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Henry Adams

Datum narození: 16. únor 1838
Datum úmrtí: 27. březen 1918
Další jména: 亨利·亞當斯, Henry Brooks Adams

Henry Adams byl americký spisovatel-romanopisec, historik, esejista a tvůrce vícerých životopisných děl.

Narodil se ve významné americké rodině Adamsových, která byla známa díky své politické angažovanosti. Jeho praděd John Adams byl 2. prezidentem USA, jeho děd byl John Quincy Adams, což byl 6. prezident USA. Místo toho, aby využil rodinné konexe a vliv, začal se věnovat literatuře.

Působil jako profesor evropských a amerických dějin na Harvardově univerzitě v letech 1870–1877, přispíval do North American Revue. Později se věnoval cestování, literatuře a vědě. Ve svých dílech se kriticky zamýšlel nad současným světem a nad jeho budoucím vývojem. Jeho díla přinášejí svědectví o změně amerického smýšlení, které se od náboženského základu přesouvá ke konfrontaci s novými společenskými problémy. Pro mnohé studie se stal literárním vzorem a zdrojem.

Díla

„Morálka je soukromý a nákladný luxus.“

—  Henry Adams, kniha The Education of Henry Adams

Originál: (en) Morality is a private and costly luxury.
Zdroj: [Adams, Henry, 1961, The Education of Henry Adams, Forgotten Books, 271, angličtina]

„Among other general rules he laid down the paradox that, in the social disequilibrium between capital and labor, the logical outcome was not collectivism, but anarchism; and Henry made note of it for study.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: Loving paradox, Brooks, with the advantages of ten years' study, had swept away much rubbish in the effort to build up a new line of thought for himself, but he found that no paradox compared with that of daily events. The facts were constantly outrunning his thoughts. The instability was greater than he calculated; the speed of acceleration passed bounds. Among other general rules he laid down the paradox that, in the social disequilibrium between capital and labor, the logical outcome was not collectivism, but anarchism; and Henry made note of it for study.

„God, as Descartes justly said, we know! but what is man?“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: God, as Descartes justly said, we know! but what is man? The schools answered:— Man is a rational animal! So was apparently a dog, or a bee, or a beaver, none of which seemed to need churches. Modern science, with infinite effort, has discovered and announced that man is a bewildering complex of energies, which helps little to explain his relations with the ultimate Substance or Energy or Prime Motor whose existence both Science and Schoolmen admit; which Science studies in laboratories and Religion worships in churches. The Man whom God created to fill his Church, must be an energy independent of God; otherwise God filled his own Church with his own energy.

„You can read out of it whatever else pleases your youth and confidence; to me, this is all.“

—  Henry Adams

The closing lines of the book. In a letter to William James (17 February 1908), Adams wrote with customary self-deprecation: "If you will read my Chartres,— the last chapter is the only thing I ever wrote that I almost think good." (J. C. Levinson et al. eds., The Letters of Henry Adams, Volume VI: 1906–1918. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1988, p. 121)
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: p>Granted a Church, Saint Thomas's Church was the most expressive that man has made, and the great gothic Cathedrals were its most complete expression.Perhaps the best proof of it is their apparent instability. Of all the elaborate symbolism which has been suggested for the gothic Cathedral, the most vital and most perfect may be that the slender nervure, the springing motion of the broken arch, the leap downwards of the flying buttress,— the visible effort to throw off a visible strain,— never let us forget that Faith alone supports it, and that, if Faith fails, Heaven is lost. The equilibrium is visibly delicate beyond the line of safety; danger lurks in every stone. The peril of the heavy tower, of the restless vault, of the vagrant buttress; the uncertainty of logic, the inequalities of the syllogism, the irregularities of the mental mirror,— all these haunting nightmares of the Church are expressed as strongly by the gothic Cathedral as though it had been the cry of human suffering, and as no emotion had ever been expressed before or is likely to find expression again. The delight of its aspirations is flung up to the sky. The pathos of its self-distrust and anguish of doubt, is buried in the earth as its last secret. You can read out of it whatever else pleases your youth and confidence; to me, this is all.</p

„The proper study of mankind is woman“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: p>The twelfth and thirteenth centuries, studied in the pure light of political economy, are insane. The scientific mind is atrophied, and suffers under inherited cerebral weakness, when it comes in contact with the eternal woman,— Astarte, Isis, Demeter, Aphrodite, and the last and greatest deity of all, the Virgin. Very rarely one lingers, with a mild sympathy, such as suits the patient student of human error, willing to be interested in what he cannot understand. Still more rarely, owing to some revival of archaic instincts, he rediscovers the woman. This is perhaps the mark of the artist alone, and his solitary privilege. The rest of us cannot feel; we can only study. The proper study of mankind is woman, and, by common agreement since the time of Adam, it is the most complex and arduous. The study of Our Lady, as shown by the art of Chartres, leads directly back to Eve, and lays bare the whole subject of sex.If it were worthwhile to argue a paradox, one might maintain that nature regards the female as the essential, the male as the superfluity of her world.</p

