Women's Wit and Wisdom: A Book of Quotations (Dover Thrift Editions)

by Various

Paperback, 2000




Dover Publications (2000), 80 pages


Over 400 memorable quotes, uttered over the last 2,500 years by Sappho, Queen Elizabeth I, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Erma Bombeck, Oprah Winfrey, and many other historical figures and personalities. Covers love, family, human nature, aging, work, joy, sorrow, more. Indispensable for public speakers; a delight for general readers.


(16 ratings; 3.3)

User reviews

LibraryThing member varwenea
When I first spotted this book at the book store, I thought, “hey cool, an entire book of women’s quotes.” And then I spotted a book of quotes by Mark Twain and another book by Oscar Wilde. Why does it take an entire gender to fill one book but only one man to fill another? A sad indication
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of this gender’s lack of opportunity to speak and to be heard. From Jane Austin, Persuasion, “Men had had every advantage of us in tell their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands.” Powerful thought – from 1818. I applaud this book for providing quotes from the earlier days highlighting such strong female thinkers. I also now have some authors to seek out – George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans), Sara Teasdale, and Christina Rossetti.

The book provided quotes divided into many subjects. Here are some of my favorites:

On Women:
“A woman will always have to be better than a man in any job she undertakes.”
Eleanor Roosevelt 1884-1962; My Day (11/29/45)

On Men – frankly anybody! :
“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.”
George Eliot [Mary Ann Evans] 1819-1880; Theophrastus Such (1878)

On Love:
“Never think she loves wholly,
Never believe her love is blind,
All his faults are locked securely
In a closet of her mind.”
Sara Teasdale 1884-1933; “Appraisal,” Dark of the Moon (1926)

On Human Nature:
“When anger spreads through the breast, guard thy tongue from barking idly.”
Sappho c.610-635 B.C.; untitled fragment in Amelia Gere Mason, Women in the Golden Age (1901)

On Friendship – we all have secrets that we hide from even the closest of friends:
“Each had his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart; and his friends could only read the title.”
Virginia Woolf 1882-1941; Jacob’s Room (1922)

On Aging:
“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”
Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach 1830-1916; Aphorism (1905)

On Life:
“Life is a frail moth flying
Caught in the web of the years that pass.”
Sara Teasdale 1884-1933; “Come,” Rivers to the Sea (1915)

On Death:
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
Sylvia Plath 1932-1963; “Lady Lazarus” (1960)

On Truth:
“…the truth is the hardest missile one can be pelted with.”
George Eliot [Mary Ann Evans] 1819-1880; Middlemarch (1871-2)

On Success (and Failure):
“Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.”
George Eliot [Mary Ann Evans] 1819-1880; Middlemarch (1871-2)

On Work and Occupations – and we still have long, long ways to go to be equal:
“Every woman who vacates a place in the teachers’ ranks and enters an unusual line of work, does two excellent things: she makes room for someone waiting for a place and helps to open a new vocation for herself and other women.”

On Joy and Sorrow – and sorrow comes in many different flavors, the first of any kind, even second and third, feels as though the insides have died a thousand deaths:
“There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.”
George Eliot [Mary Ann Evans] 1819-1880; Adam Bede (1859)

On Writing – I laughed at the last part (don’t know if it’s true) – so much for the “Song of the Open Road”
“Write about winter in the summer. Describe Norway as Ibsen did, from a desk in Italy; describe Dublin as James Joyce did, from a desk in Paris. Willa Cather wrote her prairie novels in New York City; Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn in Hartford, Connecticut. Recently, scholars learned that Walt Whitman rarely left his room.”
Annie Dillard b. 1945; The Writing Life (1989)
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
This collection of quotations is divided into subject categories, which helps put things in context a bit. Some favorites:

*"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." (Lucille Ball)

*"Personality is more important than beauty, but imagination is more
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important than both of them." (Laurette Taylor, on actors)

*"If you rest, you rust." (Helen Hayes)

*"Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work." (Bette Davis)
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

80 p.; 5.12 inches


0486411230 / 9780486411231


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