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Henry James Quotes

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"It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition."
History

"I think I don't regret a single 'excess' of my responsive youth-I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace."

"I adore adverbs; they are the only qualifications I really much respect."

"There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition."

"Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine."

"I've always been interested in people, but I've never liked them."

"Cats and monkeys; monkeys and cats; all human life is there."

"It is, I think, an indisputable fact that Americans are, as Americans, the most self-conscious people in the world, and the most addicted to the belief that the other nations of the earth are in a conspiracy to under value them."

"The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination. To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master."

"The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting."

"What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?"

"One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left."

"People talk about the conscience, but it seems to me one must just bring it up to a certain point and leave it there. You can let your conscience alone if you're nice to the second housemaid."

"The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life."

"The time-honored bread-sauce of the happy ending."

"Though there are some disagreeable things in Venice there is nothing so disagreeable as the visitors."

"Ideas are, in truth, force."

"The superiority of one man's opinion over another's is never so great as when the opinion is about a woman."

"Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself."

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind."

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