The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations [NOOK Book]

Overview


Includes hundreds of Twain's most memorable quips and comments on life, love, history, culture, travel, and diverse other topics, among them "He is now fast rising from affluence to poverty"; "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please"; and "More than one cigar at a time is excessive smoking."
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The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations

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Overview


Includes hundreds of Twain's most memorable quips and comments on life, love, history, culture, travel, and diverse other topics, among them "He is now fast rising from affluence to poverty"; "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please"; and "More than one cigar at a time is excessive smoking."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486111322
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 4/25/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 301,647
  • File size: 904 KB

Meet the Author

Mark Twain
Riverboat pilot, journalist, failed businessman (several times over): Samuel Clemens -- the man behind the figure of “Mark Twain” -- led many lives. But it was in his novels and short stories that he created a voice and an outlook on life that will be forever identified with the American character.

Biography

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. His father, an unsuccessful farmer, died when Twain was eleven. Soon afterward the boy began working as an apprentice printer, and by age sixteen he was writing newspaper sketches. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.

After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era. He made a five-month journey to Hawaii in 1866 and the following year traveled to Europe to report on the first organized tourist cruise. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer.

After his marriage to Livy Langdon, Twain settled first in Buffalo, New York, and then for two decades in Hartford, Connecticut. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872), an account of his Western adventures; both were enormously successful. Twain's literary triumphs were offset by often ill-advised business dealings (he sank thousands of dollars, for instance, in a failed attempt to develop a new kind of typesetting machine, and thousands more into his own ultimately unsuccessful publishing house) and unrestrained spending that left him in frequent financial difficulty, a pattern that was to persist throughout his life.

Following The Gilded Age (1873), written in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces --The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), on which he had been working for nearly a decade. Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897). His close associates in these years included William Dean Howells, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable, as well as the dying Ulysses S. Grant, whom Twain encouraged to complete his memoirs, published by Twain's publishing company in 1885.

For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter. The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a detective story hinging on the consequences of slavery, was followed by powerful anti-imperialist and anticolonial statements such as 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' (1901), 'The War Prayer' (1905), and 'King Leopold's Soliloquy' (1905), and by the pessimistic sketches collected in the privately published What Is Man? (1906). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, his financial troubles finally resolved, Twain settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Langhorne Clemens (real name); Sieur Louis de Conte
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1835
    2. Place of Birth:
      Florida, Missouri
    1. Date of Death:
      April 21, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Redding, Connecticut

Read an Excerpt

The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

A Book of Quotations


By MARK TWAIN, Paul Negri

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1999 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11132-2



CHAPTER 1

MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN, HUMAN NATURE


Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

"The Mysterious Stranger"

* * *

Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute.

"The Lowest Animal"

* * *

Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.

"The Lowest Animal"

* * *

Man was made at the end of the week's work, when God was tired.

Notebook

* * *

"The noblest work of God?" Man. "Who found it out?" Man.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

* * *

Man, "know thyself"—then thou wilt despise thyself to a dead moral certainty.

Letter

Of course, no man is entirely in his right mind at any time.

"The Mysterious Stranger"

* * *

No man has a wholly undiseased mind ... in one way or another all men are mad.

"The Memorable Assassination"

* * *

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries of life disappear and life stands explained.

Notebook

* * *

The human race consists of the dangerously insane and such as are not.

Notebook

* * *

The way it is now, the asylums can hold the sane people, but if we tried to shut up the insane we should run out of building materials.

Following the Equator

* * *

It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.

"What Is Man?"

* * *

Circumstances make man, not man circumstances.

Notebook

The average man's a coward.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

* * *

The average human being is a perverse creature; and when he isn't that, he is a practical joker. The result to the other person concerned is about the same: that is, he is made to suffer.

Following the Equator

* * *

The timid man yearns for full value and asks a tenth. The bold man strikes for double value and compromises on par.

Following the Equator

* * *

One never ceases to make a hero of one's self (in private).

The Gilded Age

* * *

Clothes makes the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

* * *

However, we must put up without clothes as they are—they have their reason for existing. They are on us to expose us—to advertise what we wear them to conceal.

Following the Equator

... man never does a single thing which has any first and foremost object except one—to secure peace of mind, spiritual comfort, for himself.

"What Is Man?"

* * *

There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.

Following the Equator

* * *

There are no people who are quite so vulgar as the over-refined ones.

Following the Equator

* * *

She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.

Following the Equator

* * *

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

* * *

Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass.

Notebook

When a man can prove that he is not a jackass, I think he is in the way to prove that he is no legitimate member of the race.

Letter

* * *

Such is the human race. Often it does seem such a pity that Noah didn't miss the boat.

Christian Science

* * *

Damn these human beings; if I had invented them I would go hide my head in a bag.

Letter

* * *

I am only human, although I regret it.

Mark Twain's Autobiography, Albert Bigelow Paine, ed.

* * *

Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principle one was that they escaped teething.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

* * *

[On woman] As a sweetheart, she has few equals and no superiors; as a cousin, she is convenient; as a wealthy grandmother with an incurable distemper, she is precious; as a wet-nurse, she has no equal among men.

