Quotes from George Eliot (Marian Evans Cross)

I haven’t been providing quotes lately, but I found my Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations the other day.  I opened it at random and came across these George Eliot quotes that seemed worth sharing:


“There’s no real making amends in the world, any more nor can you mend a wrong subtraction by doing your addition right.”


“It’s but little good you do a-watering the last year’s crops.”


“A patronizing disposition always has its meaner side.”


“It’s them that take advantage that get advantage i’ this world.”


“He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.”


Wish I could write like that.

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  • Texan99

    “Middlemarch” is among my favorite novels.  They always seem to make high school students read “Silas Marner” instead, which is a horrible idea.  It’s completely inaccessible to teenagers, I would think.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    “FANCY what a game at chess would be if all the chessmen had passions and intellects, more or less small and cunning: if you were not only uncertain about your adversary’s men, but a little uncertain also about your own; if your knight could shuffle himself on to a new square by the sly; if your bishop, in disgust at your castling, could wheedle your pawns out of their places; and if your pawns, hating you because they are pawns, could make away from their appointed posts that you might get checkmate on a sudden. You might be the longest-headed of deductive reasoners, and yet you might be beaten by your own pawns. You would be especially likely to be beaten, if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt.
    Yet this imaginary chess is easy compared with the game a man has to play against his fellow-men with other fellow-men for his instruments.”

    –from Felix Holt, the Radical 

  • Gringo

    Maybe it is time for me to read George Eliot, which I have avoided since hearing horror stories in high school about Silas Marner.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Haven’t read Silas Marner since high school, though I have read several of Eliot’s other works…but I do like this Silas Marner quote:

    The sense of security more frequently springs from habit than from conviction, and for this reason it often subsists after such a change in the conditions as might have been expected to suggest alarm. The lapse of time during which a given event has not happened is, in this logic of habit, constantly alleged as a reason why the event should never happen, even when the lapse of time is precisely the added condition which makes the event imminent.

    This passage was quoted in a 2005 Barrons interview with money manager David Richard….and while googling for it I ran across a very similar thought from Nassim Taleb of Black Swan fame:

    Complex systems that have artificially suppressed volatility tend to become extremely fragile, while at the same time exhibiting no visible risks. In fact, they tend to be too calm and exhibit minimal variability as silent risks accumulate beneath the surface. Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policymakers is to stabilize the system by inhibiting fluctuations, the result tends to be the opposite.