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    Thornton Wilder (Thornton Niven Wilder)
    (1897 - 1975) American Playwright and Novelist
  1. An incinerator is a writer's best friend.
  2. A dramatist is one who believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it. [interview, 1958]
  3. Hope, like faith, is nothing if it is not courageous; it is nothing if it is not ridiculous.
  4. I am convinced that, except in a few extraordinary cases, one form or another of an unhappy childhood is essential to the formation of exceptional gifts. [interview, 1958]
  5. I am not interested in the ephemeral — such subjects as the adulteries of dentists. I am interested in those things that repeat and repeat and repeat in the lives of the millions. [intervie in the New York Times, 1961]
  6. I do borrow from other writers, shamelessly! I can only say in my defense, like the woman brought before the judge on a charge of kleptomania, "I do steal, but, your Honor, only from the very best stores.
  7. I've never forgotten for long at a time that living is struggle. I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for — whether it's a field, or a home, or a country. [from The Skin of Our Teeth, 1942]
  8. I would love to be the poet laureate of Coney Island. [interview in the New York Journal-American, 1955]
  9. Life is an unbroken succession of false situations.
  10. Literature is the orchestration of platitudes. [interview in Time, 1953]
  11. A man looks pretty small at a wedding, George. All those good women standing shoulder to shoulder, making sure that the knot's tied in a mighty public way. [from Our Town, 1938]
  12. Many great writers have been extraordinarily awkward in daily exchange, but the greatest give the impression that their style was nursed by the closest attention to colloquial speech. [interview, 1958]
  13. Many plays — certainly mine — are like blank checks. The actors and directors put their own signatures on them. [intervie in the New York Mirror, 1956]
  14. Many who have spent a lifetime in it can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.
  15. My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate — that's my philosophy. [from The Skin of Our Teeth, 1942]
  16. Nature reserves the right to inflict upon her children the most terrifying jests.
  17. Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion.
  18. People are meant to go through life two by two. 'Tain't natural to be lonesome. [from Our Town, 1938]
  19. Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day.
  20. That's what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another. [from Our Town, 1938]
  21. Where there is an unknowable there is a promise.
  22. from The Matchmaker, 1942, later adapted as Hello, Dolly!

  23. Marriage is a bribe to make a housekeeper think she's a householder.
  24. Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination sinners — your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards — who dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute.
  25. The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, "Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home." And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.
  26. Nurse one vice in your bosom. Give it the attention it deserves and let your virtues spring up modestly around it. Then you'll have the miser who's no liar; and the drunkard who's the benefactor of the whole city.
  27. Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.

  28. William of Orange (King William III of England)
    (1650 - 1702) Dutch-born English King; Married to Mary II; endowed the College of William and Mary (US, Virginia)
  29. There is one certain means by which I can be sure never to see my country's ruin-- I will die in the last ditch. [ergo 'last ditch effort']

  30. Wendell Wilkie (Wendell Lewis Willkie)
    (1892 - 1944) American lawyer and 1940 Republican Presidential Nominee
  31. To surpress minority thinking and minority expression would tend to freeze society and prevent progress. Now more than ever, we must keep in the forefront of our minds the fact that whenever we take away the liberties of those we hate, we are opening the way to loss of liberty for those we love.

  32. George Will (George Frederick Will)
    (1941 - ) American Journalist, Author, baseball fan, and political commentator; winner of the Pulitzer Prize
  33. The future has a way of arriving unannounced.
  34. Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings. [1990]
  35. Few things are as stimulating as other people’s calamities observed from a safe distance.
  36. There may be more poetry than justice in poetic justice.
  37. The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
  38. World War II was the last government program that really worked.
  39. The Berlin Wall was the defining achievement of socialism.
  40. Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.
  41. This is an age in which one cannot find common sense without a search warrant.
  42. Revisiting the Revolutionary War is a bracing reminder that the fate of a continent, and the shape of the modern world, turned on the free choices of remarkably few Americans defying an empire.

  43. Bruce Williams
    (N/A) American Businessman and personal finance radio talk show host.
  44. Never love anything that can't love you back.

  45. H. H. Willaims
  46. Furious activity is no substitute for understanding.

  47. William Carolos Williams
    (1883 - 1963) American Poet, Physician; imagist, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize
    Poems by William Carolos Williams
  48. If they give you lined paper, write the other way.
  49. It is almost impossible to state what one in fact believes, because it is almost impossible to hold a belief and to define it at the same time.
  50. It is not what you say that matters but the manner in which you say it; there lies the secret of the ages.
  51. The better work men do is always done under stress and at great personal cost.
  52. Forget all rules, forget all restrictions, as to taste, as to what ought to be said; write for the pleasure of it.

  53. John Wilmot
    (1647 - 1680) English Satirist, Poet; 2nd Earl of Rochester
    Poems by John Wilmot
  54. Before I was married, I had a hundred theories about raising children and no children. Now, I have three children and no theories.
  55. Man differs more from Man, than Man from Beast.

  56. Earl Wilson "Midnight Earl"
    (1907 - 1987) American Newspaper Columnist, author and critic
  57. Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.
  58. An exhaustive study of police records shows that no woman has ever shot her husband while he was doing the dishes.
  59. Somebody figured it out: we have 35 million laws trying to enforce Ten Commandments.

