Henry James Quotes

Henry James Quotes

Obstacles are those frightening things you see when you take you eyes off your goal.

She had always observed that she got on better with clever women than silly ones like herself; the silly ones could never understand her wisdom; whereas the clever ones - the really clever ones - always understood her silliness.

Make (the reader) think the evil, make him think it for himself, and you are released from weak specifications. My values are positively all blanks, save so far as an excited horror, a promoted pity, a created expertness... proceed to read into them more or less fantastic figures.

Try to be someone upon whom nothing is lost!

Still, who could say what men ever were looking for? They looked for what they found; they knew what pleased them only when they saw it.

You were reserved for my future

If you have work to do, don't wait to feel like it; set to work and you will feel like it.

I take up my own pen again - the pen of all my old unforgettable efforts and sacred struggles. To myself - today - I need say no more. Large and full and high the future still opens. It is now indeed that I may do the work of my life. And I will.

I'm yours for ever-for ever and ever. Here I stand; I'm as firm as a rock. If you'll only trust me, how little you'll be disappointed. Be mine as I am yours.

Live all you can: it's a mistake not to. It doesn't matter what you do in particular, so long as you have had your life. If you haven't had that, what have you had?

She took refuge on the firm ground of fiction, through which indeed there curled the blue river of truth.

True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one's self; but the point is not only to get out - you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.

I don't need the aid of a clever man to teach me how to live. I can find it out for myself.

Life is a predicament which precedes death.

Her reputation for reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic.

Criticism talks a good deal of nonsense, but even its nonsense is a useful force. It keeps the question of art before the world, insists upon its importance.

It's time to start living the life you've imagined.

It has not been a successful life.'
'No - it has only been a beautiful one.

Mrs. Penniman always, even in conversation, italicised her personal pronouns.

The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have.

Though I couldn't make out what she was talking of I was terribly frightened; the absence of a clue gave such a range to one's imagination.

("Sir Edmund Orme")

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

Take the word for it of a man who has made his way inch by inch, and does not believe that we'll wake up to find our work done because we've lain all night a-dreaming of it; anything worth doing is devilish hard to do!

Our relation, all round, exists-it's a reality, and a very good one; we're mixed up, so to speak, and it's too late to change it. We must live IN it and with it

The effort really to see and really to represent is no idle business in face of the constant force that makes for muddlement. The great thing is indeed that the muddled state too is one of the very sharpest of the realities, that it also has color and form and character, has often in fact a broad and rich comicality.

We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, and I know of no substitute for the force and beauty of it's process.

..if I dont do something on the grand scale, it is that my genius is altogether imitative, and that I have nor recently encountered any very striking models of grandeur.

The historic atmosphere was there, certainly; but the historic atmosphere, scientifically considered, was no better than a villainous miasma

There's no more usual basis of union than mutual misunderstanding.

- Do you know I love you ?
- I'm sure I don't care whether you do or not !

I should think that to hear such lovely music as that would really make him feel better.”

The lady gave a discriminating smile.
“I am afraid there are moments in life when even Beethoven has nothing to say to us. We must admit, however, that they are our worst moments.

Let us be vulgar and have some fun, let us invite the President.

The American girl isn't ANY girl; she's a remarkable specimen in a remarkable species.

What we often take to be the new is simply the old under some novel form.

She’s the latest freshest fruit of our great American evolution. She’s the self-made girl!
Well, to begin with, the self-made girl’s a new feature. That, however, you know. In the second place she isn’t self-made at all. We all help to make her, we take such an interest in her.

The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.

There are two kinds of taste in the appreciation of imaginative literature: the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition.

Share Page

Henry James Wiki

Henry James At Amazon