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Motivational Quotes by Edith Wharton (author of The Age of Innocence) on love, light, friendship, death and other things.

100 Motivational Quotes By Edith Wharton That Throw Light On The Beauty Of Life

Quick Facts

Famous As: Writer

Born On: January 24, 1862

Died On: August 11, 1937

Born In: New York City

Died At Age: 75

Author of ‘The Age of Innocence’ that earned her a Pulitzer Prize in 1920, Edith Wharton was a multi-talented figure of the early 20th century. An author, short story writer, novelist and designer, Wharton’s cutting edge was her work that was directed on the contemporary upper-class society - its qualms, norms and privileges. Born into one such family herself, she gave an inside view of America's privileged class from her first-hand experience. Wharton’s stories have an air of natural wit and humor to them. Written with a brilliant command over language, she gave an insight view of the social and psychological problems of the aristocratic New York society. Most of her stories revolved around the tragic heroes and heroines who were above-average intellectually and emotionally and wanted more out of life than mere luxuries. They challenged the social taboos at every step of their life but could not do much to bring in a social change or overcome the barriers of social convention. Being a member of the privileged class, most of Wharton’s works reflected her personal experiences, opinions and passions. The same can be said for her quotes too that give a new outlook to life and touch a wide variety of genres including humor, life, sadness, education, knowledge, class, faith and so on. Explore some of the top quotes by Edith Wharton.  

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There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that receives it.

Edith Wharton

Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.

Edith Wharton

My little old dog a heart-beat at my feet

Edith Wharton

Life is always either a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.

Edith Wharton

If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.

Edith Wharton

There are two ways of spreading light: to be The candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

Each time you happen to me all over again.

Edith Wharton

The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!

Edith Wharton

Ah, good conversation - there's nothing like it, is there? The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.

Edith Wharton

There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul.

Edith Wharton

I don't know if I should care for a man who made life easy; I should want someone who made it interesting.

Edith Wharton

We can't behave like people in novels, though, can we?

Edith Wharton

My little dog—a heartbeat at my feet.

Edith Wharton

She had no tolerance for scenes which were not of her own making.

Edith Wharton

In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.

Edith Wharton

Do you remember what you said to me once? That you could help me only by loving me? Well-you did love me for a moment; and it helped me. It has always helped me.

Edith Wharton

Genius is of small use to a woman who does not know how to do her hair.

Edith Wharton

What Lily craved was the darkness made by enfolding arms, the silence which is not solitude, but compassion holding its breath.

Edith Wharton

Silence may be as variously shaded as speech.

Edith Wharton

I swear I only want to hear about you, to know what you've been doing. It's a hundred years since we've met-it may be another hundred before we meet again.

Edith Wharton

She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.

Edith Wharton

The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like interarching searchlights.

Edith Wharton

Nothing is more perplexing to a man than the mental process of a woman who reasons her emotions.

Edith Wharton

It was easy enough to despise the world, but decidedly difficult to find any other habitable region.

Edith Wharton

His whole future seemed suddenly to be unrolled before him; and passing down its endless emptiness he saw the dwindling figure of a man to whom nothing was ever to happen.

Edith Wharton

And you'll sit beside me, and we'll look, not at visions, but at realities.

Edith Wharton

But after a moment a sense of waste and ruin overcame him. There they were, close together and safe and shut in; yet so chained to their separate destinies that they might as well been half the world apart.

Edith Wharton

They are all alike you know. They hold their tongues for years and you think you're safe, but when the opportunity comes they remember everything.

Edith Wharton

...though she had not had the strength to shake off the spell that bound her to him she had lost all spontaneity of feeling, and seemed to herself to be passively awaiting a fate she could not avert.

Edith Wharton

Everything may be labelled- but everybody is not.

Edith Wharton

Half the trouble in life is caused by pretending there isn't any.

Edith Wharton

To know when to be generous and when firm—that is wisdom.

Edith Wharton

He simply felt that if he could carry away the vision of the spot of earth she walked on, and the way the sky and sea enclosed it, the rest of the world might seem less empty.

Edith Wharton

...I have always lived on contrasts! To me the only death is monotony. Beware of monotony; it's the mother of all the deadly sins.

Edith Wharton

She gave so many reasons that I've forgotten them all.

Edith Wharton

I was just a screw or cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else.

Edith Wharton

I want to put my hand out and touch you. I want to do for you and care for you. I want to be there when you're sick and when you're lonesome.

Edith Wharton

It is so easy for a woman to become what the man she loves believes her to be

Edith Wharton

Don't you ever mind," she asked suddenly, "not being rich enough to buy all the books you want?

Edith Wharton

He knelt by the bed and bent over her, draining their last moment to its lees; and in the silence there passed between them the word which made all clear.

Edith Wharton

Women ought to be free - as free as we are,' he declared, making a discovery of which he was too irritated to measure the terrific consequences.

Edith Wharton

I shan't be lonely now. I was lonely; I was afraid. But the emptiness and the darkness are gone; when I turn back into myself now I'm like a child going at night into a room where there's always a light.

Edith Wharton

In every heart there should be one grief that is like a well in the desert.

Edith Wharton

Who's 'they'? Why don't you all get together and be 'they' yourselves?

Edith Wharton

...In the summer New York was the only place in which one could escape from New Yorkers...

Edith Wharton

It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes.

Edith Wharton

There's nothing grimmer than the tragedy that wears a comic mask.

Edith Wharton

The taste of the usual was like cinders in his mouth, and there were moments when he felt as if he were being buried alive under his future.

Edith Wharton

It's you who are telling me; opening my eyes to things I'd looked at so long that I'd ceased to see them.

Edith Wharton

You thought I was a lovelorn mistress and I was really just an expensive prostitute.