  60. Charles E. Wilson "Electric Charlie"
    (1907 - 1987) President and CEO of General Electric; member of President Truman's cambinet
  61. What is good for the country is good for General Motors and vice versa.
  62. I have always liked bird dogs better than kennel-fed dogs myself--you know, one that will get out and hunt for food rather than sit on his fanny and yell.
  63. No plan can prevent a stupid person from doing the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time -- but a good plan should keep a concentration from forming.

  64. Colin Wilson
    (1931 - ) British Author; prolific mystery writer, and author of many non-fiction works
  65. In the civilisation a new law of hostility prevails. And to call it the law of the jungle is unfair to the jungle.
  66. A symphony is a stage play with the parts written for instruments instead of for actors.

  67. Harold Wilson (James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx)
    (1916 - 1995) British Politician and twice Prime Minister of the UK
  68. A week is a long time in politics.
  69. I'm an optimist, but an optimist who carries a raincoat.
  70. Whichever party is in office, the Treasury is in power.
  71. The monarchy is a labor intensive industry.
  72. Everybody should have an equal chance - but they shouldn't have a flying start.
  73. The main essentials of a successful prime minister are sleep and a sense of history.
  74. One man's wage increase is another man's price increase.
  75. He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.

  76. Woodrow Wilson
    (1856 - 1924) American Law Professor, President of Princeton University, Governor of New Jersey, and 28th U.S. President; President during World War I
  77. A conservative is a man who sits and thinks, mostly sits.
  78. By 'radical,' I understand one who goes too far; by 'conservative,' one who does not go far enough; by 'reactionary,' one who won't go at all.
  79. Prosperity is necessarily the first theme of a political campaign.
  80. I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.
  81. Business underlies everything in our national life, including our spiritual life. Witness the fact that in the Lord's Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.
  82. I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.
  83. We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.
  84. Some Americans need hyphens in their names because only part of them has come over.
  85. You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.
  86. Nothing is easier than to falsify the past. Lifeless instruction will do it. If you rob it of vitality, stiffen it with pedantry, sophisticate it with argument, chill it with unsympathetic comment, you render it as dead as any academic exercise. [1896]
  87. Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down. [lecture at Columbia University, 1907]
  88. The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name...We must be impartial in thought as well as in action. [letter to the Senate, 1914]
  89. You deal in the raw material of opinion, and, if my convictions have any validity, opinion ultimately governs the world. [speech to the Associated Press, 1915]
  90. No nation is fit to sit in judgement upon any other nation. [speech, 1915]
  91. The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history. It represents the experiences made by men and women, the experiences of those who do and live under that flag. [June 14th, 1915]
  92. America cannot be an ostrich with its head in the sand. [speech, 1916]
  93. The question upon which the whole future peace and policy of the world depends is this: Is the present war a struggle for a just and secure peace, or only for a new balance of power? If it be only a struggle for a new balance of power, who will guarantee, who can guarantee, the stable equilibrium of the new arrangement? Only a tranquil Europe can be a stable Europe. There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace. [address to the Senate, 1917]
  94. It must be a peace without victory. Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor's terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between equals can last. [address to the Senate, 1917]
  95. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. [address to Congress, 1917]
  96. I can predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it. [League of Nations Address, 1919]
  97. If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.
  98. If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.
  99. If you think too much about being re-elected, it is very difficult to be worth re-electing.
  100. If you want to make enemies, try to change something.
  101. Never attempt to murder a man who is committing suicide.
  102. No student knows his subject: the most he knows is where and how to find out the things he does not know.
  103. One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat.
  104. The seed of revolution is repression.
  105. The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.
  106. The way to stop financial joy-riding is to arrest the chauffeur, not the automobile.
  107. There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.
  108. We are not put in this world to sit still and know; we are put into it to act.
  109. You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.

  110. Michael Winner
    (1935 - ) English Director and Producer
  111. A team effort is a lot of people doing what I say.
  112. I don't want to do something for the sake of it. I am prepared to wait. If I wait until I am buried, too bad.

  113. Jeanette Winterson
    (1959 - ) British Novelist
  114. They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?
  115. Academics love to make theories about a body of work, but each book consumes the writer and is the sum of his or her world.
  116. However it is debased or misinterpreted, love is a redemptive feature. To focus on one individual so that their desires become superior to yours is a very cleansing experience.
  117. I don't believe in happy endings.
  118. I don't read reviews because by then it's too late - whatever anyone says, the book won't change. It is written.
  119. Naked is the best disguise.
  120. One room is always enough for one person. Two rooms is not enough for two people. That is one of the conundrums in life.
  121. The curious are always in some danger. If you are curious you might never come home.
  122. The work that lasts over time is the work which still speaks to us when all contemporary interest in that work is extinct.
  123. What you risk reveals what you value.

  124. Ludwig Wittgenstein (Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein)
    (1889 - 1951) Influential Austrian Philosopher
  125. Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.
  126. There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical. [1922]
  127. If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.
  128. At the core of all well-founded belief, lies belief that is unfounded.
  129. To believe in God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter. [1916]
  130. A pupil and a teacher. The pupil will not let anything be explained to him, for he continually interrupts with doubts, for instance as to the existence of things, the meaning for words, etc. The teacher says 'Stop interrupting me and do as I tell you. So far your doubts don't make sense at all.' [1969]
  131. A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.
  132. A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring.
  133. For a truly religious man nothing is tragic.
  134. Someone who knows too much finds it hard not to lie.
  135. The mystical is not how the world is, but that it is.


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