"Woman—An Opinion" (speech)

* * *

What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce.

"Woman—An Opinion" (speech)

Some civilized women would lose half their charm without dress; and some would lose all of it.

"Woman, God Bless Her!" (speech)

* * *

One frequently only finds out how really beautiful a beautiful woman is after considerable acquaintance with her.

The Innocents Abroad

* * *

Slang in a woman's mouth is not obscene, it only sounds so.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

* * *

There is only one good sex. The female one.

Attributed

* * *

Heroine: girl who is perfectly charming to live with, in a book.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

* * *

It takes much to convince the average man of anything; and perhaps nothing can ever make him realize that he is the average woman's inferior.

Following the Equator

* * *

No civilization can be perfect until exact equality between man and woman is included.

Notebook

The phases of the womanly nature are infinite in their variety. Take any type of woman, and you will find in it something to respect, something to admire, something to love.

"The Ladies" (speech)

* * *

Nothing is so ignorant as a man's left hand, except a lady's watch.

Following the Equator

* * *

Familiarity breeds contempt—and children.

Notebook

* * *

We lavish gifts upon them [children]; but the most precious gift—our personal association, which means so much to them—we give grudgingly.

Mark Twain: A Biography, Albert Bigelow Paine

* * *

As long as you're in your right mind don't you ever pray for twins. Twins amount to a permanent riot. And there ain't any real difference between triplets and an insurrection.

"The Babies" (speech)

* * *

A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.

Letter


LOVE, MARRIAGE, ROMANCE


After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.

"Adam's Diary"

* * *

When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.

Notebook

* * *

You can't reason with your heart; it has its own laws and thumps about things which the intellect scorns. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

* * *

No woman or man really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.

Notebook

* * *

Marriage—yes, it is the supreme felicity of life. I concede it. And it is also the supreme tragedy of life. The deeper the love, the surer the tragedy.

Letter

* * *

Both marriage and death ought to be welcome: the one promises happiness, doubtless the other assures it.

Letter

* * *

Some of us cannot be optimists, but all of us can be bigamists.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.


VIRTUE, VICE, CONDUCT


Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.

Note to Young People's Society

* * *

Do right and you will be conspicuous.

Mark Twain: A Biography, Albert Bigelow Paine

* * *

A man should not be without morals; it is better to have bad morals than none at all.

Notebook

* * *

Be good and you will be lonesome.

Following the Equator

* * *

Do your duty today and repent tomorrow.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

* * *

To be good is to be noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble.

Pollowing the Equator

* * *

Morals are an acquirement—like music, like a foreign language, like piety, poker, paralysis—no man is born with them.

"Seventieth Birthday" (speech)

Morals consist of political morals, commercial morals, ecclesiastical morals, and morals.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnnson, ed.

* * *

It is not best that we use our morals week days; it gets them out of repair for Sundays.

Notebook

* * *

Better a broken promise than none at all.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

* * *

Get your formalities right—never mind about the moralities.

Following the Equator

* * *

Virtue never has been as respectable as money.

The Innocents Abroad

* * *

Do good when you can, and charge when you think they will stand it.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

* * *

There is a Moral Sense and there is an Immoral Sense. History shows us that the Moral Sense enables us to perceive morality and how to avoid it, and that the Immoral Sense enables us to perceive immorality and how to enjoy it.

Following the Equator

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

* * *

Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

* * *

A man may have no bad habits and have worse.

Following the Equator

* * *

We can secure other people's approval, if we do right and try hard; but our own is worth a hundred of it, and no way has been found out of securing that.

Following the Equator

* * *

We ought never to do wrong when people are looking.

"A Double-Barreled Detective Story"

* * *

Always obey your parents, when they are present. This is the best policy in the long run, because if you don't they will make you.

"Advice to Youth" (speech)

* * *

Yes, always avoid violence. In this age of charity and kindliness, the time has gone by for such things. Leave dynamite to the low and unrefined.

"Advice to Youth" (speech)

There's a good spot tucked away somewhere in everybody. You'll be a long time finding it sometimes.

"Refuge of the Derelicts"

* * *

Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anyone.

Following the Equator

* * *

Nothing incites to money-crimes like great poverty or great wealth.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

* * *

Adam was the author of sin, and I wish he had taken out an international copyright on it.

Notebook

* * *

A sin takes on new and real terrors when there seems a chance that it is going to be found out.

"The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg"

* * *

Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins.

Notebook

* * *

To lead a life of undiscovered sin! That is true joy.

"My Real Self" (speech)

The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.

Notebook

* * *

[Adam] did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

* * *

[Adam] A man who comes down to us without a stain upon his name, unless it was a stain to take one apple when most of us would have taken the whole crop.

"On Adam" (speech)

* * *

To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.

Tom Sawyer

* * *

Earn a character first if you can. And if you can't assume one.

"General Miles and the Dog" (speech)

* * *

Make it a point to do something every day that you don't want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.

Following the Equator

... in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.

