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Mark Twain Quotes

Mark Twain, the famous ‘father’ of American literature. Hemmingway considered him the best American writer that ever was, and ever will be. With his unique, straight forward prose, Twain considered his writing to be the water of literature, in which every man needs his daily fill. His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, and was best known for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and the sequel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885).

President William Taft gave this eulogy quote of Mark Twain;

“Mark Twain gave pleasure – real intellectual enjoyment – to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come … His humor was American, but he was nearly as much appreciated by Englishmen and people of other countries as by his own countrymen. He has made an enduring part of American literature.”

These quotes have been broken into the following categories, feel free to utilize the table of contents on the right and click on whichever category you would like to begin on, or just work your way down! You may also press Ctrl + f to bring up a search box where you can type in a phrase or word to search for.

Mark Twain Quotes About Cats & Dogs

Funny Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Cats & Dogs

Mark Twain in 1907 by Underwood & Underwood – The New York Times photo archive


“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man’s.”

– Mark Twain


“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”

– Mark Twain


“If man could be crossed with a cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.”

– Mark Twain, Notebook


“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”

– Mark Twain


“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

– Mark Twain


“Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.”

– Mark Twain


“When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.”

– Mark Twain, Who Is Mark Twain?


“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.”

– Mark Twain 


“A person that started in to carry a cat home by the tail was gitting knowledge that was always going to be useful to him, and warn’t ever going to grow dim or doubtful.”

– Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad


“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

– Mark Twain


“Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it is the sickening grammar that they use.”

– Mark Twain


“A home without a cat — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat — may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”

– Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson


“A big leather-bound volume makes an ideal razorstrap. A thing book is useful to stick under a table with a broken caster to steady it. A large, flat atlas can be used to cover a window with a broken pane. And a thick, old-fashioned heavy book with a clasp is the finest thing in the world to throw at a noisy cat.”

– Mark Twain


“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

– Mark Twain

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Mark Twain Quotes About Death 

Mark Twain Quotes About Death

Mark Twain (left) and George Washington Cable, autographed by both, from their “Twins of Genius” lecture tour of 1884-1885

 


“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

― Mark Twain


“The trouble is not in dying for a friend, but in finding a friend worth dying for.”

― Mark Twain


“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

― Mark Twain


“I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”

― Mark Twain


“Comparison is the death of joy.”

― Mark Twain


“What is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. there is always going to be suffering. it’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.”

― Mark Twain


“Just when I thought I was learning how to live, ’twas then I realized I was learning how to die.”

― Mark Twain


“Dying man couldn’t make up his mind which place to go to — both have their advantages, “heaven for climate, hell for company!”

― Mark Twain


“Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”

― Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson

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Mark Twain Quotes About Education

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain on Education & Truth

Official portrait of Mark Twain in his DLitt (Doctor of Letters) academic dress, awarded by Oxford University.


“Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”

– Mark Twain


“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

– Mark Twain


“Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.”

– Mark Twain


“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”

– Mark Twain


“Just because you’re taught that something’s right and everyone believes it’s right, it don’t make it right.”

– Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


“There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and

shallow: Yet it was the schoolboy who said ‘Faith is believing what you

know ain’t so’.”

– Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson


“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”

– Mark Twain


“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”

– Mark Twain


“When I am king they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.”

– Mark Twain, The Prince and the Pauper


“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

– Mark Twain


“Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.”

– Mark Twain


“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.”

– Mark Twain, Notebook


“It’s not what you don’t know that kills you, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t true.”

– Mark Twain


“Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.”

– Mark Twain


“Everything has its limit – iron ore cannot be educated into gold.”

– Mark Twain


“The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind of eye couldn’t detect.”

– Mark Twain, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc


“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”

– Mark Twain


“They did not know it was impossible so they did it”

– Mark Twain

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Mark Twain Quotes about Friendship

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Friendship

Mark Twain and Henry Rogers 1908



“When we think of friends, and call their faces out of the shadows, and their voices out of the echoes that faint along the corridors of memory, and do it without knowing why save that we love to do it, we content ourselves that that friendship is a Reality, and not a Fancy–that it is builded upon a rock, and not upon the sands that dissolve away with the ebbing tides and carry their monuments with them.”

