Quotations about   novelty

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I like handling newborn animals. Fallen into life from an unmappable world, they are the ultimate immigrants, full of wonder and confusion.

Diane Ackerman (b. 1948) American poet, author, naturalist
The Moon by Whale Light, ch. 4 “White Lanterns” (1991)
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Added on 14-Apr-20 | Last updated 14-Apr-20
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In art, there are only two types of people: revolutionaries and plagiarists. And in the end, doesn’t the revolutionary’s work become official, once the State takes it over?

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) French painter [Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin]
Letter in Le Soir (25 Apr 1895)

Collected in Daniel Guérin, ed., The Writings of a Savage (1996) [tr. Levieux].

Often given as "Art is either plagiarism or revolution," or sometimes "Art is either a revolutionist or a plagiarist." This is often cited from James Huneker, The Pathos of Distance (1913), but there it is given as a paraphrase: "Paul Gauguin has said that in art one is either a plagiarist or a revolutionary."

(Huneker's book elsewhere contains the parallel paraphrase, "Paul Gauguin has said that all artists are either revolutionists or reactionists.")
Added on 2-Apr-20 | Last updated 2-Apr-20
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The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) English comic actor, film director, composer
My Autobiography, ch. 22 (1964)
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Added on 8-Jan-20 | Last updated 8-Jan-20
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Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety; other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 271 [Enobarbus] (1607)
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Added on 10-Nov-17 | Last updated 10-Nov-17
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Happiness ain’t a thing in itself, it’s only a contrast with something that ain’t pleasant. That’s all it is. There ain’t a thing you can mention that is happiness in its own self — it’s only so by contrast with the other thing. And so, as soon as the novelty is over and the force of the contrast dulled, it ain’t happiness any longer, and you have to get something fresh.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” Harper’s Monthly Magazine (Dec 1907)
Added on 30-Mar-17 | Last updated 30-Mar-17
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FRISCO DOLL: Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

Mae West (1892-1980) American film actress
Klondike Annie (1936)
Added on 11-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Nov-16
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Change is not always progress. […] A fever of newness has been everywhere confused with the spirit of progress.

Henry Ford (1863-1947) American industrialist
Ford Ideals (1922)
Added on 18-Aug-16 | Last updated 18-Aug-16
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The whole lesson of my life has been that no ‘methods of stimulation’ are of any lasting use. They are indeed like drugs — a stronger dose is needed each time and soon no possible dose is effective. We must not bother about thrills at all. Do the present duty — bear the present pain — enjoy the present pleasure — and leave emotions and ‘experiences’ to look after themselves.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Mrs. Ray Garrett (12 Sep 1960)
Added on 14-Oct-15 | Last updated 14-Oct-15
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People are very open-minded about new things — as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 28-Aug-15 | Last updated 28-Aug-15
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Beauty loses its relish; the Graces, never: After the longest acquaintance, they are no less agreeable than at first.

Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696-1782) Scottish jurist, agriculturalist, philosopher, writer
Introduction to the Art of Thinking, ch. 4 (1761)
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Such is the state of life, that none are happy but by the anticipation of change: the change itself is nothing; when we have made it, the next wish is to change again. The world is not yet exhausted; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, ch. 47 (1759)
Added on 11-Jul-14 | Last updated 13-Oct-14
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A man with a new idea is a Crank until the idea succeeds.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 32, epigraph (1897)
Added on 1-May-12 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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The greatest vicissitude of things amongst men is the vicissitude of sects and religions.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Vicissitude of Things,” Essays, No. 58 (1625)
Added on 20-Aug-10 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)

After Johnson.
Added on 8-Jun-09 | Last updated 21-Jun-16
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He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Innovation,” Essays, No. 26 (1625)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-May-16
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