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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

George Meredith (1828–1909)

Short Citations

From the Novels

“HE gives good dinners,” a candid old critic said, when asked how it was that he could praise a certain poet. In an island of chills and fogs, the comic and other perceptions are dependent on the stirrings of the gastric juices.

The burlesque Irishman can’t be caricatured. Nature strained herself in a fit of absurdity to produce him, and all that art can do is to copy.

“We women are the verbs passive of the alliance. We have to learn, and if we take to activity with the best intentions, we conjugate a frightful disturbance.”

Real happiness is a state of dulness.

English women and men feel toward the quick-witted of their species as to aliens, having the demerits of aliens. A quick-witted woman exerting her wit is a foreigner and potentially a criminal.

Cynicism is intellectual dandyism without the coxcomb’s feathers.

Most of the people one has at a dinner-table are drums. A rub-a-dub-dub on them is the only way to get a sound. When they can be persuaded to do it upon one another, they call it conversation.

She was a lady of incisive features bound in stale parchment. Complexion she had none, but she had spotlessness of skin, and sons and daughters just resembling her, like cheaper editions of a precious quarto of a perished type.