Famous Quotes & Sayings

Edith Wharton Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Edith Wharton.

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Edith Wharton Quotes 1145365

The short story, free from the longuers of the novel is also exempt from the novel's conclusiveness
too often forced and false: it may thus more nearly than the novel approach aesthetic and moral truth. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1770637

It's you who are telling me; opening my eyes to things I'd looked at so long that I'd ceased to see them. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 326667

Here were two people who had penetrated farther than she into the labyrinth of the wedded state, and struggled through some of its thorniest passages; and yet both, one consciously, the other half-unaware, testified to the mysterious fact which was already dawning on her: that the influence of a marriage begun in mutual understanding is too deep not to reassert itself even in the moment of flight and denial. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1785650

The effect produced by a short story depends almost entirely on its form. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 726218

He arrived late at the office, perceived that his doing so made no difference whatever to any one, and was filled with sudden exasperation at the elaborate futility of his life — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1927556

She pronounced the word married as if her voice caressed it. It seemed a rustling covert leading to enchanted glades. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 870638

That's Lily all over, you know: she works like a slave preparing the ground and sowing her seed; but the day she ought to be reaping the harvest she over-sleeps herself or goes off on a picnic. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2124751

After all, one knows one's weak points so well, that it's rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them and invent others. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1433730

And all the while, I suppose," he thought, "real people were living somewhere, and real things happening to them ... — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1345980

Refurbished that image of herself in other minds which was her only notion of self-seeing — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 361096

It was harder to drown at sunrise than in darkness. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1832552

He had always enjoyed Lily Bart; and his course lay so far out of her orbit that it amused him to be drawn for a moment into the sudden intimacy which her proposal implied. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1077185

I'm not much interested in travelling scholarships for women - or in fact in scholarships, tout court! - they'd much better stay at home and mind the baby. Still less am I interested in scholarships for female Yids ... — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 542659

When a man says he doesn't understand a woman it's because he won't take the trouble. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2016263

She had several times been in love with fortunes or careers, but only once with a man. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 387615

As he paid the hansom and followed his wife's long train into the house he took refuge in the comforting platitude that the first six months were always the most difficult in marriage. 'After that I suppose we shall have pretty nearly finished rubbing off each other's angles,' he reflected; but the worst of it was that May's pressure was already bearing on the very angles whose sharpness he most wanted to keep — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 891187

He and she belonged to each other for always: he understood that now. The impulse which had first drawn them together again, in spite of reason, in spite of themselves almost, that deep-seated instinctive need that each had of the other, would never again wholly let them go. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2231858

Art is on the side of the oppressed. Think before you shudder at the simplistic dictum and its heretical definition of the freedom of art. For if art is freedom of the spirit, how can it exist within the oppressors? — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1013595

But how could she trust herself to keep her footing? She knew the strength of the opposing impulses-she could feel the countless hands of habit dragging her back into some fresh compromise with fate. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 616364

Just so; she'd even feel aggrieved. But why? Because it's against the custom of the country. And whose fault is that? The man's again - I don't mean Ralph I mean the genus he belongs to: homo sapiens, Americanus. Why haven't we taught our women to take an interest in our work? Simply because we don't take enough interest in THEM. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1359870

Any rapidly enacted episode ... should be seen through only one pair of eyes. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1991271

And he felt himself oppressed by this creation of factitious purity, so cunningly manufactured by a conspiracy of mothers and aunts and grandmothers and long-dead ancestresses, because it was supposed to be what he wanted, what he had a right to, in order that he might exercise his lordly pleasure in smashing it like an image made of snow. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1841918

The immense accretion of flesh which had descended on her in middle life like a flood of lava on a doomed city had changed her from a plump active little woman with a neatly-turned foot and ankle into something as vast and august as a natural phenomenon. She had accepted this submergence as philosohpically as all her other trials, and now, in extreme old age, was rewarded by presenting to her mirror an almost unwrinkled expanse of firm pink and white flesh, in the centre of which the traces of a small face survived as if awaiting excavation. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 988358

Sir Helmsley imparted this information in a loud, almost challenging voice, as he always did when he had to communicate anything unexpected or difficult to account for. Explaining was a nuisance, and somewhat of a derogation. He resented anything that made it necessary, and always spoke as if his interlocutor ought to have known beforehand the answer to the questions he was putting. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1615711

