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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


HUMAN NATURE


Clemens at Onteora, 1890
courtesy of
Dave Thomson

Human nature cannot be studied in cities except at a disadvantage--a village is the place. There you can know your man inside and out--in a city you but know his crust; and his crust is usually a lie.
- Notebook #20, Jan. 1882 - Feb. 1883

It is human nature that even the most conscienceless thieves do not like to be pilloried in the Rogues' Gallery.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

There is a great deal of human nature in people.
- Letter to the San Francisco Alta California, written May 18, 1867; published June 23,1867

...human nature is all alike;...we like to know what the big people are doing, so that we can envy them...The big personage of a village bears the same proportion to the little people of the village that the President of the United States bears to the nation ...conspicuousness is the only thing necessary in a person to command our interest, and in a larger or smaller sense, our worship. We recognize that there are no trivial occurrences in life if we get the right focus on them.
- Mark Twain's Autobiography

Isn't human nature the most consummate sham & lie that was ever invented? Isn't man a creature to be ashamed of in pretty much all is aspects? Is he really fit for anything but to be stood up on the street corner as a convenience for dogs? Man, "Know thyself --& then thou wilt despise thyself, to a dead moral certainty."
- Letter to William Dean Howells, August 31, 1884

Such is human-nature. The man who drinks beer at home always criticizes the champagne, and finds fault with the Burgundy when he is invited out to dinner.
- Letter from Mark Twain, Chicago Republican, May 19, 1868


Recommended reading:
MARK TWAIN AND HUMAN NATURE by Tom Quirk
available from amazon.com

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