– Mark Twain


“It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart: the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.”

– Mark Twain


“The trouble is not in dying for a friend, but in finding a friend worth dying for.”

– Mark Twain


“The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right.”

– Mark Twain


“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

– Mark Twain


“It’s easy to make friends, but hard to get rid of them.”

– Mark Twain


“The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.”

– Mark Twain


“You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can’t forget. Those are your ‘friends”

– Mark Twain

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Mark Twain Quotes about Life

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Life

Mark Twain as a youth by G.H.[?] Jones [or Jonco?] / Hannibal Mo – The Bancroft Library pictorial collections

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

– Mark Twain


“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.”

– Mark Twain


“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”

– Mark Twain


“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”


“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

– Mark Twain


“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”


“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts or happenings. It consist mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one’s head.”

– Mark Twain On Life


“What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those of other things, are his history. These are his life, and they are not written. Everyday would make a whole book of 80,000 words — 365 books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man — the biography of the man himself cannot be written.”

– Mark Twain


“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”


“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

– Mark Twain


“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well”.

– Mark Twain


“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”


“Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself.”

– Mark Twain


“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”


“Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”

– Mark Twain


“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.”


“Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.”

– Mark Twain


“Obscurity and a competence—that is the life that is best worth living.”

– Mark Twain, Notebook


“There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.”

– Mark Twain


“He had had much experience of physicians, and said ‘the only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not’.”

– Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World


“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.”

– Mark Twain

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly be that kind of a friend for your friends.”

– Mark Twain


“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”


“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

– Mark Twain


“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”

– Mark Twain


“Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.”

– Mark Twain


“I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.”


“It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.”

– Mark Twain


“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”

– Mark Twain


“Never be haughty to the humble, never be humble to the haughty.”

– Mark Twain


“To do good is noble. To tell others to do good is even nobler and much less trouble.”

– Mark Twain


“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.”

– Mark Twain


“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”

– Mark Twain


“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”

– Mark Twain


“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”

– Mark Twain


“Unconsciously we all have a standard by which we measure other men, and if we examine closely we find that this standard is a very simple one, and is this: we admire them, we envy them, for great qualities we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that. Our heroes are men who do things which we recognize, with regret, and sometimes with a secret shame, that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.”

– Mark Twain

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Mark Twain Quotes about Love

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Friendship & Love

Mark Twain and Louise Paine playing billiards


“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.”

– Mark Twain, Notebook


“Don’t wake up a woman in love. Let her dream, so that she does not weep when she returns to her bitter reality”

– Mark Twain


“There are three things men can do with women: love them, suffer them, or turn them into literature.”

– Mark Twain


“I wish I could make him understand that a loving good heart is riches enough, and that without it intellect is poverty.”

– Mark Twain, The Diary of Adam and Eve


“Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.”

– Mark Twain


“Words are only painted fire, a look is the fire itself. She gave that look, and carried it away to the treasury of heaven, where all things that are divine belong.”

– Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

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Mark Twain Quotes about Humor & Wit

Funny Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain with Humor & Wit


“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

– Mark Twain


“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”


“Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation. ”


“Never have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.”

– Mark Twain


“Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.”

– Mark Twain


“God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”

– Mark Twain


“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain


“I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”

– Mark Twain


“Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.”

– Mark Twain


“When angry, count four. When very angry, swear.”

– Mark Twain


“December is the toughest month of the year. Others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, October, August, and February.”

– Mark Twain


“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?”

– Mark Twain


“How often we recall with regret that Napoleon once shot at a magazine editor and missed him and killed a publisher. But we remember with charity that his intentions were good.”

– Mark Twain


“The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.”

– Mark Twain


“A few fly bites cannot stop a spirited horse.”

– Mark Twain


“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightening that does the work.”

– Mark Twain


“Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.”