Real reading is reflex action; the born reader reads as unconsciously as he breathes; and, to carry the analogy a degree farther, reading is no more a virtue than breathing. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 278799

Toward Florence he was specially drawn by the fact that Alfieri now lived there; but, as often happens after such separations, the reunion was a disappointment. Alfieri, indeed, warmly welcomed his friend; but he was engrossed in his dawning passion for the Countess of Albany, and — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 86754

There is too much sour grapes for my taste in the present American attitude. The time to denounce the bankers was when we were all feeding off their gold plate; not now! At present they have not only my sympathy but my preference. They are the last representatives of our native industries. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 115633

His light tone, in which, had her nerves been steadier, she would have recognized the mere effort to bridge over an awkward moment, jarred on her passionate desire to be understood. In her strange state of extra-lucidity, which gave her the sense of being already at the heart of the situation, it seemed incredible that any one should think it necessary to linger in the conventional outskirts of word-play and evasion. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 228816

Archer was too intelligent to think that a young woman like Ellen Olenska would necessarily recoil from everything that reminded her of her past. She might believe herself wholly in revolt against it; but what had charmed her in it would still charm her even though it were against her will. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 274956

Women ought to be free - as free as we are,' he declared, making a discovery of which he was too irritated to measure the terrific consequences. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 277942

The whole truth?" Miss Bart laughed. "What is the truth? Where a woman is concerned, it's the story that's easiest to believe. In this case it's a great deal easier to believe Bertha Dorset's story than mine, because she has a big house and an opera box, and it's convenient to be on good terms with her — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 302837

Old age, calm, expanded, broad with the haughty breadth of the universe, old age flowing free with the delicious near-by freedom of death. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 320204

Well
watching the contortions of the damned is supposed to be a favorite sport of the angels, but I believe even they don't think people happier in hell. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 329589

I'm afraid I'm an incorrigible life-lover, life-wonderer, and adventurer. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 344623

She had everything she wanted, but she still felt, at times, that there were other things she might want if she knew about them. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 418924

Damn words; they're just the pots and pans of life, the pails and scrubbing-brushes. I wish I didn't have to think in words ... — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 425001

One cares so little for the style in which one's praises are written. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 459396

Xingu!" she scoffed. "Why, it was the fact of our knowing so much more about it than she did - unprepared though we were - that made Osric Dane so furious. I should have thought that was plain enough to everybody! — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 497408

Lizzy Elmsworth was not a good-tempered girl, but she was too intelligent to let her temper interfere with her opportunities. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 581003

It was a sombre snowy afternoon, and the gas-lamps were lit in the big reverberating station. As he paced the platform, waiting for the Washington express, he remembered that there were people who thought there would one day be a tunnel under the Hudson through which the trains of the Pennsylvania railway would run straight into New York. They were of the brotherhood of visionaries who likewise predicted the building of ships that would cross the Atlantic in five days, the invention of a flying machine, lighting by electricity, telephonic communication without wires, and other Arabian Nights marvels. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 612158

Overhead hung a summer sky furrowed with the rush of rockets; and from the east a late moon, pushing up beyond the lofty bend of the coast, sent across the bay a shaft of brightness which paled to ashes in the red glitter of the illuminated boats. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 666399

It seems cruel," she said, "that after a while nothing matters ... any more than these little things that used to be necessary and important to forgotten people, and now have to be guessed at under a magnifying glass and labelled: 'Use unknown.'"
"Yes, but meanwhile -"
"Ah, meanwhile - — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 683065

How I understand that love of living, of being in this wonderful, astounding world even if one can look at it only through theprison bars of illness and suffering! Plus je vois, the more I am thrilled by the spectacle. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 706263

Something in truth lay dead between them - the love she had killed in him and could no longer call to life. But something lived between them also, and leaped up in her like an imperishable flame: it was the love his love had kindled, the passion of her soul for his. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 706942

Through this atmosphere of torrid splendor moved wan beings as richly upholstered as the furniture, beings without definite pursuits or permanent relations, who drifted on a languid tide of curiosity ...
Somewhere behind them, in the background of their lives there was doubtless a real past, yet they had no more real existence than the poet's shades in limbo. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 720030

Now his imagination spun about the hand as about the edge of a vortex; but still he made no effort to draw nearer. He had known the love that is fed on caresses and feeds them; but this passion that was closer than his bones was not to be superficially satisfied. His one terror was to do anything which might efface the sound and impression of her words; his one thought, that he should never again feel quite alone. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 761078

