GEORGE HENRY LEWES QUOTES

English philosopher & literary critic (1817-1878)

George Henry Lewes quote

Many a genius has been slow of growth. Oaks that flourish for a thousand years do not spring up into beauty like a reed.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Spanish Drama

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In complex trains of thought, signs are indispensable.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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Insincerity is always weakness; sincerity even in error is strength.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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In the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the earth we tread on, Life is every where. Nature lives: every pore is bursting with Life ; every death is only a new birth, every grave a cradle.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, Studies in Animal Life

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The selective instinct of the artist tells him when his language should be homely, and when it should be more elevated; and it is precisely in the imperceptible blending of the plain with the ornate that a great writer is distinguished. He uses the simplest phrases without triviality, and the grandest without a suggestion of grandiloquence.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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Individual experiences being limited and individual spontaneity feeble, we are strengthened and enriched by assimilating the experience of others.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, Problems of Life and Mind

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To love is for the Soul to choose a companion, and travel with it along the perilous defiles and winding ways of life; mutually sustaining, when it is rugged with obstructions, and mutually rejoicing, when rich broad plains and sunny slopes make journeying delight.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Lives and Works of Goethe

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Whatever you believe to be true and false, that proclaim to be true and false; whatever you think admirable and beautiful, that should be your model, even if all your friends and all the critics storm at you as a crotchet-monger and an eccentric.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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The history of the race is but that of the individual "writ large".

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Foundations of a Creed

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I am suspicious without a motive, and jealous without love; although I feel I ought to love since I desire to be loved.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Spanish Drama

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Love is blind; couch not his eyes.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, Ranthorpe

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It will often be a question when a man is or is not wise in advancing unpalatable opinions, or in preaching heresies; but it can never be a question that a man should be silent if unprepared to speak the truth as he conceives it.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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The opinion of the majority is not lightly to be rejected; but neither is it to be carelessly echoed.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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Inasmuch as success must be determined by the relation between the work and the public, the sincerity which leads a man into open revolt against established opinions may seem to be an obstacle. Indeed, publishers, critics, and friends are always loud in their prophecies against originality and independence on this very ground; they do their utmost to stifle every attempt at novelty, because they fix their eyes upon a hypothetical public taste, and think that only what has already been proved successful can again succeed; forgetting that whatever has once been done need not be done over again, and forgetting that what is now commonplace was once originality.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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Instead, therefore, of saying that Man is the creature of Circumstance, it would be nearer the mark to say that Man is the architect of Circumstance. It is Character which builds an existence out of Circumstance. Our strength is measured by our plastic power. From the same materials one man builds palaces, another hovels, one warehouses, another villas.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Life and Works of Goethe

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If the members of a class do not understand -- if those directly addressed fail to listen, or listening, fail to recognize a power in the voice -- surely the fault lies with the speaker, who, having attempted to secure their attention and enlighten their understandings, has failed in the attempt.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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Originality is independence, not rebellion; it is sincerity, not antagonism.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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Our native susceptibilities and acquired tastes determine which of the many qualities in an object shall most impress us, and be most clearly recalled. One man remembers the combustible properties of a substance, which to another is memorable for its polarising property; to one man a stream is so much water-power, to another a rendezvous for lovers.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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Men living always in groups cooperate like the organs in an organism. Their actions have a common impulse and a common end. Their desires and opinions bear the common stamp of an impersonal direction. Much of their life is common to all. The roads, market-places and temples, are for each and all. The experiences, the dogmas, and the doctrines are for each and all. Customs arise, and are formulated in laws, the restraint of all. The customs, born of the circumstances, immanent in the social conditions, are consciously extricated and prescribed as the rules of life; each new generation is born in this social medium, and has to adapt itself to the established forms.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, Problems of Life and Mind

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There are occasions when the simplest and fewest words surpass in effect all the wealth of rhetorical amplification.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Principles of Success in Literature

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