Quotes by Edith Wharton

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Edith Wharton (January 24, 1862 August 11, 1937) was an American novelist, short story writer, and designer. more

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There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

When people ask for time, it's always for time to say no. Yes has one more letter in it, but it doesn't take half as long to say.
What could he and she really know of each other, since it was his duty, as a "decent" fellow, to conceal his past from her, and hers, as a marriageable girl, to have no past to conceal? What if, for some one of the subtler reasons that would tell with both them, they should tire of each other, misunderstand or irritate each other? . . . [With] a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of the other marriages about him were: a dull association of material and social interests held together by ignorance on the one side and hypocrisy on the other.
I have never known a novel that was good enough to be good in spite of its being adapted to the author's political views.
I wonder, among all the tangles of this mortal coil, which one contains tighter knots to undo, and consequently suggests more tugging, and pain, and diversified elements of misery, than the marriage tie.
How much longer are we going to think it necessary to be American before (or in contradistinction to) being cultivated, being enlightened, being humane, and having the same intellectual discipline as other civilized countries?
Almost everybody in the neighborhood had troubles, frankly localized and specified; but only the chosen had complications. To have them was in itself a distinction, though it was also, in most cases, a death warrant. People struggled on for years wit
If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.
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!
A New York divorce is in itself a diploma of virtue.
Mrs. Ballinger is one of the ladies who pursue Culture in bands, as though it were dangerous to meet it alone.
After all, one knows one's weak points so well, that it's rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them and invent others.
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.
I despair of the Republic! Such dreariness, such whining sallow women, such utter absence of the amenities, such crass food, crass manners, crass landscape!! What a horror it is for a whole nation to be developing without the sense of beauty, and eating bananas for breakfast.
There's no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.

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