70 Best Edith Wharton Quotes

Last Updated on July 19, 2020 by Scott M. Thomas

Edith Wharton was an American novelist, short story writer, and designer. She was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in literature. Wharton began writing poetry and fiction as a young girl and attempted to write her first novel at the age of eleven. She was multitalented and an enthusiastic writer. She was concerned about the social and psychological problems of the aristocratic New York society. May these Edith Wharton quotes help you to know her better

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it” – Edith Wharton

“The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!” – Edith Wharton

edith wharton famous quotes

“One of the great things about travel is you find out how many good kind people there are” – Edith Wharton

“Women ought to be free – as free as we are,’ he declared, making a discovery of which he was too irritated to measure the terrific consequences” – Edith Wharton

“They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods” – Edith Wharton

“Each time you happen to me all over again” – Edith Wharton

“One can remain alive … if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity interested in big things and happy in small ways” – Edith Wharton

“There are moments when a man’s imagination, so easily subdued to what it lives in, suddenly rises above its daily level and surveys the long windings of destiny” – Edith Wharton

“We live in our own souls as in an unmapped region, a few acres of which we have cleared for our habitation; while of the nature of those nearest us we know but the boundaries that march with ours” – Edith Wharton

“The essence of taste is suitability. Divest the word of its prime and priggish implications, and see how it expresses the mysterious demand of the eye and mind for symmetry, harmony and order” – Edith Wharton
  

“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day. I loved light ever, light in eye and brain No tapers mirrored in long palace floors, Nor dedicated depths of silent aisles, But just the common dusty wind-blown day That roofs earth’s millions” – Edith Wharton
  

“The visible world is a daily miracle, for those who have eyes and ears” – Edith Wharton

edith wharton quotes age of innocence

“Beauty (was)a gift which, in the eyes of New York, justified every success, and excused a certain number of failings” – Edith Wharton
  

“I am secretly afraid of animals…. I think it is because of the usness in their eyes, with the underlying not-usness which beliesit, and is so tragic a reminder of the lost age when we human beings branched off and left them: left them to eternal inarticulateness and slavery. Why? their eyes seem to ask us” – Edith Wharton

“Life has a way of overgrowing its achievements as well as its ruins” – Edith Wharton

“A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness” – Edith Wharton

“If the proportion is the good breeding of architecture, symmetry, or the answering of one part to another, may be defined as the sanity of decoration” – Edith Wharton

“But I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes” – Edith Wharton

“It frightened him to think about what must have gone to the making of her eyes” – Edith Wharton

“No insect hangs its nest on threads as frail as those which will sustain the weight of human vanity” – Edith Wharton

“Everything may be labelled- but everybody is not” – Edith Wharton

“A frivolous society can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys” – Edith Wharton

“Why do we call all our generous ideas illusions and the mean one’s truths?” – Edith Wharton

“Only the fact that we are unaware of how well our nearest neighbor knows us enables us to live with them. Love is the most impregnable refuge of self-esteem, and we hate the eye that reaches to our nakedness” – Edith Wharton

“After all, one knows one’s weak points so well, that it’s rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them and invent others” – Edith Wharton

“My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet” – Edith Wharton

edith wharton quotes

“Silence may be as variously shaded as speech” – Edith Wharton

“Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before” – Edith Wharton

“Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope” – Edith Wharton

“True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision” – Edith Wharton

“Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive” – Edith Wharton

“Old age, calm, expanded, broad with the haughty breadth of the universe, old age flowing free with the delicious near-by freedom of death” – Edith Wharton

“Another unsettling element in modern art is the common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before” – Edith Wharton

“The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it” – Edith Wharton

“Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue” – Edith Wharton

“He had to deal all at once with the packed regrets and stifled memories of an inarticulate lifetime” – Edith Wharton

“Misfortune had made Lily supple instead of hardening her, and a pliable substance is less easy to break than a stiff one” – Edith Wharton

“There are moments when a man’s imagination, so easily subdued to what it lives in, suddenly rises above its daily level and surveys the long windings of destiny” – Edith Wharton

“He had to deal all at once with the packed regrets and stifled memories of an inarticulate lifetime” – Edith Wharton

“The worst of doing one’s duty was that it apparently unfitted one for doing anything else” – Edith Wharton

“Beware of monotony; it’s the mother of all the deadly sins” – Edith Wharton

“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” – Edith Wharton

“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day” – Edith Wharton

“My little old dog

a heart-beat

at my feet” – Edith Wharton

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time” – Edith Wharton

edith wharton quotes light meaning

“Each time you happen to me all over again” – Edith Wharton

“There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there’s only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time” – Edith Wharton

“The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!” – Edith Wharton

“There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one’s self, the very meaning of one’s soul” – Edith Wharton

“She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate” – Edith Wharton

“Genius is of small use to a woman who does not know how to do her hair” – Edith Wharton

“Silence may be as variously shaded as speech” – Edith Wharton

“I couldn’t have spoken like this yesterday, because when we’ve been apart, and I’m looking forward to seeing you, every thought is burnt up in a great flame. But then you come; and you’re so much more than I remembered, and what I want of you is so much more than an hour or two every now and then, with wastes of thirsty waiting between, that I can sit perfectly still beside you, like this, with that other vision in my mind, just quietly trusting it to come true” – Edith Wharton

“What Lily craved was the darkness made by enfolding arms, the silence which is not solitude, but compassion holding its breath” – Edith Wharton

“Nothing is more perplexing to a man than the mental process of a woman who reasons her emotions” – Edith Wharton

“Half the trouble in life is caused by pretending there isn’t any” – Edith Wharton

edith wharton quotes on love

“The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like interacting searchlights” – Edith Wharton

“His whole future seemed suddenly to be unrolled before him; and passing down its endless emptiness he saw the dwindling figure of a man to whom nothing was ever to happen” – Edith Wharton

“It was easy enough to despise the world but decidedly difficult to find any other habitable region” – Edith Wharton
  

“She said she knew we were safe with you, and always would be, because once, when she asked you to, you’d given up the thing you most wanted. ‘Archer received this strange communication in silence. His eyes remained unseeingly fixed on the thronged sunlit square below the window. At length he said in a low voice’ She never asked me” – Edith Wharton
  

“Yes, the Gorgon has dried your tears,” he said. “Well, she opened my eyes too; it’s a delusion to say that she blinds people. What she does is just the contrary — she fastens their eyelids open, so that they’re never again in the blessed darkness” – Edith Wharton
  

“It’s you who are telling me; opening my eyes to things I’d looked at so long that I’d ceased to see them” – Edith Wharton
  

“I think sometimes that it is almost a pity to enjoy Italy as much as I do, because the acuteness of my sensations makes them rather exhausting; but when I see the stupid Italians I have met here, completely insensitive to their surroundings, and ignorant of the treasures of art and history among which they have grown up, I begin to think it is better to be an American, and bring to it all a mind and eye unblunted by custom” – Edith Wharton
  

“Any rapidly enacted episode. . .should be seen through only one pair of eyes” – Edith Wharton

“I don’t know if I should care for a man who made life easy; I should want someone who made it interesting” – Edith Wharton

“We can’t behave like people in novels, though, can we?” – Edith Wharton

edith wharton quote light

“As the pain that can be told is but half a pain, so the pity that questions has little healing in its touch” – Edith Wharton

“A New York divorce is in itself a diploma of virtue” – Edith Wharton

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