March 2015

Mark Haysom is the author of the critically acclaimed ‘Love, Love Me Do’ and ‘Imagine’. Here he publishes his favourite quotes from great writers and great thinkers.

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Oscar Wilde

‘I always pass on good advice.  It’s the only thing to do with it.  It is never any use to oneself.’ Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband, 1895

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. (Source: Wikipedia)

Marcus Tullius Cicero

‘It is foolish to tear one’s hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness’ Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC), was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists. His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Horace

‘Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone’ Horace

Quintus Horatius Flaccus (December 8, 65 BC – November 27, 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus (also known as Octavian). Quintillian regarded his Odes as just about the only Latin lyrics worth reading: “He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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Robert Frost

‘By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day’ – Robert Frost

Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. One of the most popular and critically respected American poets of the twentieth century, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. (Source: Wikipedia)

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John Steinbeck

‘It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it’ John Steinbeck

John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (February 26, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939), East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). (Source: Wikipedia)

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Henry David Thoreau

‘If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment’ Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Oscar Wilde

‘In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.’ Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Mark Twain

‘If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything’ Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Truman Capote

‘Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour’ Truman Capote

Truman Streckfus Persons (September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984), known as Truman Capote was an American author, screenwriter, playwright, actor, many of whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) and the true crime novel In Cold Blood (1966), which he labelled a “nonfiction novel.” At least 20 films and television dramas have been produced of Capote novels, stories, and plays. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘It is not length of life, but depth of life’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Lao Tzu

‘To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders’ – Lao Tzu

Laozi (also Lao-Tzu) was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. He is best known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, but he is also revered as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Although a legendary figure, he is usually dated to around the 6th century BC and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius, but some historians contend that he actually lived during the Warring States period of the 5th or 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Throughout history, Laozi’s work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements. (Source: Wikipedia)

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TS Eliot

‘To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life’ – T.S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and one of the twentieth century’s major poets. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri. However he emigrated to England in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39, renouncing his American citizenship. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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Theodore Roethke

‘What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible’ – Theodore Roethke

Theodore Huebner Roethke (May 25, 1908 – August 1, 1963) was an American poet. He published several volumes of award-winning and critically acclaimed poetry. Roethke is regarded as one of the most accomplished and influential poets of his generation. Roethke’s work is characterized by its introspection, rhythm and natural imagery. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1954 for his book, The Waking. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Albert Schweitzer

‘Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory’ – Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer, OM (14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was a German—and later French—theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary in Africa, also known for his historical work on Jesus. He was born in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire, considered himself French and wrote mostly in French. Schweitzer, a Lutheran, challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by historical-critical methodology current at this time in certain academic circles, as well as the traditional Christian view. He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Mahatma Gandhi

‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi(2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the preeminent leader of Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi was a prolific writer. One of Gandhi’s earliest publications, Hind Swaraj, published in Gujarati in 1909, is recognised as the intellectual blueprint of India’s independence movement. For decades he edited several newspapers including Harijan in Gujarati, in Hindi and in the English language; Indian Opinion while in South Africa and, Young India, in English, and Navajivan, a Gujarati monthly, on his return to India. Gandhi also wrote several books including his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth , of which he bought the entire first edition to make sure it was reprinted. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Lao Tzu

‘If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading’ – Lao Tzu

Laozi (also Lao-Tzu) was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. He is best known as the reputed author of theTao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, but he is also revered as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Although a legendary figure, he is usually dated to around the 6th century BC and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius, but some historians contend that he actually lived during the Warring States period of the 5th or 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Throughout history, Laozi’s work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements. (Source: Wikipedia)

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A.A. Milne by Howard Coster

‘Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think’ – A.A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne ( 18 January 1882 – 31 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children’s poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Mark Twain 2

‘Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.’ Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Tennessee Williams

‘In memory everything seems to happen to music’ – Tennesse Williams, The Glass Menagerie

Thomas LanierTennesseeWilliams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) was an American playwright and author of many stage classics. Along with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller he is considered among the three foremost playwrights in 20th century American drama. After years of obscurity, he became suddenly famous with The Glass Menagerie (1944), closely reflecting his own unhappy family background. (Source: Wikipedia)

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William Cowper

‘Knowledge is proud that it knows so much; wisdom is humble that it knows no more’ – William Cowper

William Cowper (26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800) was an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him “the best modern poet”, whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Charles Lamb

‘The privilege of friendship: to talk nonsense, and to have that nonsense respected’ – Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb (10 February 1775 – 27 December 1834) was an English writer and essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children’s book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced with his sister, Mary Lamb (1764–1847). He also wrote a number of poems, and was part of a literary circle in England, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, whom he befriended. He has been referred to by E. V. Lucas, his principal biographer, as “the most lovable figure in English literature”. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Forster

‘We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us’ E. M. Forster

Edward Morgan Forster OM, CH (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970) was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster’s humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: “Only connect … “. His 1908 novel, A Room with a View, is his most optimistic work, while A Passage to India (1924) brought him his greatest success.

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Charles Dickens

‘There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart’ – Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens ( 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his lifetime, his works enjoyed unprecedented popularity, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best known work of historical fiction. Dickens’s creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Mark Twain 2

‘Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen’ – Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Charles Dickens

‘I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape’ – Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Charles John Huffam Dickens ( 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his lifetime, his works enjoyed unprecedented popularity, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best known work of historical fiction. Dickens’s creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. (Source: Wikipedia)

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10. Emerson

‘The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be’– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Thomas Paine

‘We have it in our power to begin the world over again’ – Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an English and American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the rebels in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called “a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination”.

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Joan Didion

‘You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from’ – Joan Didion

Joan Didion (born December 5, 1934) is an American author best known for her novels and her literary journalism. Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work. (Source: Wikipedia)

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John Burroughs 1909

‘The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are.’ – John Burroughs

John Burroughs (April 3, 1837 – March 29, 1921) was an American naturalist and nature essayist, active in the U.S. conservation movement. The first of his essay collections was Wake-Robin in 1871. In the words of his biographer Edward Renehan, Burroughs’ special identity was less that of a scientific naturalist than that of “a literary naturalist with a duty to record his own unique perceptions of the natural world.” The result was a body of work whose resonance with the tone of its cultural moment explains both its popularity at that time, and its relative obscurity since. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Oscar Wilde

‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go’ – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. (Source: Wikipedia)

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