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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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If those gentlemen would let me alone I should be much obliged to them. I would say, as Shakespeare would say... ''Sweet Friend, for Jesus sake forbear.''
~ Thomas Carlyle

 

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In writing biography, fact and fiction shouldn't be mixed. And if they are, the fictional points should be printed in red ink, the facts printed in black ink.
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

 

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Just as there is nothing between the admirable omelet and the intolerable, so with autobiography.
~ Hilaire Belloc

 

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Just how difficult it is to write biography can be reckoned by anybody who sits down and considers just how many people know the real truth about his or her love affairs.
~ Rebecca West

 

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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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Memoirs are the backstairs of history.
~ George Meredith

 

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No sooner does a great man depart, and leave his character as public property, than a crowd of little men rushes towards it. There they are gathered together, blinking up to it with such vision as they have, scanning it from afar, hovering round it this way and that, each cunningly endeavoring, by all arts, to catch some reflex of it in the little mirror of himself.
~ Thomas Carlyle

 

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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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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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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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Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.
~ Benjamin Disraeli

 

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Show me a character whose life arouses my curiosity, and my flesh begins crawling with suspense.
~ Fawn M. Brodie

 

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

 

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

 

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The secret of biography resides in finding the link between talent and achievement. A biography seems irrelevant if it doesn't discover the overlap between what the individual did and the life that made this possible. Without discovering that, you have shapeless happenings and gossip.
~ Leon Edel

 

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The surrounding that householders crave are glorified autobiographies.
~ T. H. Gibblings

 

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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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There is properly no history; only biography.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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