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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. Wikipedia

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]

„The economic needs of a violently centralizing society forced the empire to enlarge its slave-system until the slave-system consumed itself and the empire too, leaving society no resource but further enlargement of its religious system in order to compensate for the losses and horrors of the failure.“

—  Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams (1907)
Kontext: p>The result might have been stated in a mathematical formula as early as the time of Archimedes, six hundred years before Rome fell. The economic needs of a violently centralizing society forced the empire to enlarge its slave-system until the slave-system consumed itself and the empire too, leaving society no resource but further enlargement of its religious system in order to compensate for the losses and horrors of the failure. For a vicious circle, its mathematical completeness approached perfection. The dynamic law of attraction and reaction needed only a Newton to fix it in algebraic form.At last, in 410, Alaric sacked Rome, and the slave-ridden, agricultural, uncommercial Western Empire — the poorer and less Christianized half — went to pieces. </p

„In the same way he wills that his creation shall develop itself in time and space and sequence, but he creates these conditions as well as the events. He creates the whole, in one act, complete, unchangeable, and it is then unfolded like a rolling panorama with its predetermined contingencies.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Creation was not successive; it was one instantaneous thought and act, identical with the will, and was complete and unchangeabble from end to end, including time as one of its functions. Thomas was as clear as possible on that point:— "Supposing God wills anything in effect, he cannot will not to will it, because his will cannot change." He wills that some things shall be contingent and others necessary, but he wills in the same act that the contingency shall be necessary. "They are contingent because God has willed them to be so, and with this object has subjected them to causes which are so." In the same way he wills that his creation shall develop itself in time and space and sequence, but he creates these conditions as well as the events. He creates the whole, in one act, complete, unchangeable, and it is then unfolded like a rolling panorama with its predetermined contingencies.Man's free choice — liberum arbitrium — falls easily into place as a predetermined contingency. God is the First Cause, and acts in all Secondary Causes directly; but while he acts mechanically on the rest of creation,— as far as is known,— he acts freely at one point, and this free action remains free as far as it extends on that line. Man's freedom derives from this source, but it is simply apparent, as far as he is a cause; it is a [... ] Reflex Action of the complicated mirror [... ] called Mind, and [... ] an illusion arising from the extreme delicacy of the machine.

„We do not, and never can, know the twelfth-century woman, or, for that matter, any other woman“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Eleanor and her daughter Mary and her granddaughter Blanche knew as well as Saint Bernard did, or Saint Francis, what a brute the emancipated man could be; and as though they foresaw the society of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, they used every terror they could invent as well as every tenderness they could invoke, to tame the beasts around them. Their charge was of manners, and to teach manners, they made a school which they called their Court of Love, with a code of law to which they gave the name of "courteous love". The decisions of this Court were recorded, like the decisions of a modern Bench, under the names of the great ladies who made them, and were enforced by the ladies of good society for whose guidance they were made. They are worth reading, and anyone who likes may read them to this day, with considerable scepticism about their genuineness. The doubt is only ignorance. We do not, and never can, know the twelfth-century woman, or, for that matter, any other woman, but we do know the literature she created; we know the art she lived in, and the religion she professed. We can collect from them some idea why the Virgin Mary ruled, and what she was taken to be, by the world which worshipped her.

„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

„One of these men was Clarence King on his way up to the camp. Adams fell into his arms. As with most friendships, it was never a matter of growth or doubt. Friends are born in archaic horizons; they were shaped with the Pteraspis in Siluria; they have nothing to do with the accident of space.“

—  Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams (1907)
Kontext: One of these men was Clarence King on his way up to the camp. Adams fell into his arms. As with most friendships, it was never a matter of growth or doubt. Friends are born in archaic horizons; they were shaped with the Pteraspis in Siluria; they have nothing to do with the accident of space. King had come up that day from Greeley in a light four-wheeled buggy, over a trail hardly fit for a commissariat mule, as Adams had reason to know since he went back in the buggy. In the cabin, luxury provided a room and one bed for guests. They shared the room and the bed, and talked till far towards dawn.

„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.“

—  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

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„Truth, indeed, may not exist; science avers it to be only a relation; but what men took for truth stares one everywhere in the eye and begs for sympathy.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: The pathetic interest of the drama deepens with every new expression, but at least you can learn from it that your parents in the nineteenth century were not to blame for losing the sense of unity in art. As early as the fourteenth century, signs of unsteadiness appeared, and, before the eighteenth century, unity became only a reminiscence. The old habit of centralising a strain at one point, and then dividing and subdividing it, and distributing it on visible lines of support to a visible foundation, disappeared in architecture soon after 1500, but lingered in theology two centuries longer, and even, in very old-fashioned communities, far down to our own time; but its values were forgotten, and it survived chiefly as a stock jest against the clergy. The passage between the two epochs is as beautiful as the Slave of Michael Angelo; but, to feel its beauty, you should see it from above, as it came from its radiant source. Truth, indeed, may not exist; science avers it to be only a relation; but what men took for truth stares one everywhere in the eye and begs for sympathy.