Tom Sawyer

* * *

Always acknowledge a fault frankly. This will throw those in authority off guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

Notebook

* * *

One mustn't criticize other people on grounds where he can't stand perpendicular himself.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

* * *

I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatever.

Mark Twain: A Biography, Albert Bigelow Paine

* * *

An uneasy conscience is a hair in the mouth.

Notebook

* * *

It [conscience] takes up more room than all the rest of a person's insides.

Huckleberry Finn

* * *

The idea of a civil conscience! It is a good joke; an excellent joke. All the consciences I have ever heard of were nagging, badgering, fault-finding, execrable savages!

"Crime Carnival in Connecticut"

There are several good protections against temptations but the surest is cowardice.

Pollowing the Equator

* * *

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

Puddn'head Wilson

* * *

There are not enough morally brave men in stock. We are out of moral-courage material....

"The United States of Lyncherdom"

* * *

To believe yourself brave is to be brave.

Joan of Arc

* * *

It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.

Notebook

* * *

If any man has just merciful and kindly instincts he would be a gentleman, for he would need nothing else in the world.

"Layman's Sermon" (speech)

* * *

When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet in his private heart no man much respects himself.

Following the Equator

Human pride is not worth while; there is always something lying in wait to take the wind out of it.

Following the Equator

* * *

I was born modest; not all over, but in spots.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

* * *

The man who is ostentatious of his modesty is twin to the statue that wears a fig-leaf.

Following the Equator

* * *

By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.

Following the Equator

* * *

Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.

Following the Equator

* * *

The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession, what there is of it.

Following the Equator

* * *

If a person offends you and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures. Simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick.

"Advice to Youth" (speech)

A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.

Following the Equator

* * *

It is not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

* * *

A crime preserved in a thousand centuries ceases to be a crime, and becomes a virtue. This is the law of custom, and custom supersedes all other forms of law.

Following the Equator

* * *

Gratitude and treachery are merely the two extremities of the same procession. You have seen all of it that is worth staying for when the band and the gaudy officials have gone by.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

* * *

Diligence is a good thing, but taking things easy is much more—restful.

"Business" (speech)

* * *

Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

"Consistency"

* * *

There is no character, howsoever good and fine, but it can be destroyed by ridicule, howsoever poor and witless.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.

Following the Equator

* * *

Chastity—it can be carried too far.

"Andrew Carnegie" (speech)

* * *

Modesty died when clothes were born.

Mark Twain: A Biography, Albert Bigelow Paine

* * *

Each race determines for itself what indecencies are. Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.

Notebook

* * *

When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

* * *

We begin to swear before we can talk.

Following the Equator

* * *

If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill came always together, who would escape hanging?

Following the Equator

In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.

Mark Twain: A Biography, Albert Bigelow Paine

* * *

Grief can take care of itself; but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

Following the Equator

* * *

Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.

Following the Equator

* * *

Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Pudd'nhead Wilson


POLITICS, HISTORY


Prosperity is the best protector of principle.

Following the Equator

* * *

Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.

"Adam's Diary"

* * *

We all live in the protection of certain cowardices which we call our principles.

More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, ed.

Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense.

Notebook

* * *

... no people in the world ever did achieve freedom by goody-goody talk and moral suasion: it being immutable law that all revolutions that will succeed must begin in blood.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

* * *

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.

Following the Equator

* * *

We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented—which was human liberty.

"On Foreign Critics" (speech)

* * *

We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read.

"Americans and the English" (speech)

Trial by jury is the palladium of our liberties. I do not know what a palladium is, having never seen a palladium, but it is a good thing no doubt at any rate.

Roughing It

* * *

That's the difference between governments and individuals. Governments don't care, individuals do.

A Tramp Abroad

* * *

A nation is only an individual multiplied.

"The Turning-Point of My Life"

* * *

There are written laws—they perish; but there are also unwritten laws—they are eternal.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

* * *

My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its office-holders.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

* * *

The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views; when he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.

Notebook


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain by MARK TWAIN, Paul Negri. Copyright © 1999 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

"Men, Women, Children, Human Nature"
"Love, Marriage, Romance"
"Virtue, Vice, Conduct"
"Politics, History"
Religion
"Youth, Aging"
"Truth, Honesty, Lies, Illusion"
"Reading, Writing, Education"
"Health, Exercise"
"Money, Business"
Travel
Various Subjects
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2001

    A nice collection

    A recommended collection of spicy quotations from a master of words and wit. Gives sources as well. Enjoyable reading.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    Mark Twain being Mark Twain

    Ah the true nature of Mark Twain reveals itself in this book of witty quotes! He leaves nothing to curiousity and comments on it all. Nevermind the fact that this man died 100 years ago, (November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910) it is all still relevant and he hits the nail on the head! I pick this up everytime I feel a little stressed, and his zingers make me laugh. Wonderful stocking stuffer for the sarcastic and witty member of your family!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2010

    Mark Twain Quotes

    I bought this for my sister. She has been very pleased with the quotes listed in the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted February 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted January 5, 2009

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    Posted October 19, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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