LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS QUOTES

American novelist (1917-2010)

Today is not forever.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Rector of Justin

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Tags: present


The only thing that keeps a man going is energy. And what is energy but liking life?

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, A World of Profit

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A neurotic can perfectly well be a literary genius, but his greatest danger is always that he will not recognize when he is dull.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, Pioneers and Caretakers

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The crowd has a way of being right.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Rector of Justin

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A lot of writers ... sit in a log cabin by the lake and put their feet up by the fire in the silence and write. If you can have that that's all very well, but the true writer will learn to write anywhere -- even in prison.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Atlantic, Oct. 15, 1997

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Tags: writing


A man can spend his whole existence never learning the simple lesson that he has only one life and that if he fails to do what he wants with it, nobody else really cares.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, A Writer's Capital

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Tags: life


It's very rare that a character comes to mind complete in himself. He needs additional traits that I often pick from actual people. One way you can cover your tracks is to change the sex.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Paris Review, fall 1994

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Consider, children ... the pain of touching the tip of your finger to your mother's stove, even for a fraction of a second. That is an experience which most of you have suffered. Now try to imagine that pain, not simply on a fingertip but spread over the whole surface of your body, and not for a mere second, but everlastingly. That, children, is hellfire.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Rector of Justin

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Tags: Hell


Perfection irritates as well as it attracts, in fiction as in life.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, Pioneers and Caretakers

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Tags: perfection


Once somebody's aware of a plot, it's like a bone sticking out. If it breaks through the skin, it's very ugly.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Paris Review, fall 1994

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You don't know the things in your childhood that influence you. You can't possibly know them. People today try to analyze the early environment and the reasons for something that happened, but if you look at children of the same family -- children who have identical parents, go to identical schools, have an almost identical upbringing, and yet who have totally different experiences and neuroses -- you realize that what influences the children is not so much the obvious externals as their emotional experiences. Of course any psychiatrist knows that.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Atlantic, Oct. 15, 1997

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Tags: childhood


Keep doing good deeds long enough, and you'll probably turn out a good man in spite of yourself.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Rector of Justin

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We were not as rich as the Rockefellers or Mellons, but we were rich enough to know how rich they were.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Book Class

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Tags: wealth


It seems to me that the arts are rather flourishing. There's an awful lot of bad art about because of this, but that's true of every great era. I'm sure there was a lot dreadful art in the Renaissance that we fortunately don't see today.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Atlantic, Oct. 15, 1997

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Tags: art


To most readers the word 'fiction' is an utter fraud. They are entirely convinced that each character has an exact counterpart in real life and that any small discrepancy with that counterpart is a simple error on the author's part. Consequently, they are totally at a loss if anything essential is altered. Make Abraham Lincoln a dentist, put the Gettysburg Address on his tongue, and nobody will recognize it.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, Life, Law, and Letters

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Your literary style reflects your personality.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Paris Review, fall 1994

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The real and formidable influence of society was, fittingly, social. Those inside society's ranks controlled the private schools, the clubs, the country clubs, the subscription dances for the young, the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches, as well as the larger banks and law firms. It is commonly said that they have been relegated to the past. That is not so. They have simply lost their monopoly; they have had to move over and share their once closely guarded powers with the new rich, who are quite willing to spare the older generation so long as they are allowed to copy, and perhaps enhance, their style. See any Ralph Lauren ad.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, A Voice from Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth

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Only little boys and old men sneer at love.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Rector of Justin

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Tags: love


I had always been considered such a nonentity where human relations were concerned that the idea that I might have an influence, even a corrupting influence ... penetrated my heart with a fierce little sting of pleasure.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Rector of Justin

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Like most children of affluence, I grew up with a distinct sense that my parents were only tolerably well off. This is because children always compare their families with wealthier ones, never with poorer. I thought I knew perfectly well what it meant to be rich in New York. If you were rich, you lived in a house with a pompous beaux-arts facade and kept a butler and gave children's parties with spun sugar on the ice cream and little cups of real silver as game prizes. If you were not rich you lived in a brownstone with Irish maids who never called you Master Louis and parents who hollered up and down the stairs instead of ringing bells.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, A Writer's Capital

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Tags: money