„The Church alone was universal patron“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: The wood-carving, the glass windows, the sculpture, inside and out, were done mostly in workshops on the spot, but besides these fixed objects, precious works of the highest perfection filled the church treasuries. Their money-value was great then; it is greater now. No world's-fair is likely to do better today. After five hundred years of spoliation, these objects fill museums still, and are bought with avidity at every auction [.... ] Royalty and feudality spent their money rather on arms and clothes. The Church alone was universal patron, and the Virgin was the dictator of taste.

„Theist or atheist, monist or anarchist must all admit that society and science are equally interested with theology in deciding whether the Universe is one or many, a harmony or a discord.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: p>Where, then,— in what mysterious cave outside of creation — could Man, and his free-will, and his private world of responsibilities and duties, lie hidden? Unless Man was a free agent in a world of his own beyond constraint, the Church was a fraud, and it helped little to add that the State was another. If God was the sole and immediate cause and support of everything in his creation, God was also the cause of its defects, and could not,— being Justice and Goodness in essence,—hold Man responsible for his own omissions. Still less could the State or Church do it in his name.Whatever truth lies in the charge that the schools discussed futile questions by faulty methods, one cannot decently deny that in this case the question was practical and the method vital. Theist or atheist, monist or anarchist must all admit that society and science are equally interested with theology in deciding whether the Universe is one or many, a harmony or a discord. The Church and State asserted that it was a harmony, and that they were its representatives. They say so still. Their claim led to singular but unavoidable conclusions, with which society has struggled for seven hundred years, and is still struggling.</p

„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

The Education of Henry Adams (1907)
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.

„Their claim led to singular but unavoidable conclusions, with which society has struggled for seven hundred years, and is still struggling.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: p>Where, then,— in what mysterious cave outside of creation — could Man, and his free-will, and his private world of responsibilities and duties, lie hidden? Unless Man was a free agent in a world of his own beyond constraint, the Church was a fraud, and it helped little to add that the State was another. If God was the sole and immediate cause and support of everything in his creation, God was also the cause of its defects, and could not,— being Justice and Goodness in essence,—hold Man responsible for his own omissions. Still less could the State or Church do it in his name.Whatever truth lies in the charge that the schools discussed futile questions by faulty methods, one cannot decently deny that in this case the question was practical and the method vital. Theist or atheist, monist or anarchist must all admit that society and science are equally interested with theology in deciding whether the Universe is one or many, a harmony or a discord. The Church and State asserted that it was a harmony, and that they were its representatives. They say so still. Their claim led to singular but unavoidable conclusions, with which society has struggled for seven hundred years, and is still struggling.</p

„Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts“

—  Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams (1907)
Kontext: Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts, and all Roosevelt's friends know that his restless and combative energy was more than abnormal.

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

—  Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams (1907)
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.

„Among all the imagery of these three door-ways, there is no hint of fear, punishment or damnation, and this is the note of the whole time. Before 1200, the Church seems not to have felt the need of appealing habitually to terror; the promise of hope and happiness was enough.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: First comes the central door-way, and above it is the glory of Christ, as the church at Chartres understood Christ in the year 1150; for the glories of Christ were many, and the Chartres Christ is one. Whatever Christ may have been at other churches, here, on this portal, he offers himself to his flock as the herald of salvation alone. Among all the imagery of these three door-ways, there is no hint of fear, punishment or damnation, and this is the note of the whole time. Before 1200, the Church seems not to have felt the need of appealing habitually to terror; the promise of hope and happiness was enough.

„Science affirmed that choice was not free,— could not be free,— without abandoning the unity of force and the foundation of law. Society insisted that its choice must be left free, whatever became of science or unity.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Experience proved that man's power of choice in action was very far from absolute, and logic seemed to require that every choice should have some predetermining cause which decided the will to act. Science affirmed that choice was not free,— could not be free,— without abandoning the unity of force and the foundation of law. Society insisted that its choice must be left free, whatever became of science or unity. Saint Thomas was required to illustrate the theory of liberum arbitrium by choosing a path through these difficulies, where path there was obviously none.

„We never despised the world or its opinions, we only failed to find out its existence.“

—  Henry Adams

Letter to Elizabeth Cameron (13 May 1905), in Worthington C. Ford ed., Letters of Henry Adams, Volume 2: 1892–1918 (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1938), p. 451
Kontext: We never despised the world or its opinions, we only failed to find out its existence. The world, if it exists, feels exactly in the same way towards us, and cares not one straw whether we exist or not. Philosophy has never got beyond this point. There are but two schools: one turns the world onto me; the other turns me onto the world; and the result is the same. The so-called me is a very, very small and foolish puppy-dog, but it is all that exists, and it tries all its life to get a little bigger by enlarging its energies, and getting dollars or getting friends.

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

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