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 :: Famous Quotations Topic: Biography (44 Quotations)

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If the reviewing of books be... ''an ungentle craft,'' the making of them is, for the most part, a dishonest one -- and that department of literature which ought to be entrusted to those only who are distinguished for their moral qualities is, not infrequently, in the hands of authors totally devoid of good taste, good feeling, and generous sentiment. The writers of Lives have, in our time, assumed a license not enjoyed by their more scrupulous predecessors -- for they interweave the adventures of the living with the memoirs of the dead; and, pretending to portray the peculiarities which sometimes mark the man of genius, they invade the privacy and disturb the peace of his surviving associates.
~ John Cam Hobhouse

 

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A biography is like a handshake down the years, that can become an arm-wrestle.
~ Richard Holmes

 

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Many heroes lived before Agamemnon; but all are unknown and unwept, extinguished in everlasting night, because they have no spirited chronicler.
~ Horace

 

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Nobody can write the life of a man but those who have eat and drunk and lived in social intercourse with him.
~ Samuel Johnson

 

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Anyone who profits from the experience of others probably writes biographies.
~ Jones

 

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On the trail of another man, the biographer must put up with finding himself at every turn; any biography uneasily shelters an autobiography within it.
~ Paul Murray Kendall

 

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A great biography should, like the close of a great drama, leave behind it a feeling of serenity. We collect into a small bunch the flowers, the few flowers, which brought sweetness into a life, and present it as an offering to an accomplished destiny. It is the dying refrain of a completed song, the final verse of a finished poem.
~ Andre Maurois

 

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Memoirs are the backstairs of history.
~ George Meredith

 

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The first thing to be done by a biographer in estimating character is to examine the stubs of his victim's check-books.
~ Silas Weir Mitchell

 

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I have not much interest in anyone's personal history after the tenth year, not even my own. Whatever one was going to be was all prepared before that.
~ Katherine Anne Porter

 

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There ain't nothing that breaks up homes, country, and nations like somebody publishing their memoirs.
~ Will Rogers

 

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The facts of a person's life will, like murder, come out.
~ Norman Sherry

 

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The immense majority of human biographies are a gray transit between domestic spasm and oblivion.
~ George Steiner

 

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Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written.
~ Mark Twain

 

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There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.
~ Mark Twain

 

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There never was a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn't be. He is too many people, if he's any good.
~ Anonymous

 

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For what is a poem, but a hazardous attempt at self-understanding. It is the deepest part of autobiography.
~ Robert Penn Warren

 

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Only when one has lost all curiosity about the future has one reached the age to write an autobiography.
~ Evelyn Waugh

 

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To write the lives of the great in separating them from their works necessarily ends by above all stressing their pettiness, because it is in their work that they have put the best of themselves.
~ Simone Weil

 

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All good biography, as all good fiction, comes down to the study of original sin, of our inherent disposition to choose death when we ought to choose life.
~ Rebecca West

 

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