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Vernon Lee

  • ... things in this world are very roughly averaged; and although averaging is a useful, rapid way of dispatching business, it does undoubtedly waste a great deal which is too good for wasting.

  • Art is the expression of a man's life, of his mode of being, of his relations with the universe, since it is, in fact, man's inarticulate answer to the universe's unspoken message.

  • Mankind may be divided into playgoers and not playgoers ...

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "On Going to the Play," Hortus Vitae ()
  • The greatest pleasures of reading consist in re-reading.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "Reading Books," Hortus Vitae ()
  • Some persons' letters seem almost framed to afford a series of alibis for their personality ...

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "Receiving Letters," Hortus Vitae ()
  • Despite our complicated civilization, so called, or perhaps on account of it, we are all of us a mere set of barbarians, who find it less trouble to provide a new, cheap, and shoddy thing than to get the full use and full pleasure out of a finely-made and carefully-chosen old one.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "New Friends and Old," Hortus Vitae ()
  • There is too little courtship in the world. ... For courtship means a wish to stand well in the other person's eyes, and, what is more, a readiness to be pleased with the other's ways; a sense on each side of having had the better of the bargain; an undercurrent of surprise and thankfulness at one's good luck.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "In Praise of Courtship," Hortus Vitae ()
  • As towards most other things of which we have but little personal experience (foreigners, or socialists, or aristocrats, as the case may be), there is a degree of vague ill-will towards what is called Thinking. ... I am tempted to believe that much of the mischief thus laid at the door of that poor unknown quantity Thinking is really due to its ubiquitous twin-brother Talking.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "Against Talking," Hortus Vitae ()
  • There is an unlucky tendency ... to allow every new invention to add to life's complications, and every new power to increase life's hustling; so that, unless we can dominate the mischief, we are really the worse off instead of the better.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "My Bicycle and I," Hortus Vitae ()
  • A deal of the world's sound happiness is lost through Shyness.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • title essay, Limbo ()
  • ... there is no end to the deceits of the past ...

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "In Praise of Old Houses," Limbo ()
  • Leisure requires the evidence of our own feelings, because it is not so much a quality of time as a peculiar state of mind. ... What being at leisure means is more easily felt than defined.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "About Leisure," Limbo ()
  • ... 'tis the superfluity of one man which makes the poverty of the other.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "About Leisure," Limbo ()
  • ... poets are privileged to utter more than they can always quite explain, bringing up from the mind's unplumbed depths tokens of the nature of the world we carry within us.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • in C. Anstruther-Thomson, Art and Man ()
  • When you appreciate a thing best — and you are a great appreciator, dear Ethel — you rather hug the life out of it ...

    • Vernon Lee,
    • 1893, to Ethel Smyth, in Ethel Smyth, As Time Went On... ()

Vernon Lee, French-born English writer

(1856 - 1935)

Real name: Violet Paget.