– Mark Twain


“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

– Mark Twain


“The most interesting information come from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.”

– Mark Twain


“Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. ”

– Mark Twain


“There is nothing so annoying as having two people talking when you’re busy interrupting.”

– Mark Twain


“I take my only exercise acting as a pallbearer at the funerals of my friends who exercise regularly.”

– Mark Twain


“For business reasons, I must preserve the outward signs of sanity.”

― Mark Twain


“What is Man? Man is a noisome bacillus whom Our Heavenly Father created because he was disappointed in the monkey.”

– Mark Twain


“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.”

– Mark Twain


“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”

– Mark Twain


“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

– Mark Twain  On Humor


“April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.”

– Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson and Other Tales


“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”

– Mark Twain


“In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards.”

― Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World


“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”

― Mark Twain


“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”

– Mark Twain


“I must have a prodigious amount of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up!”

– Mark Twain


“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. ”

– Mark Twain


“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”

― Mark Twain


“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.”

― Mark Twain


“A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo and doesn’t.”

– Mark Twain


“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”

― Mark Twain


“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”

― Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson


“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

– Mark Twain


“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”

– Mark Twain


“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

– Mark Twain


“Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.”

– Mark Twain

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Mark Twain Quotes about Humanity & Mankind

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Humanity & Mankind

Mark Twain, Courtesy Mark Twain Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley



“Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal… In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.

Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away for two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and flesh–not a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.”

― Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings


“The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so. ”

― Mark Twain 


“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”

― Mark Twain 


“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”

― Mark Twain 


“What is Man? Man is a noisome bacillus whom Our Heavenly Father created because he was disappointed in the monkey.”

― Mark Twain 


“The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot.”

― Mark Twain, What Is Man?


“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”

― Mark Twain


“There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages.”

― Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World


“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

― Mark Twain


“Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.”

― Mark Twain 


“He said that man’s heart was the only bad heart in the animal kingdom; that man was the only animal capable of feeling malice, envy, vindictiveness, revengefulness, hatred, selfishness, the only animal that loves drunkenness, almost the only animal that could endure personal uncleanliness and a filthy habitation, the sole animal in whom was fully developed the base instinct called patriotism, the sole animal that robs, persecutes, oppresses and kills members of his own tribe, the sole animal that steals and enslaves the members of any tribe.”

― Mark Twain, Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1


“Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.”

― Mark Twain 


“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”

― Mark Twain


“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

― Mark Twain 


“Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other; it will unriddle many riddles; it will make clear and simple many things which are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and obscurities now.”

― Mark Twain 


“All I care to know about a man is that he is a human being… he can’t be any worse.”

― Mark Twain

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Mark Twain Quotes about Politics, Freedom & Patriotism

Quotes by Mark Twain about Politics, Freedom and Patriotism

Repaired Mark Twain photo portrait taken by Mathew Brady


“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”


“It is by the goodness of god that in our country we have those 3 unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”


“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.”


“The government is merely a servant―merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.”


“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

― Mark Twain


“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.”


“There are two kinds of patriotism — monarchical patriotism and republican patriotism. In the one case the government and the king may rightfully furnish you their notions of patriotism; in the other, neither the government nor the entire nation is privileged to dictate to any individual what the form of his patriotism shall be. The gospel of the monarchical patriotism is: “The King can do no wrong.” We have adopted it with all its servility, with an unimportant change in the wording: “Our country, right or wrong!” We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had:– the individual’s right to oppose both flag and country when he (just he, by himself) believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism.”


“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it”

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.”


“An honest politician is an oxymoron.”


“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”


“Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessaries.”


“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”


“If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.”


“My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.”

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

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Mark Twain Quotes about Reading

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Reading

 


“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”


“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”


“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”


“Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”


“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.”


“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

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Mark Twain Quotes about Religion

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Religion

Mark Twain in Nikola Tesla’s lab; 1894


“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?”

– Mark Twain


“Often it does seem such a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.”

– Mark Twain, Christian Science


“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

– Mark Twain


“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.”

