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Quotes of the day: Theodore Dreiser

Published Wednesday, August 26, 2015 @ 5:55 PM EDT
Aug 26 2015

Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser (August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945) was an American novelist and journalist of the naturalist school. His novels often featured main characters who succeeded at their objectives despite a lack of a firm moral code, and literary situations that more closely resembled studies of nature than tales of choice and agency. Dreiser's best known novels include Sister Carrie (1900) and An American Tragedy (1925). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man, a real man, must never be an agent, a tool, or a gambler—acting for himself or for others—he must employ such. A real man— a financier— was never a tool. He used tools. He created. He led.

A thought will color a world for us.

Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.

Assure a man that he has a soul and then frighten him with old wives' tales as to what is to become of him afterward, and you have hooked a fish, a mental slave.

Every person according to his light... You must help the world express itself. Use will make your powers endure...

I acknowledge the Furies. I believe in them. I have heard the disastrous beating of their wings.

I believe in the compelling power of love. I do not understand it. I believe it to be the most fragrant blossom of all this thorny existence.

If I were personally to define religion, I would say that it is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circumstance.

In order to have wisdom we must have ignorance.

Let no one underestimate the need of pity. We live in a stony universe whose hard, brilliant forces rage fiercely.

Life is made for the strong. There is no mercy in it for the weak– none... Such is the tragedy of desire.

Love is the only thing you can really give in all this world. When you give love, you give everything.

Nothing is proved, all is permitted.

Only in rare instances and with rare individuals does there seem to be any guiding light from within.

Our civilization is still in a middle stage, scarcely beast, in that it is no longer wholly guided by instinct; scarcely human, in that it is not yet wholly guided by reason.

The most futile thing in this world is any attempt, perhaps, at exact definition of character. All individuals are a bundle of contradictions - none more so than the most capable.

When the distraction of the tongue is removed, the heart listens.

Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.


(August 27 is also the birthday of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Lyndon B. Johnson.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Theodore Dreiser


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