1. In my youth, looking at this man and that, I marvelled that humanity had made so little progress.  Now, looking at men in the multitude, I marvel that they have advanced so far.
    — George Gissing - The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft
  2. most of the wrong and folly which darken earth is due to those who cannot possess their souls in quiet; that most of the good which saves mankind from destruction comes of life that is led in thoughtful stillness. Every day the world grows noisier; I, for one, will have no part in that increasing clamour, and, were it only by my silence, I confer a boon on all.
    — George Gissing - The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft
  3. He did not think of what was, but of what, under changed circumstances, might be. To encourage such fantasy was the idlest self-torment, but he had gone too far in this form of indulgence. He became the slave of his inflamed imagination.
    — George Gissing - New Grub Street
  4. When commercial interest is supreme, how can the tastes of the majority fail to lead and control?’
    — George Gissing - Born in Exile
  5. It belongs to the pathos of human nature that only in looking back can one appreciate the true value of those long tracts of monotonous ease which, when we are living through them, seem of no account save in relation to past or future; only at a distance do we perceive that the exemption from painful shock was in itself a happiness, to be rated highly in comparison with most of those disturbances known as moments of joy.
    — George Gissing - Born in Exile 
  6. 10:01 15th Nov 2011

    notes: 4

    tags: eliotquote

    it is in these acts called trivialities that the seeds of joy are forever wasted, until men and women look round with haggard faces at the devastation their own waste has made, and say, the earth bears no harvest of sweetness—calling their denial knowledge.
    — George Eliot - Middlemarch
  7. 13:29 13th Nov 2011

    notes: 2

    tags: eliotquote

    Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world, and leave only a margin by which we see the blot? I know no speck so troublesome as self.
    — George Eliot - Midlemarch
  8. His conscience was large and easy, like the rest of him: it did only what it could do without any trouble.

    It is an uneasy lot at best, to be what we call highly taught and yet not to enjoy: to be present at this great spectacle of life and never to be liberated from a small hungry shivering self— never to be fully possessed by the glory we behold, never to have our consciousness rapturously transformed into the vividness of a thought, the ardor of a passion, the energy of an action, but always to be scholarly and uninspired, ambitious and timid, scrupulous and dim-sighted.

    he was as genuine a character as any ruminant animal

    — Character snippets  - George Eliot Middlemarch