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Quotes of the day: T.S. Eliot

Published Thursday, September 26, 2013 @ 12:14 AM EDT
Sep 26 2013

Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (September 26, 1888 - January 4, 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalized as a British subject in 1927 at age 39. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All cases are unique, and very similar to others.

Ambition fortifies the will of man to become ruler over other men: it operates with deception, cajolery, and violence, it is the action of impurity upon impurity.

And the wind shall say: "Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls."

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Atheism is often merely a variety of Christianity.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

Birth, and copulation, and death. That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks.

Destiny waits in the hand of God, not in the hands of statesmen.

Disillusion can become itself an illusion
If we rest in it.

Every moment is a fresh beginning.

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.

Half of the harm that is done in the world is due to people who want to feel important.

Hold tight, hold tight, we must insist that the world is what we have always taken it to be.

Human kind cannot bear very much reality.

I don't believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.

I don't belong to any generation.

If we all were judged according to the consequences
Of all our words and deeds, beyond the intention
And beyond our limited understanding
Of ourselves and others, we should all be condemned.

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.

In the case of many poets, the most important thing for them to do is to write as little as possible.

It is certain that a book is not harmless merely because no one is consciously offended by it.

It is impossible to design a system so perfect that no one needs to be good.

It will do you no harm to find yourself ridiculous. Resign yourself to be the fool you are.

Men tighten the knot of confusion
Into perfect misunderstanding

Neither way is better.
Both ways are necessary. It is also necessary
To make a choice between them.

Only by acceptance of the past will you alter its meaning.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Our age is an age of moderate virtue
And moderate vice

Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen.

Saints are not made by accident.

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

Success is relative; it is what we can make of the mess we have made of things.

The bad poet is usually unconscious where he ought to be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious.

The circle of our understanding
Is a very restricted area.

The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.

The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

The majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith; and when the ordinary man calls himself a skeptic or an unbeliever, that is ordinarily a simple pose, cloaking a disinclination to think anything out to a conclusion.

The man who returns will have to meet
The boy who left.

The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.

There is another way, if you have the courage.

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Those you say they give the public what it wants begin by underestimating public taste and end by debauching it.

We had the experience but missed the meaning.

We must always take risks. That is our destiny.

What is hell? Hell is oneself.
Hell is alone, the other figures in it
Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries

You are the music while the music lasts.

You do not know what hope is, until you have lost it.

You will find that you survive humiliation
And that's an experience of incalculable value.

Categories: Quotes of the day, T.S. Eliot

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