Henry James Quotes

Most popular Henry James Quotes

In art, economy is always beauty.
— Henry James
Deep experience is never peaceful.
— Henry James


Adjectives are the sugar of literature and adverbs the salt.

parts of speech

Money's a horrid thing to follow, but a charming thing to meet.


It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.


My sole wish is to frustrate as utterly as possible the post-mortem exploiter.
— Henry James


I don't want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did.
— Henry James

funny what others think

The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life.
— Henry James
Art requires, above all things, a suppression of self, a subordination of one's self to an idea.


Every good story is of course both a picture and an idea, and the more they are interfused the better.


For a man to pretends to understand women is bad manners. For him to really to understand them is bad morals.
— Henry James


Ideas are, in truth, forces. Infinite, too, is the power of personality. A union of the two always makes history.
— Henry James
Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
— Henry James


Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
— Henry James
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
— Henry James

kindness how to live life

The house of fiction  has in short not one window, but a million...but they are, singly, as nothing without the posted presence of the watcher.


I think I don't regret a single excess of my responsive youth—I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace.
— Henry James

excess regret

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, for our consideration and application of these things, and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of it's process.
— Henry James
Experience is never limited and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads, suspended in the chamber of consciousness and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.


Sorrow comes in great waves—no one can know that better than you—but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot, and we know that if it is strong we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain. It wears us, uses us, but we wear it and use it in return; and it is blind, whereas we after a manner see.
— Henry James


Instead of leading to the high places of happiness, from which the world would seem to lie below one, so that one could look down with a sense of exaltation and advantage, and judge and choose and pity, it led rather downward and earthward, into realms of restriction and depression, where the sound of other lives, easier and freer, was heard as from above, and served to deepen the feeling of failure.