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Quotes of the day: James Branch Cabell

Published Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 5:38 PM EDT
Apr 13 2015

James Branch Cabell (April 14, 1879 - May 5, 1958) was an American author of fantasy fiction and belles lettres. Cabell was well regarded by his contemporaries, including H.L. Mencken, Edmund Wilson, and Sinclair Lewis. His works were considered escapist and fit well in the culture of the 1920s, when his works were most popular. For Cabell, veracity was "the one unpardonable sin, not merely against art, but against human welfare." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Every notion that any man, dead, living, or unborn, might form as to the universe will necessarily prove wrong.

Everything in life is miraculous. It rests within the power of each of us to awaken from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness.

Good and evil keep very exact accounts... and the face of every man is their ledger.

I ask of literature precisely those things of which I feel the lack in my own life.

It is only by preserving faith in human dreams that we may, after all, perhaps some day make them come true.

No lady is ever a gentleman.

No person of quality ever remembers social restrictions save when considering how most piquantly to break them.

Nobody can live longer in peace than his neighbor chooses.

Our sole concern with the long dead is aesthetic.

Patriotism is the religion of hell.

People marry for a variety of reasons and with varying results. But to marry for love is to invite inevitable tragedy.

People must have both their dreams and their dinners in this world, and when we go out of it we must take what we find. That is all.

People never want to be told anything they do not believe already.

Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is.

Tell the rabble my name is Cabell.

The only way of rendering life endurable is to drink as much wine as one can come by.

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

The touch of time does more than the club of Hercules.

There are many of our so-called captains on industry who, if the truth were told, and a shorter and uglier word were not unpermissible, are little better than malefactors of great wealth.

There is no gift more great than love.

There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted.

While it is well enough to leave footprints on the sands of time, it is even more important to make sure they point in a commendable direction.

Why is the King of Hearts the only one that hasn't a moustache?


(April 14 is also the birthday of Arnold J. Toynbee and Richard Jeni.)

Categories: James Branch Cabell, Quotes of the day


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