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Henry James Quotes

24 of the best book quotes from Henry James
  1. #1
    “‘It has made me better loving you,’ he said on another occasion; ‘it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter.‘”
  2. #2
    “You wanted to look at life for yourself - but you were not allowed; you were punished for your wish. You were ground in the very mill of the conventional.”
  3. #3
    “Her imagination was by habit ridiculously active; when the door was not open it jumped out the window.”
  4. #4
    “One can’t judge till one’s forty; before that we’re too eager, too hard, too cruel, and in addition much too ignorant.”
  5. #5
    “And you can’t always please yourself; you must sometimes please other people. That, I admit, you’re very ready to do; but there’s another thing that’s still more important--you must often displease others. You must always be ready for that--you must never shrink from it. That doesn’t suit you at all--you’re too fond of admiration, you like to be thought well of. You think we can escape disagreeable duties by taking romantic views--that’s your great illusion, my dear. But we can’t. You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all--not even yourself.”
  6. #6
    “Whatever life you lead, you must put your soul into it--to make any sort of success of it; and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance, I assure you; it becomes reality!”
  7. #7
    “And the great advantage of being a literary woman was that you could go everywhere and do everything.”
  8. #8
    “If one is strong, one loves only the more strongly.”
  1. #9
    “‘Things are always different than what they might be,’ said the old man. ‘If you wait for them to change, you will never do anything.‘”
  2. #10
    “She had a theory that it was only on this condition that life was worth living; that one should be one of the best, should be conscious of a fine organization, should move in the realm of light, of natural wisdom, of happy impulse, of inspiration gracefully chronic.”
  3. #11
    “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
  4. #12
    “Meanwhile my business is not to bother, but simply to be thankful for life and love.”
  5. #13
    “I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better. It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight, and suddenly the lamp comes in. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life, and finding nothing to reward me for my pains; but now that I can read it properly I see that it’s a delightful story.”
  6. #14
    “If you have been hated, you have also been loved.”
  7. #15
    “She was fond of seeing great crowds and large stretches of country.”
  8. #16
    “She carried within herself a great fund of life, and her deepest enjoyment was to feel the continuity between the movements of her own heart and the agitations of the world.”
  1. #17
    “She had an immense curiosity about life, and was constantly staring and wondering.”
  2. #18
    “I call people rich when they are able to gratify their imagination.”
  3. #19
    “She’s as bright as the morning. She corresponds to your description;it is for that I wish you to know her. She fills all your requirements.”
    “More or less, of course.”
    “No; quite literally. She is beautiful, accomplished, generous, and for an American, well-born. She is also very clever and very amiable, and she has a handsome fortune.”
  4. #20
    “I’m yours for ever -- for ever and ever. Here I stand; I’m as firm as a rock. If you’ll only trust me, how little you’ll be disappointed. Be mine as I am yours.”
  5. #21
    “Her reputation for reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic.”
  6. #22
    “Isabel is written in a foreign tongue. I can’t make her out.”
  7. #23
    “You must save what you can of your life; you musn’t lose it all simply because you have lost a part.”
  8. #24
    “Isabel was a young person of many theories; her imagination was remarkably active. It had been her fortune to possess a finer mind than most of the persons among whom her lot was cast . . .”
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