– Mark Twain


“The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.”

– Mark Twain


“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

– Mark Twain  


“A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.”


“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”


“The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive … but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born.”

– Mark Twain


“If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be—a Christian.”

– Mark Twain, Notebook


“Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”


“Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.”

– Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson


“After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.”

– Mark Twain, The Diaries of Adam & Eve


“Strange! that you should not have suspected years ago–centuries, ages, eons, ago!–for you have existed, companionless, through all the eternities. Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane–like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell–mouths mercy and invented hell–mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!”

– Mark Twain


“The Bible has noble poetry in it… and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies.”


“All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the “elect” have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle — keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate.”

– Mark Twain


“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.”

– Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi


“Man has imagined a heaven, and has left entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights…sexual intercourse!…His heaven is like himself: strange, interesting, astonishing, grotesque. I give you my word, it has not a single feature in it that he actually values.”


“Man was made at the end of the week’s work when God was tired.”

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Mark Twain Quotes About Traveling:

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain on Traveling

Mark Twain relaxing on a porch in New Hampshire. The New York Times photo archive.

 

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

― Mark Twain, Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It


“It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened.”

― Mark Twain


“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”

― Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad


“One must travel, to learn. Every day, now, old Scriptural phrases that never possessed any significance for me before, take to themselves a meaning.”

― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

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Mark Twain Quotes about Truth

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Truth

Mark Twain, United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs


“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”


“There’s one way to find out if a man is honest: ask him; if he says yes, you know he’s crooked.”


“A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.”


“A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.”


“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”


“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”


“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”


“Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.”

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Mark Twain Quotes about War


“There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one–on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful–as usual–will shout for the war. The pulpit will–warily and cautiously–object–at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, ‘It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it.’ Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers–as earlier–but do not dare say so. And now the whole nation–pulpit and all–will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

― Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories


“Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out… and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel…. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man with his mouth.”

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Mark Twain Quotes about Writing

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain about Reading & Writing


“There was no crime in unconscious plagiarism; that I committed it everyday, that he committed it everyday, that every man alive on earth who writes or speaks commits it every day and not merely once or twice but every time he open his mouth… there is nothing of our own in it except some slight change born of our temperament, character, environment, teachings and associations”


“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

― Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain


“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”


“A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.”


“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English―it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them―then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”


“A man who is not born with the novel-writing gift has a troublesome time of it when he tries to build a novel. I know this from experience. He has no clear idea of his story; in fact he has no story. He merely has some people in his mind, and an incident or two, also a locality, and he trusts he can plunge those people into those incidents with interesting results. So he goes to work. To write a novel? No–that is a thought which comes later; in the beginning he is only proposing to tell a little tale, a very little tale, a six-page tale. But as it is a tale which he is not acquainted with, and can only find out what it is by listening as it goes along telling itself, it is more than apt to go on and on and on till it spreads itself into a book. I know about this, because it has happened to me so many times.”

― Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson and Other Tales


“The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell together, as quickly as possible.”


“My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.”

― Mark Twain, Notebook


“Just the omission of Jane Austen’s books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn’t a book in it.”


“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”


“To me [Edgar Allen Poe’s] prose is unreadable—like Jane Austin’s [sic]. No there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane’s. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death.”


“Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”


“One should never use exclamation points in writing. It is like laughing at your own joke.”


“I was sorry to have my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead, Spencer is dead, so is Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I’m not feeling so well myself.”

― Mark Twain, Speeches


“There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn’t because the book is not there and worth being written — it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.”


“Every person is a book, each year a chapter,”

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Table of Contents


Quotes About:

Cats & Dogs
Death
Education
Friendship
Life
Love
Humor
Mankind & Humanity
Politics & Patriotism
Reading
Religion
Traveling
Truth
War
Writing
Comments

Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain

1890 painting by James Carroll Beckwith

Born: 30 November 1835

Died: 21 April 1910 (74)

Occupation: Writer

Nationality: American

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