- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
Please feel free to browse and borrow.
- 17,756 quotes and counting ...
Topic Cloudaction age America author beauty belief change character death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history humanity integrity justice leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics power pride religion science society success truth tyranny virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics/tags since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- * Visual quotes (graphics, memes) only
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (7,452)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (5,936)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (5,892)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,026)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,878)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,075)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (3,903)
- “Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of… (3,737)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (3,290)
- “The Historian as Participant,” Daedalus… (3,253)
Most Quoted Authors
Author CloudAdams, John • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Goethe, Johann von • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • James, William • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Lyndon • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Seneca the Younger • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Stevenson, Adlai • Stevenson, Robert Louis • Twain, Mark • Watterson, Bill • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
- 9-Nov-20 - "On Education," Address on installation as rector, University of St Andrews, Scotland (1 Feb 1867) | WIST on Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967).
- 4-Nov-20 - ***Dave Does the Blog on Democracy in America, 1.14 (1835) [tr. Reeve and Bowen (1862)].
- 4-Nov-20 - ***Dave Does the Blog on When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden (2002).
- 4-Nov-20 - ***Dave Does the Blog on Annual Message to Congress (6 Jan 1941).
- 4-Nov-20 - ***Dave Does the Blog on (Attributed) (1862).
- 4-Nov-20 - ***Dave Does the Blog on Kansas City Star (7 May 1918).
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished — a word that for them has no sense — but abandoned; and this abandonment, whether to the flames or to the public (and which is the result of weariness or an obligation to deliver) is a kind of an accident to them, like the breaking off of a reflection, which fatigue, irritation, or something similar has made worthless.
[Aux yeux de ces amateurs d’inquiétude et de perfection, un ouvrage n’est jamais achevé, – mot qui pour eux n’a aucun sens, – mais abandonné ; et cet abandon, qui le livre aux flammes ou au public (et qu’il soit l’effet de la lassitude ou de l’obligation de livrer) est une sorte d’accident, comparable à la rupture d’une réflexion, que la fatigue, le fâcheux ou quelque sensation viennent rendre nulle.]
“Au sujet du ‘Cimetière marin,'” La Nouvelle Revue Française (Mar 1933)
Often rendered as: "A poem is never finished, only abandoned."
Alt. trans.: "In the eyes of those who anxiously seek perfection, a work is never truly completed -- a word that for them has no sense -- but abandoned; and this abandonment, of the book to the fire or to the public, whether due to weariness or to a need to deliver it for publication, is a sort of accident, comparable to the letting-go of an idea that has become so tiring or annoying that one has lost all interest in it." [tr. Maggio]
In the same vein, in "Recollections," Valery wrote: "A work is never completed except by some accident such as weariness, satisfaction, the need to deliver, or death: for, in relation to who or what is making it, it can only be one stage in a series of inner transformations."
Also attributed to W. H. Auden, Oscar Wilde, and Jean Cocteau, For more discussion of the origin of this phrase, see here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Mar-19