Quotations about   manners

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The essence of good manners consists in making it clear that one has no wish to hurt. When it is clearly necessary to hurt, it must be done in such a way as to make it evident that the necessity is felt to be regrettable.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“Good Manners and Hypocrisy,” New York American (14 Dec 1934)
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Added on 3-Jan-19 | Last updated 3-Jan-19
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Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.

Emily Post (1872-1960) American author, columnist [née Price]
(Attributed)

Often cited to her famous Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home (1922), but not found in that work. Claimed as genuine by the Emily Post Institute.
Added on 4-Oct-18 | Last updated 4-Oct-18
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Good manners are a combination of intelligence, education, taste, and style mixed together so that you don’t need any of those things.

P.J. O'Rourke (b. 1947) American humorist, editor
Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People, ch. 1 (1984)
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Added on 9-Aug-18 | Last updated 9-Aug-18
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Spiritual strength and passion, when accompanied by bad manners, only provoke loathing.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Will to Power, Part 1, “Critique of Religion,” Sec. 175 [tr. Ludovici] (1888)
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Added on 7-Jun-18 | Last updated 7-Jun-18
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Good manners — the longer I live the more convinced I am of it — are a priceless insurance against failure and loneliness. And anyone can have them.

Elsa Maxwell (1883-1963) American gossip columnist, author, songwriter, professional hostess
Elsa Maxwell’s Etiquette Book (1951)
Added on 12-Apr-18 | Last updated 12-Apr-18
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Good manners spring from just one thing — kind impulses.

Elsa Maxwell (1883-1963) American gossip columnist, author, songwriter, professional hostess
Elsa Maxwell’s Etiquette Book (1951)
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Added on 5-Apr-18 | Last updated 5-Apr-18
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Morals are three-quarters manners.

Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965) US Supreme Court Justice, jurist and teacher
Felix Frankfurter Reminiscences (1960) [ed. Harlan Phillips]
Added on 15-Feb-18 | Last updated 15-Feb-18
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Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Social Aims,” Letters and Social Aims (1875)
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Added on 2-Nov-17 | Last updated 2-Nov-17
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Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically — for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist — but then what isn’t?

Quentin Crisp (1908-1999) English writer and raconteur [b. Denis Pratt]
Manners from Heaven: A Divine Guide to Good Behavior (1984)
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Added on 19-Oct-17 | Last updated 19-Oct-17
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We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
All Things Considered, “Limericks and Counsels of Perfection” (1908)
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Added on 12-Oct-17 | Last updated 12-Oct-17
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Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, but a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and color to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Letters on a Regicide Peace, Letter 1 (1796)
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Added on 7-Sep-17 | Last updated 7-Sep-17
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Good general-purpose manners nowadays may be said to consist in knowing how much you can get away with.

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) Irish author
“Manners,” Collected Impressions (1950)
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Added on 24-Aug-17 | Last updated 24-Aug-17
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I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings.

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) American novelist
The Big Sleep, ch. 3 (1939)
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In the 1943 movie adaptation by William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and J. Furthman, the Phillip Marlowe line is delivered by Humphrey Bogart: "I don't mind if you don't like my manners. I don't like them myself. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings."
Added on 18-Aug-17 | Last updated 18-Aug-17
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It is also characteristic of the great-souled man … to be haughty towards men of position and fortune, but courteous towards those of moderate station, because it is difficult and distinguished to be superior to the great, but easy to outdo the lowly, and to adopt a high manner with the former is not ill-bred, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people: it is like putting forth one’s strength against the weak.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, Book 4, ch. 3, l. 26 – 1124b.19 [tr. Rackham]
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Sometimes paraphrased: "It is not ill-bred to adopt a high manner with the great and the powerful, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people."

Alt. trans.: "Towards those in high position and prosperity he bears himself with pride, but towards ordinary men with moderation; for in the former case it is difficult to show superiority, and to do so is a lordly mater; whereas in the latter case it is easy. To be haughty among the great is no proof of bad breeding, but haughtiness among the lowly is as base-born a thing as it is to make trial of great strength upon the weak." [tr. Williams (1869)]
Added on 3-Aug-17 | Last updated 3-Aug-17
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In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
Kavanagh: A Tale (1849)
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Added on 6-Jun-17 | Last updated 6-Jun-17
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Is it progress if a cannibal uses knife and fork?

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
Unkempt Thoughts (1962)
Added on 21-Mar-17 | Last updated 21-Mar-17
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What once were vices, are now the manners of the day.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Moral Letters to Lucilius [Epistulae morales ad Lucilium], Letter 109
Added on 2-Feb-17 | Last updated 6-Feb-17
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Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Spencer Roane (1821)
Added on 15-Sep-16 | Last updated 15-Sep-16
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The scholar, without good breeding, is a pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man disagreeable.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Oct 1747)
Added on 29-Jan-16 | Last updated 29-Jan-16
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Pride, ill nature, and want of sense, are the three great sources of ill manners.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding (1754)
Added on 24-Sep-15 | Last updated 24-Sep-15
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Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something which you have to be all the time. Which isn’t easy.

Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) Italian novelist and dramatist
The Pleasure of Honesty (1917) [tr. Murray]
Added on 30-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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To be pleased, one must please. What pleases you in others will in general please them in you.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Feb 1750)
Added on 6-Apr-15 | Last updated 6-Apr-15
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Beauty loses its relish; the graces never.

Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696-1782) Scottish jurist, agriculturalist, philosopher, writer
Introduction to the Art of Thinking (1761)
Added on 12-Feb-15 | Last updated 12-Feb-15
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Some by their continual grinning and showing their Teeth make Men doubt whether they honor them, or laugh at them.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Introductio ad Prudentiam, #1395 (1731)
Added on 23-Jan-14 | Last updated 23-Jan-14
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Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy is the best bred in the company.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding (1754)
Added on 14-Apr-10 | Last updated 1-Mar-19
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