In museums and palaces we are alternate radicals and conservatives.
It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.
I adore adverbs; they are the only qualifications I really much respect.
It’s a complex fate, being an American, and one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe.
Ideas are, in truth, force.
Life is a predicament which precedes death.
The superiority of one man’s opinion over another’s is never so great as when the opinion is about a woman.
The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination. To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master.
One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left.
I hate American simplicity. I glory in the piling up of complications of every sort. If I could pronounce the name James in any different or more elaborate way I should be in favor of doing it.
An Englishman’s never so natural as when he’s holding his tongue.
Cats and monkeys; monkeys and cats; all human life is there.
There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition.
The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.
I think I don’t regret a single ‘excess’ of my responsive youth – I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn’t embrace.