Carolyn Heilbrun Quotes


... success always worries academics when it moves into the popular world.

A literary academic can no more pass a bookstore than an alcoholic can pass a bar.

It's hard to be happy and safe and applauded in a miserable world.

Androgyny suggests a spirit of reconciliation between the sexes ...

To recommend that women become identical to men would be simple reversal and would defeat the whole point of androgyny and for that matter feminism: in both the whole point is choice.

one sank into the ancient sin of anomie when challenges failed.

Thinking about profound social change conservatives always expect disaster while revolutionaries confidently anticipate utopia. Both are wrong.

I don't know why togetherness was ever held up as an ideal of marriage. Away from home for both then together that's much better.

You can flush my ashes down the toilet for all I care.

We cannot guess the outcome of our actions... Which is why our actions must always be acceptable in themselves and not as strategies.

In former days everyone found the assumption of innocence so easy; today we find fatally easy the assumption of guilt.

Upon becoming fifty the one thing you can't afford is habit.

We in middle age require adventure.

Power is the ability to take one's place in whatever discourse is essential to action and the right to have one's part matter.

Normal is absolutely my least favorite word.

Professors of literature collect books the way a ship collects barnacles without seeming effort.

Life has this in common with prizefighting: if you've received a belly blow it's likely to be followed by a right to the jaw.

One hires lawyers as on hires plumbers because one wants to keep one's hands off the beastly drains.

Everyone likes to talk shop which is the most interesting talk in the world in the beginning.

Cynic' is the sentimentalist's name for the realist.

The compulsion to find a lover and husband in a single person has doomed more women to misery than any other illusion.

Power consists to a large extent in deciding what stories will be told.

People who are genuinely involved in life not just living a routine they've contrived to protect them from disaster always seem to have more demanded of them than they can easily take on.

Only a marriage with partners strong enough to risk divorce is strong enough to avoid it.

a revolutionary marriage ... [is] one in which both partners have work at the center of their lives and must find a delicate balance that can support both together and each individually.

A dog is the only exercise machine you cannot decide to skip when you don't feel like it.

Quoting like smoking ... is a dirty habit to which I am devoted. But then ... I am a professor of English literature; it is an occupational hazard.

Today's youth seem finally to have understood that only by freeing woman from her exclusively sexual role can man free himself from his ordained role in the rat-race: that of the rat.

Nostalgia is a dangerous emotion both because it is powerless to act in the real world and because it glides so easily into hatred and resentment against those who have taken our Eden from us.

Most full lives are filled with empty gestures.

Male friends do not always face each other; they stand side by side facing the world.

Ideas move fast when their time comes.

maturity ... is letting things happen.

New York is not like London a now-and-then place to many people. You can either not live in New York or not live anyplace else. One is either a lover or hater.

That is the point of quotations. One can use another's words to be insulting.

The married are those who have taken the terrible risk of intimacy and having taken it know life without intimacy to be impossible.

Shifting problems is the first rule for a long and pleasant life.

. . . a relationship has a momentum it must change and develop and will tend to move toward the point of greatest commitment.

What marks a writer is this: until she - or he of course - writes down whatever happened turns it into a story it hasn't really happened it hasn't shape form reality.

One cannot make up stories; one can only retell in new ways the stories one has already heard.

as the years go on a sense of deep patience comes over one; one seems to know the virtue of ripeness and the danger of rushing events.

Is there any vanity greater than the vanity of those who believe themselves without it?