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Quotes of the day: John O'Hara

Published Friday, January 30, 2015 @ 4:09 PM EST
Jan 30 2015

John Henry O'Hara (January 31, 1905 - April 11, 1970) was an Irish American writer. He earned a reputation first for short stories and became a best-selling novelist by the age of thirty with Appointment in Samarra and BUtterfield 8. O'Hara was a keen observer of social status and class differences, and wrote frequently about the socially ambitious. O'Hara had a reputation for personal irascibility and for cataloging social ephemera, both of which sometimes overshadowed his gifts as a storyteller. Writer Fran Lebowitz called him "the real F. Scott Fitzgerald." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


America has leapt from barbarism to decadence without touching civilization.

An artist is his own fault.

George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to.

Hot lead can be almost as effective coming from a linotype as from a firearm.

If Yale had given me a degree, I could have joined the Yale Club, where the food is pretty good, the library is ample and restful, the location convenient, and I could go there when I felt like it without sponging off friends. They also have a nice-looking necktie.

It is the trouble with all metaphors where human behavior is concerned. People are not ships, chess men, flowers, race horses, oil paintings, bottles of champagne, excrement, musical instruments or anything else but people.

Little old ladies of both sexes. Why do I let them bother me?

Much as I like owning a Rolls-Royce, I could do without it. What I could not do without is a typewriter, a supply of yellow second sheets and the time to put them to good use.

So who's perfect? Washington had false teeth. Franklin was nearsighted. Mussolini had syphilis. Unpleasant things have been said about Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde. Tchaikovsky had his problems, too. And Lincoln was constipated.

The trouble is people leave too much to luck. They get married and then trust to luck. They should be sure in the first place.

There comes a time in a man's life, if he is unlucky and leads a full life, when he has a secret so dirty that he knows he never will get rid of it.

They say great themes make great novels, but what these young writers don't understand is that there is no greater theme than men and women.


(January 31 is also the birthday of Tallulah Bankhead and Thomas Merton.)

Categories: John O'Hara, Quotes of the day


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