I shan't be lonely now. I was lonely; I was afraid. But the emptiness and the darkness are gone; when I turn back into myself now I'm like a child going at night into a room where there's always a light. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 834942

There are only four great arts: music, painting, sculpture, and ornamental pastry - architecture being the least banal derivative of the latter. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 875525

She knew that Virginia's survey of the world was limited to people, the clothes they wore, and the carriages they drove in. Her own universe was so crammed to bursting with wonderful sights and sounds that, in spite of her sense of Virginia's superiority - her beauty, her ease, her confidence - Nan sometimes felt a shamefaced pity for her. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 895272

Theodora usually found that her good intentions matured too late for practical results. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 910931

What's the use of making mysteries? It only makes people want to nose 'em out. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 955188

Jack Stepney had once said of Miss Van Osburgh that she was as reliable as roast mutton. His own taste was in the line of less solid and more highly-seasoned diet; but hunger makes any fare palatable, and there had been times when Mr. Stepney had been reduced to a crust. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1070844

We are expected to be pretty and well-dressed until we drop. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1136152

Meanwhile everything matters - that concerns you. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1168692

Ah, my dear; and I shall never be happy unless I can open the windows! — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1211119

I want to put my hand out and touch you. I want to do for you and care for you. I want to be there when you're sick and when you're lonesome. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1216601

To be able to look life in the face: that's worth living in a garret for, isn't it? — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1217502

I believe it IS a vice, almost, to read such a book as the 'Letters,'" said Mrs. Touchett. "It's the woman's soul, absolutely torn up by the roots - her whole self laid bare; and to a man who evidently didn't care; who couldn't have cared. I don't mean to read another line; it's too much like listening at a keyhole. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1224650

She yearned to be admired, and feared to be insulted; and yet seemed tragically conscious that she was destined to miss both these extremes of sensation, or to enjoy them only at second hand in the experiences of her more privileged friends. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1225862

My first few weeks in America are always miserable, because the tastes I am cursed with are all of a kind that cannot be gratified here, and I am not enough in sympathy with our gross public to make up for the lack on the aesthetic side. One's friends are delightful; but we are none of us Americans, we don't think or feel as the Americans do, we are the wretched exotics produced in a European glass-house, the most displaced and useless class on earth! — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1274861

She seemed always to have seen him through a blur - first of sleepiness, then of distance and indifference - and now the fog had thickened till he was almost indistinguishable. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1286230

She clung to him desperately, and as he drew her to his knees on the couch she felt as if they were being sucked down together into some bottomless abyss. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1311236

She was the subject creature, and versed in the arts of the enslaved. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1332722

The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1333178

I was just a screw or cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1349236

Life is made up of compromises. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1366793

individual destiny is to a large extent defined, and human potential frequently circumscribed, by social conventions as ephemeral as they are 'inscrutable. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1377529

Culture! Yes - if we had it! But there are just a few little local patches, dying out here and there for lack of - well, hoeing and cross-fertilising: the last remnants of the old European tradition that your forebears brought with them. But you're in a pitiful little minority: you've got no centre, no competition, no audience. You're like the pictures on the walls of a deserted house: 'The Portrait of a Gentleman.' You'll never amount to anything, any of you, till you roll up your sleeves and get right down into the muck. That, or emigrate ... God! If I could emigrate ... — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1387326

He knew enough of his subject to know that he did not know enough to write about it ... — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1389316

There's nothing grimmer than the tragedy that wears a comic mask. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1448240

Whenever she was unhappy she felt herself at bay against a pitiless world, and a kind of animal secretiveness possessed her. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1455612

It was thus, Archer reflected, that New York managed its transitions; conspiring to ignore them till they were well over, and then, in all good faith, imagining that they had taken place in a preceding age. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1490854

The greatest mistake is to think that we ever know why we do things ... I suppose the nearest we can ever come to it is by getting what old people call 'experience.' But by the time we've got that we're no longer the persons who did the things we no longer understand. The trouble is, I suppose, that we change every moment; and the things we did stay. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1548481

What is truth? Where a woman is concerned, it's the story that's easiest to believe. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1551654

What she craved and really felt herself entitled to was a situation in which the noblest attitude should also be the easiest. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1592854

