Quotations about   obscurity

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There’s nothing like studying the bestseller lists of bygone years for teaching an author humility. You’ve heard of the ones that got filmed, normally. Mostly you realize that today’s bestsellers are tomorrow’s forgotten things.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“This Much I Know,” The Guardian (5 Aug 2017)
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Added on 28-Aug-17 | Last updated 28-Aug-17
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Those who know they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound strive for obscurity. For the crowd believes that if it cannot see to the bottom of something it must be profound. It is timid and dislikes going into the water.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Gay Science [Die fröhliche Wissenschaft] (1882)
Added on 15-Apr-17 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
Beyond Good and Evil, 169 (1886) [tr. Kaufmann (1966)]
Added on 6-Apr-17 | Last updated 6-Apr-17
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Don’t express your ideas too clearly. Most people think little of what they understand, and venerate what they do not.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish writer.
The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)
Added on 31-Mar-17 | Last updated 31-Mar-17
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I could name all day, those women I deem great in Greece alone and the records would scarcely be complete. And what of Joan of Arc and Emma Goldman? Kate Richards O’Hare and Sarah Bernhardt? Katherine the Great and Elizabeth Barrett Browning? H.D. and Sara Teasdale? Isibella of Spain who pawned her gems that Columbus might sail, and Edna St. Vincent Millay? And that queen, Marie, I think her name was, of some small province — Hungary I believe — who fought Prussia and Russia so long and so bitterly. And Rome — oh, the list is endless there, also — most of them were glorified harlots but better be a glorified harlot than a drab and moral drone, such as the text books teach us woman should be. Woman have always been the inspiration of men, and just as there are thousands of unknown great ones among men, there have been countless women whose names have never been blazoned across the stars, but who have inspired men on to glory.

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) American author
Letter to Harold Preece (c. Dec 1928)
Added on 31-May-16 | Last updated 31-May-16
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True bravery is shown by performing without witness what one might be capable of doing before all the world!

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims], #216 (1665-1678)
Added on 11-Dec-15 | Last updated 11-Dec-15
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Not a day passes over the earth but men and women of no note do great deeds, speak great words, and suffer noble sorrows.

Reade - of no note - wist_info

Charles Reade (1814-1884) English novelist and dramatist
The Cloister and the Hearth, ch. 1 (1861)
Added on 25-Nov-15 | Last updated 25-Nov-15
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There is nothing more dreadful to an author than neglect, compared with which reproach, hatred, and opposition are names of happiness.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, # 2 (24 Mar 1750)
Added on 7-Mar-14 | Last updated 7-Mar-14
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Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession.

Kingman Brewster, Jr. (1919-1988) American educator, diplomat
Speech, British Institute of Management (13 Dec 1977)
Added on 23-Sep-13 | Last updated 17-Mar-16
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The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Moving Pictures (1990)
Added on 19-Mar-08 | Last updated 4-Sep-16
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Words, like glass, obscure when they do not aid vision.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]

Alt. trans.: "Words, like eyeglasses, obscure everything they do not make clear."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-May-16
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