Edith Wharton

They belonged to that vast group of human automata who go through life without neglecting to perform a single one of the gestures executed by the surrounding puppets.

Edith Wharton

Why do we call all our generous ideas illusions, and the mean ones truths?

Edith Wharton

He had known the love that is fed on caresses and feeds them; but this passion that was closer than his bones was not to be superficially satisfied.

Edith Wharton

They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods.

Edith Wharton

The real alchemy consists in being able to turn gold back again into something else; and that's the secret that most of your friends have lost.

Edith Wharton

Everything about her was warm and soft and scented; even the stains of her grief became her as raindrops do the beaten rose.

Edith Wharton

And all the while, I suppose," he thought, "real people were living somewhere, and real things happening to them ...

Edith Wharton

I can't love you unless I give you up.

Edith Wharton

There was no use in trying to emancipate a wife who had not the dimmest notion that she was not free.

Edith Wharton

Don't they always go from bad to worse? There's no turning back--your old self rejects you, and shuts you out. ~Lilly Bart

Edith Wharton

The only way to not think about money is to have a great deal of it." You might as well say that the only way not to think about air is to have enough to breathe.

Edith Wharton

Her mind was an hotel where facts came and went like transient lodgers, without leaving their address behind, and frequently without paying for their board.

Edith Wharton

It is less mortifying to believe one's self unpopular than insignificant, and vanity prefers to assume that indifference is a latent form of unfriendliness.

Edith Wharton

What a shame it is for a nation to be developing without a sense of beauty, and eating bananas for breakfast.

Edith Wharton

True originality consists not in a new manner, but in a new vision.

Edith Wharton

We live in our own souls as in an unmapped region, a few acres of which we have cleared for our habitation; while of the nature of those nearest us we know but the boundaries that march with ours.

Edith Wharton

Poetry and art are the breath of life to her.

Edith Wharton

...It was one of the great livery-stableman's most masterly intuitions to have discovered that Americans want to get away from amusement even more quickly than they want to get to it.

Edith Wharton

How I hate everything!

Edith Wharton

...and wondering where he had read that clever liars give details, but that the cleverest do not.

Edith Wharton

He had a confused sense that she must have cost a great deal to make, that a great many dull and ugly people must, in some mysterious way, have been sacrificed to produce her.

Edith Wharton

She had taken everything else from him, and now she meant to take the one thing that made up for it all.

Edith Wharton

Yes, you have been away a very long time.' 'Oh, centuries and centuries; so long,' she said, 'that I'm sure I'm dead and buried and this dear old place is heaven.

Edith Wharton

Every house is a mad-house at some time or another.

Edith Wharton

He had to deal all at once with the packed regrets and stifled dreams of an inarticulate lifetime.

Edith Wharton

Her whole being dilated in an atmosphere of luxury. It was the background she required, the only climate she could breathe in.

Edith Wharton

Then stay with me a little longer,' Madame Olenska said in a low tone, just touching his knee with her plumed fan. It was the lightest touch, but it thrilled him like a caress.

Edith Wharton

Her failure was a useful preliminary to success.

Edith Wharton

It was too late for happiness - but not too late to be helped by the thought of what I had missed. That is all I haved lived on - don't take it from me now

Edith Wharton

A smiling, bantering, humouring, watchful and incessant lie. A lie by day, a lie by night, a lie in every touch and every look; a lie in every caress and every quarrel; a lie in every word and in every silence.

Edith Wharton

Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.

Edith Wharton

But marriage is one long sacrifice.... Chapter 21, Medora Manson speaking to Newland Archer

Edith Wharton

Little as she was addicted to solitude, there had come to be moments when it seemed a welcome escape from the empty noises of her life.

Edith Wharton

No insect hangs its nest on threads as frail as those which will sustain the weight of human vanity

Edith Wharton

Does no one want to know the truth here, Mr. Archer? The real loneliness is living among all these kind of people who only ask one to pretend!

Edith Wharton

We shall hurt others less. Isn't it, after all, what you always wanted?

Edith Wharton

A frivolous society can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys.

Edith Wharton

They stood together in the gloom of the spruces, an empty world glimmering about them wide and gray under the stars

Edith Wharton

I discovered early that crying makes my nose red, and the knowledge has helped me through several painful episodes.

Edith Wharton

To have you here, you mean-in reach and yet out of reach? To meet you in this way, on the sly? It's the very reverse of what I want.

Edith Wharton

He had her in his arms, her face like a wet flower at his lips, and all their vain terrors shriveling up like ghosts at sunrise.

Edith Wharton

..but it seemed to him that the tie between husband and wife, if breakable in prosperity, should be indissoluble in misfortune.

Edith Wharton

Archer had always been inclined to think that chance and circumstance played a small part in shaping people's lots compared with their innate tendency to have things happen to them.

Edith Wharton

Most timidities have such secret compensations and Miss Bart was discerning enough to know that the inner vanity is generally in proportion to the outer self depreciation.

Edith Wharton

...he arrived late at the office, perceived that his doing so made no difference whatever to any one, and was filled with sudden exasperation at the elaborate futility of his life

Edith Wharton

I felt there was no one as kind as you; no one who gave me reasons that I understood for doing what at first seemed so hard and--unnecessary.

Edith Wharton

It seems stupid to have discovered America only to make it into a copy of another country.

Edith Wharton

The boy was not insensitive, he knew; but he had the facility and self-confidence that came of looking at fate not as a master but as an equal.

Edith Wharton

One of the surprises of her unoccupied state was the discovery that time, when it is left to itself and no definite demands are made on it, cannot be trusted to move at any recognized pace

Edith Wharton

One of the great things about travel is you find out how many good, kind people there are.

Edith Wharton