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


No man knows himself as an original.

Washington Allston.

They who have light in themselves will not revolve as satellites.


Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.


The originality of a subject is in its treatment.


What stories are new? All types of all characters march through all fables.


Great men are more distinguished by range and extent than by originality.


All thoughtful men are solitary and original in themselves.


The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity. The believing man is the original man; whatsoever he believes, he believes it for himself, not for another.


Great things cannot have escaped former observation.

Dr. Johnson.

Be the first to say what is self-evident, and you are immortal.

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

If you would create something, you must be something.


Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of.

John Stuart Mill.

Every man is an original and solitary character. None can either understand or feel the book of his own life like himself.


When Shakespeare is charged with debts to his authors, Landor replies: “Yes, he was more original than his originals.” He breathed upon dead bodies and brought them to life.


Those writers who lie on the watch for novelty can have little hope of greatness; for great things cannot have escaped former observation.


One couldn’t carry on life comfortably without a little blindness to the fact that everything has been said better than we can put it ourselves.

George Eliot.

People are always talking about originality; but what do they mean? As soon as we are born, the world begins to work upon us; and this goes on to the end. And after all, what can we call our own, except energy, strength, and will? If I could give an account of all that I owe to great predecessors and contemporaries, there would be but a small balance in my favor.


Millions of people are provided with their thoughts as with their clothes; authors, printers, booksellers, and newsmen stand, in relation to their minds, simply as shoemakers and tailors stand to their bodies.

G. A. Sala.

The little mind who loves itself will write and think with the vulgar; but the great mind will be bravely eccentric, and scorn the beaten road, from universal benevolence.


I would rather be the author of one original thought than conqueror of a hundred battles. Yet moral excellence is so much superior to intellectual, that I ought to esteem one virtue more valuable than a hundred original thoughts.

W. B. Clulow.

Men have their intellectual ancestry, and the likeness of some one of them is forever unexpectedly flashing out in the features of a descendant, it may be after a gap of several centuries. In the parliament of the present every man represents a constituency of the past.