Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mark Twain quotes

Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson

I don't believe any of you have ever read Paradise Lost and you don't want to. That's something that you just want to take on trust. It's a classic... something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
- "Disappearance of Literature" speech

I do not read anything but history and biography. You perceive that for me to presume to indicate the hundred authors which a person ought to read, would be folly. No, leave me out: My testimony would not be valuable.
- letter to Joseph B. Gilder, 5/16/1886

It is so unsatisfactory to read a noble passage and have no one you love at hand to share the happiness with you. And it is unsatisfactory to read to one's self anyhow--for the uttered voice so heightens the expression.
- My Father Mark Twain, Clara Clemens

Don't explain your author, read him right and he explains himself.
- Letter to Cordelia Welsh Foote of Cincinnati, 12/2/1887. Reprinted in When Huck Finn Went Highbrow, DeCasseres

Misattributed quote:

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

- In Nice Guys Finish Seventh, (1992) by Ralph Keyes: "Abby Van Buren once made this observation in her advice column. A reader said she should have credited the thought to Mark Twain. Abby apologized, explaining that she genuinely thought the idea was her own. Perhaps it was. Although this saying is often attributed to Twain, no one has ever confirmed that he said it" (p. 111).

However, a subsequent researcher reports finding the quote in a newspaper, The Chicago Heights Star, Chicago, Illinois, 1 Feb 1949, as a stand alone quote attributed to Mark Twain. This places it much earlier than "Dear Abby," but with no acceptable confirmation of source.



Enemy of the Republic said...

I more enjoy reading about him than actually reading him, minus Huck Finn, which is great.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that many of Mark Twain's books are available online free like
The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is available online here

the teach said...

Thanks Anon, I appreciate the information. I might blog about the title if you don't mind...:)