 3-Jun-16
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You may get a large amount of truth into a brief space.

Beecher - into a brief space - wist_info quote

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
(Attributed)
Added on 11-Mar-16 | Last updated 11-Mar-16
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“Life is like a sewer — what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.” It’s always seemed to me that this is precisely the sort of dynamic, positive thinking that we so desperately need today in these trying times of crisis and universal brouhaha.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
Introduction to “We Will All Go Together When We Go,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
Added on 3-Mar-16 | Last updated 3-Mar-16
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Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.

George Santayana (1863-1952) Spanish-American poet and philosopher [Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruíz de Santayana y Borrás]
(Attributed)
Added on 19-Mar-14 | Last updated 19-Mar-14
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A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) Spanish novelist
Don Quixote, Part 2 (1615)
Added on 19-Nov-12 | Last updated 9-Jun-15
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I ask for your indulgence when I march out quotations. This is the double syndrome of men who write for a living and men who are over forty. The young smoke pot — we inhale from our Bartlett’s.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Speech at Moorpark College, California (3 Dec 1968)
Added on 24-Jun-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-17
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What is all wisdom save a collection of platitudes? But the man who orders his life according to their teachings cannot go far wrong.

Norman Douglas (1868-1952) Austro-British writer
South Wind, ch. 16 (1917)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Apr-14
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Men’s maxims reveal their characters.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #107 (1746) [tr Stevens (1940)]

Alt. trans.: "The maxims of men reveal their hearts."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-Jul-18
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