Edward Dahlberg
Quotations


There is hardly a man on earth who will take advice unless he is certain that it is positively bad.

Ambition is a Dead Sea fruit, and the greatest peril to the soul is that one is likely to get precisely what he is seeking.

Those who write for lucre or fame are grosser Iscariots than the cartel robbers, for they steal the genius of the people, which is its will to resist evil.

We can only write well about our sins because it is too difficult to recall a virtuous act or even whether it was the result of good or evil motives.

Recognize the cunning man not by the corpses he pays homage to but by the living writers he conspires against with the most shameful weapon, Silence, or the briefest review.

Everything ultimately fails, for we die, and that is either the penultimate failure or our most enigmatical achievement.

Genius, like truth, has a shabby and neglected mien.

Though man is the only beast that can write, he has small reason to be proud of it. When he utters something that is wise it is nothing that the river horse does not know, and most of his creations are the result of accident.

What most men desire is a virgin who is a whore.

Men are mad most of their lives; few live sane, fewer die so. . . . The acts of people are baffling unless we realize that their wits are disordered. Man is driven to justice by his lunacy.

Man hoards himself when he has nothing to give away.

The earnings of a poet could be reckoned by a metaphysician rather than a bookkeeper.

When one realizes that his life is worthless he either commits suicide or travels.

So much of our lives is given over to the consideration of our imperfections that there is no time to improve our imaginary virtues. The truth is we only perfect our vices, and man is a worse creature when he dies than he was when he was born.

Nothing in our times has become so unattractive as virtue.

What has a writer to be bombastic about? Whatever good a man may write is the consequence of accident, luck, or surprise, and nobody is more surprised than an honest writer when he makes a good phrase or says something truthful.

Writing is conscience, scruple, and the farming of our ancestors.

To write is a humiliation.



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