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Quotes of the day: Booth Tarkington

Published Tuesday, July 28, 2015 @ 5:51 PM EDT
Jul 28 2015

Newton Booth Tarkington (July 29, 1869 – May 19, 1946) was an American novelist and dramatist. A Pulitzer Prize-winner and one of the most popular novelists of his time, he wrote The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. He briefly attended Purdue University and went on to study at Princeton. In the early 1900s, he served in the Indiana House of Representatives. His best-known work, Alice Adams- the tale of a lower-middle-class woman's struggle to find a suitable husband- won the Pulitzer Prize in 1922. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and was a distant relative of Chicago Mayor James Hutchinson Woodworth. He was the third writer, after William Faulkner and John Updike, to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband.

At twenty-one or twenty-two so many things appear solid and permanent and terrible which forty sees are nothing but disappearing miasma. Forty can't tell twenty about this; that's the pity of it! Twenty can find out only by getting to be forty.

Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age.

Destiny has a constant passion for the incongruous.

Gossip is never fatal until it is denied.

I mean the things that we have and that we think are so solid- they're like smoke, and time is like the sky that the smoke disappears into. You know how wreath of smoke goes up from a chimney, and seems all thick and black and busy against the sky, as if it were going to do such important things and last forever, and you see it getting thinner and thinner-and then, in such a little while, it isn't there at all; nothing is left but the sky, and the sky keeps on being just the same forever.

I suppose about the only good in pretending is the fun we get out of fooling ourselves that we fool somebody.

I've lived long enough to know that circumstances can beat the best of us.

In the days before deathly contrivances hustled them through their lives, and when they had no telephones- another ancient vacancy profoundly responsible for leisure- they had time for everything: time to think, to talk, time to read, time to wait for a lady!

It is love in old age, no longer blind, that is true love. For the love's highest intensity doesn't necessarily mean it's highest quality.

Nobody has a good name in a bad mouth. Nobody has a good name in a silly mouth either.

One of the hardest conditions of boyhood is the almost continuous strain put upon the powers of invention by the constant and harassing necessity for explanations of every natural act.

Some day the laws of glamour must be discovered, because they are so important that the world would be wiser now if Sir Isaac Newton had been hit on the head, not by an apple, but by a young lady.

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously.

There aren't any old times. When times are gone they're not old, they're dead! There aren't any times but new times!

There is a fertile stretch of flat lands in Indiana where unagarian Eastern travelers, glancing from car windows, shudder and return their eyes to interior upholstery, preferring even the swaying comparisons of a Pullman to the monotony without.

They lacked style, but also lacked pretentiousness, and whatever does not pretend at all has style enough.

Thirteen is embarrassed by the beginnings of a new colthood; the child becomes a youth. But twelve is the very top of boyhood.

Youth cannot imagine romance apart from youth. That is why the roles of the heroes and heroines of plays are given by the managers to the most youthful actors they can find among the competent.


(July 29 is also the birthday of Alexis de Tocqueville, Don Marquis, and Wil Wheaton.)

Categories: Booth Tarkington, Quotes of the day


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