Quotes about Mark Twain
22 Sourced Quotes
Write about winter in the summer. Describe Norway as Ibsen did, from a desk in Italy; describe Dublin as James Joyce did, from a desk in Paris. Willa Cather wrote her prairie novels in New York City; Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn in Hartford, Connecticut. Recently, scholars learned that Walt Whitman rarely left his room.
As a Nobel Prize winner I cannot but regret that the award was never given to Mark Twain, nor to Henry James, speaking only of my own countrymen. Greater writers than these also did not receive the prize. I would have been happy — happier — today if the prize had been given to that beautiful writer Isak Dinesen.
Two opposing world-views — the technological and the traditional — coexisted in uneasy tension. The technological was the stronger, of course, but the traditional was there — still functional, still exerting influence... This is what we find documented not only in Mark Twain but in the poetry of Walt Whitman, the speeches of Abraham Lincoln, the prose of Thoreau, the philosophy of Emerson, the novels of Hawthorne and Melville, and, most vividly of all, in Alexis de Tocqueville's monumental Democracy in America. In a word, two distinct thought-worlds were rubbing against each other in nineteenth-century America.
A half-century later, Mark Twain would say that the gold rush drastically changed the American character, ending the tradition of patient apprenticeships, the gradual mastery of self, talent, and money. Gold created the get-rich-quick mentality that has been with us ever since, most recently during the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.
If you consider the great journalists in history, you don't see too many objective journalists on that list. H. L. Mencken was not objective. Mike Royko, who just died. I. F. Stone was not objective. Mark Twain was not objective. I don't quite understand this worship of objectivity in journalism. Now, just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.
One thing's for sure: if Mark Twain could have read A Course in Miracles, he never would have called the Book of Mormon "chloroform in print". Utterly without redeeming value (take that any way you want), the only conceivable importance of A Course in Miracles is a testimony to the pathetic state of spiritual hunger and confusion on the part of late twentieth-century American "seekers."
The Court's reasoning adds up to this: The Commission must be sustained because of its accumulated experience in solving a problem with which it had never before been confronted! I give up. Now I realize fully what Mark Twain meant when he said, 'The more you explain it, the more I don't understand it.'
Now, I'm very vulnerable to female beauty, as you know. Everybody's defenseless against something, and that's it for me. I see it and it blinds me to everything else. They come to my first class, and I know almost immediately which is the girl for me. There is a Mark Twain story in which he runs from a bull, and the bull looks up to him when he's hiding in a tree, and the bull thinks, "You are my meat, sir." Well, that "sir" is transformed into "young lady" when I see them in class.