„As educator, Jean Jacques was, in one respect, easily first; he erected a monument of warning against the Ego.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: As educator, Jean Jacques was, in one respect, easily first; he erected a monument of warning against the Ego. Since his time, and largely thanks to him, the Ego has steadily tended to efface itself, and, for purposes of model, to become a manikin on which the toilet of education is to be draped in order to show the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garment, not the figure. The tailor adapts the manikin as well as the clothes to his patron's wants. The tailor's object, in this volume, is to fit young men, in universities or elsewhere, to be men of the world, equipped for any emergency; and the garment offered to them is meant to show the faults of the patchwork fitted on their fathers.

„The effort is as evident and quite as laborious in modern science, starting as it does from multiplicity, as in Thomas Aquinas who started from unity, and it is necessarily less successful, for its true aims as far as it is Science and not disguised Religion, were equally attained by reaching infinite complexity; but the assertion or assumption of ultimate unity has characterised the Law of Energy as emphatically as it has characterised the definition of God in Theology. If it is a reproach to Saint Thomas, it is equally a reproach to Clerk-Maxwell. In truth it is what most men admire in both — the power of broad and lofty generalisation.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: ... the quality that arouses most surprise in Thomism is its astonishingly scientific method. [... ] Avowedly science has aimed at nothing but the reduction of multiplicity to unity, and has excommunicated, as though it were itself a Church, anyone who doubted or disputed its object, its method, or its results. The effort is as evident and quite as laborious in modern science, starting as it does from multiplicity, as in Thomas Aquinas who started from unity, and it is necessarily less successful, for its true aims as far as it is Science and not disguised Religion, were equally attained by reaching infinite complexity; but the assertion or assumption of ultimate unity has characterised the Law of Energy as emphatically as it has characterised the definition of God in Theology. If it is a reproach to Saint Thomas, it is equally a reproach to Clerk-Maxwell. In truth it is what most men admire in both — the power of broad and lofty generalisation.

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„At best, the renewal of broken relations is a nervous matter,“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: As was sure, sooner or later, to happen, Adams one day met Charles Sumner on the street, and instantly stopped to greet him. As though eight years of broken ties were the natural course of friendship, Sumner at once, after an exclamation of surprise, dropped back into the relation of hero to the school boy. Adams enjoyed accepting it. He was then thirty years old and Sumner was fifty-seven; he had seen more of the world than Sumner ever dreamed of, and he felt a sort of amused curiosity to be treated once more as a child. At best, the renewal of broken relations is a nervous matter, and in this case it bristled with thorns.

„At the same time we had best try, as innocently as may be, to realise that no final judgement has yet been pronounced, either by the Church or by Society or by Science, on either or any of these points; and until mankind finally settles to a certainty where it means to go, or whether it means to go anywhere,— what its object is, or whether it has an object,— Saint Francis may still prove to have been its ultimate expression. In that case, his famous Chant,— the Cantico del Sole,— will be the last word of religion, as it was probably its first.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: The schoolmen saw their duty in one direction; Francis saw his in another; and [... ] the two paths seem to be the only roads that can exist, if man starts by taking for granted that there is an object to be reached at the end of his journey. The Church embracing all mankind, had no choice but to march with caution, seeking God by every possible means of intellect and study. Francis, acting only for himself, could throw caution aside and trust implicitly in God [.... ] He carried to its last point the mystical Union wth God, and its necessary consequence of contempt and hatred of human intellectual processes. Even Saint Bernard would have thought his ideas wanting in that mesure which the French mind so much prizes. At the same time we had best try, as innocently as may be, to realise that no final judgement has yet been pronounced, either by the Church or by Society or by Science, on either or any of these points; and until mankind finally settles to a certainty where it means to go, or whether it means to go anywhere,— what its object is, or whether it has an object,— Saint Francis may still prove to have been its ultimate expression. In that case, his famous Chant,— the Cantico del Sole,— will be the last word of religion, as it was probably its first.

