Speaking Quotes: Monologue & Dialogue

And there is monologue disguised as dialogue, in which two or more men, meeting in space, speak each with himself in strangely tortuous and circuitous ways and yet imagine they have escaped the torment of being thrown back on their own resources. ~Martin Buber (1878—1965), translated from German

There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all. ~Rebecca West, “There is No Conversation,” 1934

As a matter of fact, have you never noticed that most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness? ~Margaret Millar, The Weak-Eyed Bat, 1942

A dialogue is not made up of two monologues. ~Howard E. Short, quoted in United Church Herald, Vol. 10, 1967

Now, you indicate to me that you really see that as communication going back and forth rather than simply individual expression. But communication is assumed to be a dialogue between people, not two monologues. ~Quoted in Howard Stein, A Time to Speak, 1974

Basically you are like two parallel lines which never meet. Dialogue seems to be impossible. All is monologue — you are talking to yourself and the other is talking to himself. Two monologues together look like a dialogue only in appearance. ~Osho, The Revolution: Talks on Kabir, 1979

Two monologues do not make a dialogue. ~De Nevers’ Law of Debate (Murphy’s Laws), c.1989 [Author is Noel de Nevers (b.1932), a chemical engineer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Utah. –tg]

But real dialogue is here continually hidden in all kinds of odd corners and, occasionally in an unseemly way, breaks surface surprisingly and inopportunely—certainly still oftener it is arrogantly tolerated than downright scandalizing—as in the tone of a railway guard’s voice, in the glance of an old newspaper vendor, in the smile of the chimney-sweeper. ~Martin Buber, translated from German

But monologue disguised as dialogue is the great dissembler that masquerades as the interhuman. ~Maurice Friedman, Martin Buber’s Life and Work, 1981

That peoples can no longer carry on authentic dialogue with one another is not only the most acute symptom of the pathology of our time, it is also that which most urgently makes a demand of us. ~Martin Buber (1878—1965)

I hope there were no listeners within earshot, as I am sure the dialogue, or, more properly speaking, the two monologues, they would have heard—(for we spoke both together, neither of us paying the slightest attention to what the other was saying!)—must have been supremely ridiculous! He poured forth a perfect rigmarole of sentimental heroics; whilst I was equally voluble in angry remonstrance! ~Illustrated News, 1863 [Thanks a million to Garson O’Toole for this quotation. Here is the full source information he provides on his blog Quote Investigator: 1863 July 4, Southern Illustrated News, A Bundle of Old Letters (Continuation from previous issue), (Written for the Illustrated News), Start Page 6, Quote Page 7, Column 1, Richmond, Virginia. (GenealogyBank) –tg]

Speech is thinking aloud. Soliloquy is thinking aloud to one’s self…. Since the soul is conversant with its own reasonings, why speak?… [I]n the normal state of soul, when life is oppressed, when the vastest issues break like angry oceans in the spirit—then thoughts seem bent on uttering themselves. Soliloquy is natural to Hamlet as turbulence to the seas. His conversations are monologues. He takes other men’s words as points of departure. He deals in dissertations, not conversations…. If Hamlet fell into soliloquy as naturally as stars fall with flash-light to the earth at night, yet is he still more the brooder than the soliloquizer…. Hamlet’s mood is to think, to dream, rather than speak in whispers even. ~William A. Quayle, “The Soliloquies of Macbeth and Hamlet,” The Poet’s Poet and Other Essays, 1897