C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Egotism is the tongue of vanity.


The egotist is next door to a fanatic.

Samuel Smiles.

The unfortunate are always egotistical.


The pest of society is egotists.


Love is an egotism of two.

Antoine de la Salle.

The egotism of woman is always for two.

Mme. de Staël.

It is never permissible to say, I say.

Mme. Necker.

Let the degree of egotism be the measure of confidence.


Avoid making yourself the subject of conversation.

La Bruyère.

And though all cry down self, none means his own self in a literal sense.


He who discommendeth others commendeth himself.

Sir T. Browne.

Be your character what it will, it will be known; and nobody will take it upon your word.


Discourse ought to be as a field, without coming home to any man.


Do you wish men to speak well of you? Then never speak well of yourself.


Here is the egotist’s code: everything for himself, nothing for others.


The more you speak of yourself, the more you are likely to lie.


We would rather speak ill of ourselves than not to talk of ourselves at all.

La Rochefoucauld.

Men are egotists, and not all tolerant of one man’s selfhood; they do not always deem the affinities elective.


The more anyone speaks of himself the less he likes to hear another talked of.


The personal pronoun “I” should be the coat of arms of some individuals.


Christian piety annihilates the egotism of the heart; worldly politeness veils and represses it.


To speak highly of one with whom we are intimate is a species of egotism. Our modesty as well as our jealousy teaches us caution on this subject.


There is a serious and resolute egotism that makes a man interesting to his friends and formidable to his opponents.


When all is summed up, a man never speaks of himself without loss; his accusations of himself are always believed, his praises never.


We often boast that we are never bored, but yet we are so conceited that we do not perceive how often we bore others.

La Rochefoucauld.

We never could clearly understand how it is that egotism, so unpopular in conversation, should be so popular in writing.


Seldom do we talk of ourselves with success. If I condemn myself, more is believed than is expressed; if I praise myself, much less.

Henry Home.

The reason why lovers are never weary of one another is this—they are always talking of themselves.

La Rochefoucauld.

What hypocrites we seem to be whenever we talk of ourselves! Our words sound so humble, while our hearts are so proud.


I shall never apologize to you for egotism. I think very few men writing to their friends have enough of it.

Sydney Smith.

If the egotist is weak, his egotism is worthless. If the egotist is strong, acute, full of distinctive character, his egotism is precious, and remains a possession of the race.

Alexander Smith.

Byron owed the vast influence which he exercised over his contemporaries at least as much to his gloomy egotism as to the real power of his poetry.


He who thinks he can find in himself the means of doing without others is much mistaken; but he who thinks that others cannot do without him is still more mistaken.

La Rochefoucauld.

It is natural to man to regard himself as the object of the creation, and to think of all things in relation to himself, and the degree in which they can serve and be useful to him.


It is a false principle that because we are entirely occupied with ourselves, we must equally occupy the thoughts of others. The contrary inference is the fair one.


The passages in which Milton has alluded to his own circumstances are perhaps read more frequently, and with more interest, than any other lines in his poems.


It is a hard and nice subject for a man to speak of himself: it grates his own heart to say anything of disparagement, and the reader’s ear to hear anything of praise from him.


An egotist will always speak of himself, either in praise or in censure, but a modest man ever shuns making himself the subject of his conversation.

La Bruyère.

Every man, like Narcissus, becomes enamored of the reflection of himself, only choosing a substance instead of a shadow. This love for any particular woman is self-love at second hand, vanity reflected, compound egotism.

Horace Smith.

All the walks of literature are infested with mendicants for fame, who attempt to excite our interest by exhibiting all the distortions of their intellects and stripping the covering from all the putrid sores of their feelings.


There is scarce any man who cannot persuade himself of his own merit. Has he common sense, he prefers it to genius; has he some diminutive virtues, he prefers them to great talents.


The awkwardness and embarrassment which all feel on beginning to write, when they themselves are the theme, ought to serve as a hint to authors that self is a subject they ought very rarely to descant upon.


Egotism is more like an offense than a crime; though it is allowable to speak of yourself, provided nothing is advanced in favor; but I cannot help suspecting that those who abuse themselves are, in reality, angling for approbation.


Only by the supernatural is a man strong—only by confiding in the divinity which stirs within us. Nothing is so weak as an egotist—nothing is mightier than we, when we are vehicles of a truth before which the state and the individual are alike ephemeral.


Five, or six, or ten people shall be made temporarily wretched because one person, unconsciously perhaps, yet supremely egotistic and selfish, has never learned to control his disposition and bridle his tongue.


Every real master of speaking or writing uses his personality as he would any other serviceable material; the very moment a speaker or writer begins to use it, not for his main purpose, but for vanity’s sake, as all weak people are sure to do, hearers and readers feel the difference in a moment.


We like so much to talk of ourselves that we are never weary of those private interviews with a lover during the course of whole years, and for the same reason the devout like to spend much time with their confessor; it is the pleasure of talking of themselves, even though it be to talk ill.

Mme. de Sévigné.

There are dull and bright, sacred and profane, coarse and fine egotists. It is a disease that, like influenza, falls on all constitutions. In the distemper known to physicians as chorea, the patient sometimes turns round, and continues to spin slowly in one spot. Is egotism a metaphysical varioloid of this malady?


Egotism erects its center in itself: love places it out of itself in the axis of the universal whole. Love aims at unity, egotism at solitude. Love is the citizen ruler of a flourishing republic, egotism is a despot an a devastated creation. Egotism sows for gratitude, love for the ungrateful. Love gives, egotism lends; and love does this before the throne of judicial truth, indifferent if for the enjoyment of the following moment, or with the view to a martyr’s crown—indifferent whether the reward is in this life or in the next.


Speech of a man’s self ought to be seldom and well chosen. I knew one was wont to say in scorn, “He must needs be a wise man, he speaks so much of himself.” There is but one case wherein a man may commend himself with good grace, and that is in commending virtue in another, especially if it be a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth.