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Quotes of the day: George Eliot

Published Friday, November 22, 2013 @ 12:09 AM EST
Nov 22 2013

Mary Anne (alternatively Mary Ann or Marian) Evans (November 22, 1819 - December 22, 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight. She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot's life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for over 20 years. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.

An ass may bray a good while before he shakes the stars down.

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.

Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love...

Animals are such agreeable friends-they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning; but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing.

Better spend an extra hundred or two on your son's education, than leave it to him in your will.

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.

Childhood has no forebodings; but then, it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow.

Consequences are unpitying. Our deeds carry their terrible consequences, quite apart from any fluctuations that went before- consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves.

Every man who is not a monster, a mathematician, or a mad philosopher, is the slave of some woman or other.

Hate is like fire- it makes even light rubbish deadly.

Human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth: it does not wait for beauty — it flows with resistless force and brings beauty with it.

If art does not enlarge men's sympathies, it does nothing morally.

Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities.

Imagination is a licensed trespasser: it has no fear of dogs, but may climb over walls and peep in at windows with impunity.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt

It's never too late to become what you might have been.

It is so much easier to make up your mind that your neighbor is good for nothing, than to enter into all the circumstances that would oblige you to modify that opinion.

I've never any pity for conceited people, because I think they carry their comfort about with them.

Men's lives are as thoroughly blended with each other as the air they breathe: evil spreads as necessarily as disease.

My own experience and development deepen everyday my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.

Love has a way of cheating itself consciously, like a child who plays at solitary hide-and-seek; it is pleased with assurances that it all the while disbelieves.

Nice distinctions are troublesome.

One gets a bad habit of being unhappy.

Opposition may become sweet to a man when he has christened it persecution.

Our deeds are like children that are born to us; they live and act apart from our own will. Nay, children may be strangled, but deeds never: they have an indestructible life both in and out of our consciousness;

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds...

People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors.

People who can't be witty exert themselves to be devout and affectionate.

Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.

The blessed work of helping the world forward, happily does not wait to be done by perfect men.

The darkest night that ever fell upon the earth never hid the light, never put out the stars. It only made the stars more keenly, kindly glancing, as if in protest against the darkness.

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.

The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history.

The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.

The only failure a man ought to fear is failure of cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.

There are few prophets in the world; few sublimely beautiful women; few heroes. I can't afford to give all my love and reverence to such rarities: I want a great deal of those feelings for my every-day fellow-men, especially for the few in the foreground of the great multitude, whose faces I know, whose hands I touch for whom I have to make way with kindly courtesy.

There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and to have recovered hope.

There's a sort of wrong that can never be made up for.

To judge wisely, we must know how things appear to the unwise.

To manage men, one ought to have a sharp mind in a velvet sheath.

We cannot reform our forefathers.

We hand folks over to God's mercy, and show none ourselves.

We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?

What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?

Worldly faces, never look so worldly as at a funeral.

Categories: George Eliot, Quotes of the day


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