"Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm, and yet he is willing to make gods by dozens."
Michel de Montaigne
"Joy is a subtle elf; I think one's happiest when he forgets himself."
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
"The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with facts for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life."
French philosopher, historian
(same dates as Peter Medawar)
"Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated."
Alphonse de Lamartine
"There are four departments. There's the executive, and the legislative, and the judicial, andthe Bill of Rights."
US Senator (NE)
"Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.
"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas."
"People sometimes divide others into those you laugh at and those you laugh with. The young Auden was someone you could laugh-at-with."
Sir Stephen Spender
"It's hard for me to say what I think about it because it's kind of embarrassing. I think the stuff is very goodtechnically very good... But I think it's the fact that I'm 83 and living here in one room and that I'm blind and I'm also kind of gamy. I think they gambled on this book, and I think part of it is this old nut, a character."
Virginia Hamilton Adair
, on being published for the first time at 83
"He has the best possible actors. If you have a disagreement with them, you can always use them to wash your car."
, on Jim Henson's muppets
"If a scientist were to cut his ear off, no one would take it as evidence of a heightened sensibility."
Sir Peter Medawar
Brazil-born British zoologist
(same dates as Ernest Renan)
, on van Gogh
"She felt in italics and thought in capitals."
"As a result of half a century of Soviet rule people have been weaned from a belief in human kindness."
Russian political family
(daughter of Joseph Stalin)
"He used to be fairly indecisive, but now he's not so certain."
"My idea of gambling was walking through Central Park, whistling show tunes."
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough."
Italian race driver
"Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good."
"When I grew up in the '60s, your hair had to be straight and you had to be skinny and have no boobs, and it was like not my era."
"I wanted to be a brain surgeon, but I had a bad habit of dropping things."
US comic actor
"When I see these guys write all this macho stuff I want to smash their heads."
"Truth's like a fire, and will burn through and be seen."
"Of necessity, we made the discovery that it is easier to turn poets into business journalists than to turn bookkeepers into writers."
Henry R. Luce
(was married to Clare Boothe Luce)
, on Time magazine
"I hate pretty-looking boys. I'd rather have a guy with a potbelly than one who's in the gym all the time and watches what he eats."
US actor, model
"Rockefeller made his money in oil, which he discovered at the bottom of wells. Oil was considered crude in those days, but so was Rockefeller. Now both are considered quite refined."
"A best seller was a book which somehow sold well simply because it was selling well."
Dr. Daniel J. Boorstin
"Golf is a game in which you yell 'fore,' shoot six, and write down five."
US radio journalist
"You can chase a Beethoven symphony all your life and never catch up."
(was married to Mia Farrow)
"The laws of nature are constructed in such a way as to make the universe as interesting as possible."