Archer, through all his deeper feelings, tasted the pleasurable excitement of being in a world where action followed on emotion with such Olympian speed. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1597530

Two ways to be a light for all, is to be a flaming candle or the mirror that reflects it — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1603872

All the exquisite influences of the hour trembled in their veins, and drew them to each other as the loosened leaves were drawn to the earth. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1650608

You thought I was a lovelorn mistress and I was really just an expensive prostitute. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1671251

I believe I know the only cure, which is to make one's center of life inside of one's self, not selfishly or excludingly, but with a kind of unassailable serenity - to decorate one's inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1740146

She made no answer, and he went on: What's the use? You gave me my first glimpse of a real life, and at the same moment you asked me to go on with a sham one. It's beyond human enduring - that's all. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1774131

Ut it seemed to him that the tie between husband and wife, if breakable in prosperity, should be indissoluble in misfortune. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1781752

This conversation revealed to Odo a third conception of the religious idea. In Piedmont religion imposed itself as a military discipline, the enforced duty of the Christian citizen to the heavenly state; to the Duke it was a means of purchasing spiritual immunity from the consequences of bodily weakness; to the Bishop, it replaced the panem et circenses of ancient Rome. Where, in all this, was the share of those whom Christ had come to save? Where was Saint Francis's devotion to his heavenly bride, the Lady Poverty? Though here and there a good parish priest like Crescenti ministered to the temporal wants of the peasantry, it was only the free-thinker and the atheist who, at the risk of life and fortune, laboured for their moral liberation. Odo listened with a saddened heart, thinking, as he followed his host through the perfumed shade of the gardens, and down — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1823341

This new resolve gave her a sort of light-headed self-confidence: when she left the dinner-table she felt so easy and careless that she was surprised to see that the glass of champagne beside her plate was untouched. She felt as if all its sparkles were whirling through her. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1828528

Medora Manson, in her prosperous days, inaugurated a "literary salon"; but it had soon died out owing to the reluctance of the literary to frequent it. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1886491

Of course he's good-he's too stupid to be bad — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1904093

[Selden] had preserved a certain social detachment, a happy air of viewing the show objectively, of having points of contact outside the great gilt cage in which they were all huddled for the mob to gape at. How alluring the world outside the cage appeared to Lily, as she heard its door clang on her! In reality, as she knew, the door never clanged: it stood always open; but most of the captives were like flies in a bottle, and having once flown in, could never regain their freedom. It was Selden's distinction that he had never forgotten the way out. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1939001

Life has a way of overgrowing its achievements as well as its ruins. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1939690

All the elderly ladies whom Archer knew regarded any woman who loved imprudently as necessarily unscrupulous and designing, and mere simple-minded man as powerless in her clutches. The — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1967807

The longed-for ships come empty home, founder on the deep
And eyes first lose their tears and then their sleep. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 1994762

Though he sought simplicity, he dread dulness. Dimly conscious that he was dull himself, he craved the stimulus of a quicker mind; yet he feared a dull wife less than a brilliant one, for with the latter how could he maintain his superiority? — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2030613

Archer had always been inclined to think that chance and circumstance played a small part in shaping people's lots compared with their innate tendency to have things happen to them. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2037242

We live in our own souls as in an unmapped region, a few acres of which we have cleared for our habitation; while of the nature of those nearest us we know but the boundaries that march with ours. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2046586

She rose too, not as if to meet him or to flee from him, but quietly, as though the worst of the task were done and she had only to wait; so quietly that, as he came close, her outstretched hands acted not as a check but as a guide to him. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2065872

It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2077046

He had known the love that is fed on caresses and feeds them; but this passion that was closer than his bones was not to be superficially satisfied. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2127302

We ought to be opening a bottle of wine! — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2133540

The allegation that English girls had no conversation must be true; but theirs was a SPEAKING silence. Their eyes and smiles were eloquent! She hoped it would teach their own girls that they need not chatter like magpies. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2165763

What a shame it is for a nation to be developing without a sense of beauty, and eating bananas for breakfast. — Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton Quotes 2219093

Undine's white and gold bedroom, with sea-green panels and old rose carpet, looked along Seventy-second Street toward the leafless tree-tops of the Central Park. She went to the window, and drawing back its many layers of lace gazed eastward down the long brownstone perspective. Beyond the Park lay Fifth Avenue - and Fifth Avenue was where she wanted to be! — Edith Wharton