„The Abbey was the highest administrative creation of the middle ages.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Every ounce of food must be brought from the mainland, or fished from the sea. All the tenants and their farms, their rents and contributions, must be looked after. No secular prince had a more serious task of administration, and none did it so well. Tenants always preferred an Abbot or Bishop for landlord. The Abbey was the highest administrative creation of the middle ages.

„An economic civilisation troubles itself about the universe much as a hive of honey-bees troubles about the ocean, only as a region to be avoided. The hive of Saint Thomas sheltered God and Man, Mind and Matter, The Universe and the Atom, the One and the Multiple, within the walls of a harmonious home.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Saint Thomas is still alive and overshadows as many schools as he ever did; at all events as many as the Church maintains. He has outlived Descartes and Leibnitz and a dozen other schools of philosophy more or less serious in their day. He has mostly outived Hume, Voltaire and the militant sceptics. His method is typical and classic; his sentences, when interpreted by the Church, seem, even to an untrained mind, intelligible and consistent; his Church Intellectual remains practically unchanged, and, like the Cathedral of Beauvais, erect although the storms of six or seven centuries have prostrated, over and over again, every other social or political or juristic shelter. Compared with it, all modern systems are complex and chaotic, crowded with self-contradictions, anomalies, impracticable functions and out-worn inheritances; but beyond all their practical shortcomings is their fragmentary character. An economic civilisation troubles itself about the universe much as a hive of honey-bees troubles about the ocean, only as a region to be avoided. The hive of Saint Thomas sheltered God and Man, Mind and Matter, The Universe and the Atom, the One and the Multiple, within the walls of a harmonious home.

„What one knows is, in youth, of little moment; they know enough who know how to learn.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: ... education should try to lessen the obstacles, diminish the friction, invigorate the energy, and should train minds to react, not at haphazard, but by choice, on the lines of force that attract their world. What one knows is, in youth, of little moment; they know enough who know how to learn. Throughout human history the waste of mind has been appalling, and, as this story is meant to show, society has conspired to promote it. No doubt the teacher is the worst criminal, but the world stands behind him and drags the student from his course. The moral is stentorian. Only the most energetic, the most highly fitted, and the most favored have overcome the friction or the viscosity of inertia, and these were compelled to waste three-fourths of their energy in doing it.

„It's always the good men who do the most harm in the world.“

—  Henry Adams

As quoted in American Heritage (December 1955), p. 44
Kontext: I disagree with my brother Charles and Theodore Roosevelt. I think that Lee should have been hanged. It was all the worse that he was a good man and a fine character and acted conscientiously. These facts have nothing to do with the case and should not have been allowed to interfere with just penalties. It's always the good men who do the most harm in the world.

„Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.

„That, two thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, a man like Grant should be called — and should actually and truly be — the highest product of the most advanced evolution, made evolution ludicrous. One must be as commonplace as Grant's own commonplaces to maintain such an absurdity. The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: What worried Adams was not the commonplace; it was, as usual, his own education. Grant fretted and irritated him, like the Terebratula, as a defiance of first principles. He had no right to exist. He should have been extinct for ages. The idea that, as society grew older, it grew one-sided, upset evolution, and made of education a fraud. That, two thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, a man like Grant should be called — and should actually and truly be — the highest product of the most advanced evolution, made evolution ludicrous. One must be as commonplace as Grant's own commonplaces to maintain such an absurdity. The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.

„No man, however strong, can serve ten years as schoolmaster, priest, or Senator, and remain fit for anything else.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: No man, however strong, can serve ten years as schoolmaster, priest, or Senator, and remain fit for anything else. All the dogmatic stations in life have the effect of fixing a certain stiffness of attitude forever, as though they mesmerised the subject.

„At the rate of progress since 1800, every American who lived into the year 2000 would know how to control unlimited power. He would think in complexities unimaginable to an earlier mind. He would deal with problems altogether beyond the range of earlier society. To him the nineteenth century would stand on the same plane with the fourth — equally childlike — and he would only wonder how both of them, knowing so little, and so weak in force, should have done so much.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: For this new creation, born since 1900, a historian asked no longer to be teacher or even friend; he asked only to be a pupil, and promised to be docile, for once, even though trodden under foot; for he could see that the new American — the child of incalculable coal-power, chemical power, electric power, and radiating energy, as well as of new forces yet undetermined — must be a sort of God compared with any former creation of nature. At the rate of progress since 1800, every American who lived into the year 2000 would know how to control unlimited power. He would think in complexities unimaginable to an earlier mind. He would deal with problems altogether beyond the range of earlier society. To him the nineteenth century would stand on the same plane with the fourth — equally childlike — and he would only wonder how both of them, knowing so little, and so weak in force, should have done so much.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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