George Jean Nathan

George Jean Nathan

George Jean Nathan (February 14, 1882 – April 8, 1958) was an American drama critic and magazine editor. He worked closely with H. L. Mencken, bringing the literary magazine The Smart Set to prominence as an editor, and co-founding and editing The American Mercury and The American Spectator.

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Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.

To speak of morals in art is to speak of legislature in sex. Art is the sex of the imagination.

Love is the emotion that a woman feels always for a poodle dog, and sometimes for a man.

Criticism is the windows and chandeliers of art: it illuminates the enveloping darkness in which art might otherwise rest only vaguely discernible and perhaps altogether unseen.

What passes for woman's intuition is often nothing more than man's transparency.

I drink to make other people interesting.

It is also said of me that I now and then contradict myself. Yes I improve wonderfully as time goes on.

A man's wife is his compromise with the illusion of his first sweetheart.

Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote.

I have yet to find a man worth his salt in any direction who did not think of himself first and foremost.

Women as they grow older rely more and more on cosmetics. Men as they grow older rely more and more on a sense of humor.

Love demands infinitely less than friendship.

I know many married men I even know a few happily married men but I don't know one who wouldn't fall down the first open coal hole running after the first pretty girl who gave him a wink.

Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness.

An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.

Whenever a man encounters a woman in a mood he doesn't understand he wants to know if she's tired.

Politics is the diversion of trivial men who when they succeed at it become important in the eyes of more trivial men.

It is only the cynicism that is born of success that is penetrating and valid.

A man reserves his true and deepest love not for the species of woman in whose company he finds himself electrified and enkindled but for that one in whose company he may feel tenderly drowsy.

Beauty makes idiots sad and wise men merry.

A life spent in constant labor is a life wasted. Save a man be such a fool as to regard a fulsome obituary notice as ample reward.

Common sense in so far as it exists is all for the bourgeoisie. Nonsense is the privilege of the aristocracy. The worries of the world are for the common people.

Love is an emotion experienced by the many and enjoyed by the few.

Criticism is the art of appraising others at one's own value.

The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism.

A man admires a woman not for what she says but what she listens to.

An actor without a playwright is like a hole without a doughnut.

No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.

So long as there is one pretty girl left on the stage the professional undertakers may hold up their burial of the theater.

The test of a real comedian is whether you laugh at him before he opens his mouth.