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Max Eastman Quotes


An American writer on literature, politics and society; supporter of progressive causes who later transformed into a supporter of individual rights and opponent of socialism, and patron of the Harlem Renaissance.
(1883 - 1969)

A joke is not a thing but a process, a trick you play on the listener's mind. You start him off toward a plausible goal, and then by a sudden twist you land him nowhere at all or just where he didn't expect to go.
 

A liberal mind is a mind that is able to imagine itself believing anything.
 

A poet in history is divine, but a poet in the next room is a joke.
[Poets And Poetry]
 

A smile is the universal welcome.
 

Classic art was the art of necessity: modern romantic art bears the stamp of caprice and chance.
 

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.
[Dogs]
 

Emotion is the surest arbiter of a poetic choice, and it is the priest of all supreme unions in the mind.
[Emotion]
 

History is not an escalator.
[History]
 

Humor is the instinct for taking pain playfully.
[Events]
 

I don't know why it is we are in such a hurry to get up when we fall down. You might think we would lie there and rest for a while.
 

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.
 

It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor.
 

It seems obvious to me now - though I have been slow, I must say, in coming to the conclusion - that the institution of private property is one of the main things that have given man that limited amount of free-and-equalness that Marx hoped to render infinite by abolishing this institution. Strangely enouh Marx was the first to see this. He is the one who informed us, looking backward, that the evolution of private capitalism with its free market had been a precondition for the evolution of all our democratic freedoms. It never occurred to him, looking forward, that if this was so, these other freedoms might disappear with the abolition of the free market.
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Laughter is, after speech, the chief thing that holds society together.
[Laughter]
 

Laughter puts your brain, your central nervous system and your whole being into a state of free play.
[Laughter]
 

People who demand neutrality in any situation are usually not neutral but in favor of the status quo.
 

Robert Benchley has a style that is weak and lies down frequently to rest.
 

The defining function of the artist is to cherish consciousness.
 

The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them.
[Facts]