Henry James Quotes on Life (18 Quotes)

    I take up my own pen again - the pen of all my old unforgettable efforts and sacred struggles. To myself - today - I need say no more. Large and full and high the future still opens. It is now indeed that I may do the work of my life. And I will.

    Her chief dread in life, at this period of her development, was that she would appear narrow minded; what she feared next afterwards was that she should be so.

    She carried within herself a great fund of life, and her deepest enjoyment was to feel the continuity between the movement of her own heart and the agitations of the world. For this reason, she was fond of seeing great crowds, and large stretches of country, of reading about revolutions and wars, of looking at historical pictures--a class of efforts to which she had often gone so far as to forgive much bad painting for the sake of the subject.

    To live only to suffer-only to feel the injury of life repeated and enlarged-it seemed to her she was too valuable, too capable, for that. Then she wondered if it were vain and stupid to think so well of herself. When had it even been a guarantee to be valuable? Wasn't all history full of the destruction of precious things? Wasn't it much more probable that if one were fine one would suffer?

    Who was she, what was she that she should hold herself superior? What view of life, what design upon fate, what conception of happiness, had she that she pretended to be larger than this large occasion? If she would not do this, then she must do great things, she must do something greater.

    It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance... and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.

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

    No sovereign, no court, no personal loyalty, no aristocracy, no church, no clergy, no army, no diplomatic service, no country gentlemen, no palaces, no castles, nor manors, nor old country-houses, nor parsonages, nor thatched cottages nor ivied ruins no cathedrals, nor abbeys, nor little Norman churches no great Universities nor public schools no Oxford, nor Eton, nor Harrow no literature, no novels, no museums, no pictures, no political society, no sporting class no Epsom nor Ascot Some such list as that might be drawn up of the absent things in American life.

    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.

    Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong beauty enchanting but rare goodness very apt to be weak folly very apt to be defiant wickedness to carry the day imbeciles to be in great places, peolpe of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of a night we wake up to it again for ever and ever we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it.

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

    Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.

    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.

    Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

    Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had?

    Life is a predicament which precedes death.

    More Henry James Quotations (Based on Topics)

    Life - Imagination & Visualization - America - Woman - Sense & Perception - Idea - Light - World - Time - Man - Love - Death & Dying - Countries - Art - Facts - Happiness - Pleasure - Experience - Hospitality - View All Henry James Quotations

    More Henry James Quotations (By Book Titles)

    - The Portrait of a Lady
    - The Turn of the Screw

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