Mary McCarthy Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Mary McCarthy Quotes

#1. What I really do is take real plums and put them in an imaginary cake. - Author: Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy Quotes #7069
#2. The erotic element always present in fashion, the kiss of loving labor on the body, is now overtly expressed by language. Belts hug or clasp; necklines plunge; jerseys bind. The word exciting tingles everywhere. - Author: Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy Quotes #8714
#3. Life is a system of recurrent pairs, the poison and the antidote being eternally packaged together by some considerate heavenly druggist. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#4. You know what my favourite quotation is? ... It's from Chaucer ... Criseyde says it, I am myne owene woman, wel at ese. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#5. In morals as in politics anarchy is not for the weak. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#6. As soon as you become a writer, you lose contact with ordinary experience or tend to ... the worst fate of a writer is to become a writer. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#7. If one means by style the voice, the irreducible and always recognizable and alive thing, then of course style is really everything. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#8. Illiteracy at the poverty level (mainly a matter of bad grammar) does not alarm me nearly as much as the illiteracy of the well-to-do. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#9. Whenever in history, equality appeared on the agenda, it was exported somewhere else, like an undesirable. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#10. Anti-Semitism is a horrible disease from which nobody is immune, and it has a kind of evil fascination that makes an enlightened person draw near the source of infection, supposedly in a scientific spirit, but really to sniff the vapors and dally with the possibility. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#11. Venice is the worlds unconscious: a misers glittering hoard, guarded by a Beast whose eyes are made of white agate, and by a saint who is really a prince who has just slain a dragon. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#12. Morality did not keep well; it required stable conditions; it was costly; it was subject to variations, and the market for it was uncertain. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#13. It came to me, as we sat there, glumly ordering lunch, that for extremely stupid people anti-Semitism was a form of intellectuality, the sole form of intellectuality of which they were capable. It represented, in a rudimentary way, the ability to make categories, to generalize. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#14. The suspense of a novel is not only in the reader, but in the novelist, who is intensely curious about what will happen to the hero. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#15. I once started a detective story to make money-but I couldn't get the murder to take place! At the end of three chapters I was still describing the characters and the milieu, so I thought, this is not going to work. No corpse! - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#16. We all live in suspense from day to day; in other words you are the hero of your own story. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#17. In science, all facts, no matter how trivial or banal, enjoy democratic equality. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#18. As subjects, we all live in suspense, from day to day, from hour to hour; in other words, we are the hero of our own story. We cannot believe that it is finished, that we are 'finished,' even though we may say so; we expect another chapter, another installment, tomorrow or next week. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#19. The exile is a singular, whereas refugees tend to be thought of in the mass ... What is implied in these nuances of social standing is the respect we pay to choice. The exile appears to have made a decision, while the refugee is the very image of helplessness. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#20. Proscription, martial law, the billeting of the rude troops, the tax collector, the unjust judge, anything at all, is sweeter than responsibility. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#21. She decided she wanted a cool, starchy independent life, with ruffles of humor like window curtains. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#22. The theater is the only branch of art much cared for by people of wealth; like canasta, it does away with the brother of talk after dinner. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#23. I am for the ones who represent sense, and so was Jane Austen. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#24. Laughter is the great antidote for self-pity, maybe a specific for the malady, yet probably it does tend to dry one's feelings out a little, as if by exposing them to a vigorous wind ... - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#25. Love of truth, ordinary common truth recognizable to everyone, is the ruling passion of the novel. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#26. Congress-these, for the most part, illiterate hacks whose fancy vests are spotted with gravy, and whose speeches, hypocritical, unctuous, and slovenly, are spotted also with the gravy of political patronage. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#27. The comic element is the incorrigible element in every human being; the capacity to learn, from experience or instruction, is what is forbidden to all comic creations and to what is comic in you and me. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#28. Our language, once homely and colloquial, seeks to aggrandize our meanest activities with polysyllabic terms or it retreats from frankness into a stammering verbosity. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#29. The Crucifixion and other historical precedents notwithstanding, many of us still believe that outstanding goodness is a kind of armor, that virtue, seen plain and bare, gives pause to criminality. But perhaps it is the other way around. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#30. I'm afraid I'm not sufficiently inhibited about the things that other women are inhibited about for me. They feel that you've given away trade secrets. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#31. One of the big features of living alone was that you could talk to yourself all you wanted and address imaginary audiences, running the gamut of emotion. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#32. The American character looks always as if it had just had a rather bad haircut, which gives it, in our eyes at any rate, a greater humanity than the European, which even among its beggars has an all too professional air. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#33. The horror of Gandhi's murder lies not in the political motives behind it or in its consequences for Indian policy or for the future of non-violence; the horror lies simply in the fact that any man could look into the face of this extraordinary person and deliberately pull a trigger. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#34. Venice, as a city, was a foundling, floating upon the waters like Moses in his basket among the bulrushes. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#35. Who are the advertising men kidding, besides the European tourist? Between the tired, sad, gentle faces of the subway riders and the grinning Holy Families of the Ad-Mass, there exists no possibility of even a wishful identification. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#36. Scratch a socialist and you find a snob. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#37. In moments of despair, we look on ourselves lead-enly as objects; we see ourselves, our lives, as someone else might see them and may even be driven to kill ourselves if the separation, the "knowledge," seems sufficiently final. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#38. I am putting real plums into an imaginary cake. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#39. It really takes a hero to live any kind of spiritual life without religious belief. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#40. Europe is the unfinished negative of which America is the proof. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#41. The perennial wonder of Venice is to peer at herself in her canals and find that she exists-incredible as it seems. It is the same reassurance that a looking-glass offers us: the guarantee that we are real. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#42. Luckily, I am writing a memoir and not a work of fiction, and therefore I do not have to account for my grandmother's unpleasing character and look for the Oedipal fixation or the traumatic experience which would give her that clinical authenticity that is nowadays so desirable in portraiture. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#43. The happy ending is our national belief. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#44. For self-realization, a rebel demands a strong authority, a worthy opponent, God to his Lucifer. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#45. The return to a favorite novel is generally tied up with changes in oneself that must be counted as improvements, but have the feel of losses. It is like going back to a favorite house, country, person; nothing is where it belongs, including one's heart. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#46. The present can try to bury the past, an operation that is most atrocious when it is most successful. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#47. Life for the European is a career; for the American it is a hazard. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#48. With extramarital courtship, the deception was prolonged where it had been ephemeral, necessary where it had been frivolous, conspiratorial where it had been lonely. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#49. Calling someone a monster does not make him more guilty; it makes him less so by classing him with beasts and devils. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#50. For both writer and reader, the novel is a lonely, physically inactive affair. Only the imagination races. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#51. He was never quite certain what he thought about anything until he had tested his opinion for seaworthiness in the course of some polemical storm. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#52. What's the use of falling in love if you both remain inertly as you were? - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#53. The only form of action open to a child is to break something or strike someone, its mother or another child; it cannot cause things to happen in the world. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#54. The rationalist mind has always had its doubts about Venice. The watery city receives a dry inspection, as though it were a myth for the credulous- poets and honeymooners. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#55. Is it really so difficult to tell a good action from a bad one? I think one usually knows right away or a moment afterward, in a horrid flash of regret. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#56. The consumer today is the victim of the manufacturer who launches on him a regiment of products for which he must make room in his soul. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#57. He was a thoroughly bad hat, then, but that was the kind, of course, that nice women broke their hearts over. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#58. This grossly advertised wonder [Venice], this gold idol with clay feet, this trompe-l'oeil, this painted deception, this cliche-what intelligent iconoclast could fail to experience a destructive impulse in her presence? - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#59. Feminism is ridiculous. Feminists are silly idealists who want to be on top. There is no real equality in sexual relationships - someone always wins. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#60. I suppose everyone continues to be interested in the quest for the self, but what you feel when you're older, I think, is that you really must make the self. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#61. The average Catholic perceives no connection between religion and morality, unless it is a question of someone else's morality. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#62. On the wall of our life together hung a gun waiting to be fired in the final act. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#63. All dramatic realism is somewhat sadistic; an audience is persuaded to watch something that makes it uncomfortable and from which no relief is offered - no laughter, no tears, no purgation. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#64. He would have been far more attractive to her if she could have trusted him. You could not love a man who was always playing hide-and-seek with you; that was the lesson she had learned. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#65. I really tried, or so I thought, to avoid lying, but it seemed to me that they forced it on me by the difference in their vision of things, so that I was always transposing reality for them into something they could understand. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#66. It is impossible, except for theologians, to conceive of a world-wide scandal or a universe-wide scandal; the proof of this is the way people have settled down to living with nuclear fission, radiation poisoning, hydrogen bombs, satellites, and space rockets. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#67. The fact is that gardening, more than most of our other activities except sometimes love-making, confronts us with the inexplicable. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#68. Making love, we are all more alike than we are when we are talking or acting. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#69. An unrectified case of injustice has a terrible way of lingering, restlessly, in the social atmosphere like an unfinished question. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#70. There are no new truths, but only truths that have not been recognized by those who have perceived them without noticing. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#71. Europeans used to say Americans were puritanical. Then they discovered that we were not puritans. So now they say that we are obsessed with sex. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#72. This is the spirit of the enchantment under which Venice lies, pearly and roseate, like the Sleeping Beauty, changeless throughout the centuries, arrested, while the concrete forest of the modern world grows up around her. - Author: Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy Quotes #1259614
#73. The labor of keeping house is labor in its most naked state, for labor is toil that never finishes, toil that has to be begun again the moment it is completed, toil that is destroyed and consumed by the life process. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#74. In violence we forget who we are. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#75. I was going to get myself recognized at any price. If I could not win fame by goodness, I was ready to do it by badness. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#76. The tourist Venice is Venice. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#77. All ideas advanced to deal with the Florentine noise problem, the Florentine traffic problem, are Utopian, and nobody believes in them, just as nobody believed in Machiavelli's Prince, a Utopian image of the ideally self-interested despot. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#78. A novelist is an elephant, but an elephant who must pretend to forget. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#79. A good deal of education consists of unlearning-the breaking of bad habits as with a tennis serve. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#80. She considered [her] life, which had not been a life but only a sort of greeting, a Hello There. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#81. The desire to believe the best of people is a prerequisite for intercourse with strangers; suspicion is reserved for friends. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#82. Most people did not care to be taught what they did not already know; it made them feel ignorant. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#83. The idea of Macbeth as a conscience-torm ented man is a platitude as false as Macbeth himself. Macbeth has no conscience. His main concern throughout the play is that most selfish of all concerns: to get a good night's sleep. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#84. Driving a car, you are in danger of killing; walking or standing, of being killed. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#85. Modern neurosis began with the discoveries of Copernicus. Science made men feel small by showing him that the earth was not the center of the universe. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#86. If you talked or laughed in church, told lies, had impure thoughts or conversations, you were bad; if you obeyed your parents or guardians, went to confession and communion regularly, said prayers for the dead, you were good. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#87. The passion for fact in a raw state is a peculiarity of the novelist. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#88. Once the state is looked upon as the source of rights, rather than their bound protector, freedom becomes conditional on the pleasure of the state. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#89. A politician or political thinker who calls himself a political realist is usually boasting that he sees politics, so to speak, in the raw; he is generally a proclaimed cynic and pessimist who makes it his business to look behind words and fine speeches for the motive. This motive is always low. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#90. A society person who is enthusiastic about modern painting or Truman Capote is already half a traitor to his class. It is middle-class people who, quite mistakenly, imagine that a lively pursuit of the latest in reading and painting will advance their status in the world. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#91. Like Michelangelo and Cellini, Florentines of every station are absorbed in acquiring real estate: a little apartment that can be rented to foreigners; a farm that will supply the owner with oil, wine, fruit, and flowers for the house. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#92. Elinor was always firmly convinced of other people's hypocrisy since she could not believe that they noticed less than she did. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#93. It has to be acknowledged that in capitalist society, with its herds of hippies, originality has become a sort of fringe benefit, a mere convention, accepted obsolescence, the Beatnik model being turned in for the Hippie model, as though strangely obedient to capitalist laws of marketing. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#94. My occupational hazard is that I can't help plagiarizing from real life. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#95. Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."
(on Lillian Hellman) - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#96. If you want to be your own master ... always be surprised by evil; never anticipate it. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#97. When an American heiress wants to buy a man, she at once crosses the Atlantic. The only really materialistic people I have ever met have been Europeans. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#98. Labor is work that leaves no trace behind it when it is finished, or if it does, as in the case of the tilled field, this product of human activity requires still more labor, incessant, tireless labor, to maintain its identity as a 'work' of man. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#99. The relation between life and literature - a final antimony - is one of mutual plagiarism. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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#100. Others are to us like the characters in fiction, eternal and incorrigible; the surprises they give us turn out in the end to have been predictable and unexpected variations on the theme of being themselves. - Author: Mary McCarthy
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