Van Wyck Brooks Quotes

Van Wyck Brooks, 1886 – 1963

Born: 16 February 1886, Plainfield, New Jersey
Died: 2 May 1963, Bridgewater, Connecticut

Van Wyck was the second son of Charles Brooks, a brokerage clerk who had failed in business, and Sara Ames Brooks, whose family had arrived in New Amsterdam in 1659 and done very well for themselves. When Charles’ mentor died, his own efforts were flops, he returned home after selling a copper mine in Arizona that would later be hugely productive in order to buy a nickel mine in Utah that was too far from any railroad to be worth anything at all. Thus a home in tension between a socialite wife who drew on her family’s money and a father that didn’t fit. Many of Brooks’ books addressed problems he saw in the society from which his mother came. His real contribution was literary criticism, he was largely responsible for making the American authors of the 19th century prominent, including such names as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Stephen Crane, Bret Harte, and Mark Twain. His “Finders and Makers” series included five volumes, the first of which earned him the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1937. He graduated from Harvard in 1908, sold his first book the same year. He was granted Doctor of Letters degrees by ten Universities.

Van Wyck Brooks quotes:

A man who has the courage of his platitudes is always a successful man. The instructed man is ashamed to pronounce in an orphic manner what everybody knows, and because he is silent people think he is making fun of them. They like a man who expresses their own superficial thoughts in a manner that appears to be profound. This enables them to feel that they are themselves profound.
    Van Wyck Brooks

As against having beautiful workshops, studios, etc., one writes best in a cellar on a rainy day.
    Van Wyck Brooks

Better the fragrant herb of wit and a little cream of affability than all the pretty cups in the world.
    Van Wyck Brooks

Earnest people are often people who habitually look at the serious side of things that have no serious side.
    Van Wyck Brooks

Genius and virtue are to be more often found clothed in gray than in peacock bright.
    Van Wyck Brooks

If men were basically evil, who would bother to improve the world instead of giving it up as a bad job at the outset?
    Van Wyck Brooks

It is not that the French are not profound, but they all express themselves so well that we are led to take their geese for swans.
    Van Wyck Brooks

Magnanimous people have no vanity, they have no jealousy, and they feed on the true and the solid wherever they find it. And, what is more, they find it everywhere.
    Van Wyck Brooks

No man should ever publish a book until he has first read it to a woman.
    Van Wyck Brooks

No one is fit to judge a book until he has rounded Cape Horn in a sailing vessel, until he has bumped into two or three icebergs, until he has been lost in the sands of the desert, until he has spent a few years in the House of the Dead.
    Van Wyck Brooks

Nothing is sadder than having worldly standards without worldly means.
    Van Wyck Brooks

Nothing is so soothing to our self esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us.
    Van Wyck Brooks

People of small caliber are always carping. They are bent on showing their own superiority, their knowledge or prowess or good breeding.
    Van Wyck Brooks

The American mind, unlike the English, is not formed by books, but, as Carl Sandburg once said to me, by newspapers and the Bible.
    Van Wyck Brooks

The creative impulses of man are always at war with the possessive impulses.
    Van Wyck Brooks

What do you think?

1.5k Points
Upvote Downvote

Written by MoneyNet

MoneyNet is the team behind the research and fact-checking of our net worth listings. We strive to provide the most up-to-date listings of the wealthiest people in the world from a wide range of industries and professions. If you have a tip, or think that we have something factually incorrect, then please let us know. Aside from that, enjoy learning everything there is to know about the rich and famous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Dave Barry Quotes

Robert Browning Quotes