Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist

Author Quotes

The habit of looking at life as a social relation ? an affair of society ? did no good. It cultivated a weakness which needed no cultivation. If it had helped to make men of the world, or give the manners and instincts of any profession ? such as temper, patience, courtesy, or a faculty of profiting by the social defects of opponents ? it would have been education better worth having than mathematics or languages; but so far as it helped to make anything, it helped only to make the college standard permanent through life.

This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

You live and learn. At any rate, you live.

The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

Those who seek education in the paths of duty are always deceived by the illusion that power in the hands of friends is an advantage to them.

You say that love is nonsense - I tell you it is no such thing. For weeks and months it is a steady physical pain, an ache about the heart, never leaving one, by night or by day; a long strain on one's nerves like toothache or rheumatism, not intolerable at any one instant, but exhausting by its steady drain on the strength.

The Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone, but never hustled.

Throughout human history the waste of mind has been appalling, and, as this story is meant to show, society has conspired to promote it. No doubt the teacher is the worst criminal, but the world stands behind him and drags the student from his course.

The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.

Time is bunk.

The mere thought hadn't even begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing my mind.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.

The problem of life was as simple as it was classic. Politics offered no difficulties, for there the moral law was a sure guide. Social perfection was also sure, because human nature worked for Good, and three instruments were all she asked ? Suffrage, Common Schools, and Press. On these points doubt was forbidden. Education was divine, and man needed only a correct knowledge of facts to reach perfection:

Unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.

The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.

Unity is vision; it must have been part of the process of learning to see.

The proper study of mankind is woman.

We combat obstacles in order to get repose, and, when got, the repose is insupportable

The study of history is useful to the historian by teaching him his ignorance of women.

We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem.

The tourist was the great conservative who hated novelty and adored dirt.

Were half the power that fills the world with terror, were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error, There were no need of arsenals nor forts.

The woman who is known only through a man is known wrong.

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Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
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American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist