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Tragic Genius: Quotes from Ernest Hemingway

Updated on October 4, 2008

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.

I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.

Never confuse movement with action.

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.

Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.

Let him think I am more man than I am and I will be so.

Courage is grace under pressure.

Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.

Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand or which seems to differ from their moral concepts.

Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.

For luck you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit's foot in your right pocket. The fur had been worn off the rabbit's foot long ago and the bones and the sinews were polished by the wear. The claws scratched in the lining of your pocket and you knew your luck was still there.

If the book is good, is about something that you know, and is truly written, and reading it over you see that this is so, you can let the boys yip and the noise will have that pleasant sound coyotes make on a very cold night when they are out in the snow and you are in your own cabin that you have built or paid for with your work.

God knows people who are paid to have attitudes toward things, professional critics, make me sick; camp following eunuchs of literature. They won't even whore. They're all virtuous and sterile. And how well meaning and high minded. But they're all camp followers.

Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games.

He was just a coward and that was the worst luck any man could have.

A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.

All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.

All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.

The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.

Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)   US author & journalist
Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961) US author & journalist

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