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Quotations about Vanity



Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired... even I who write this, and you who read this. ~Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)


I have a horror of vanity; it is the quicksand of reason; it is on that that all merit makes shipwreck and disappears. ~George Sand (Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin Dudevant), Mademoiselle Merquem, 1868


The surest cure for vanity is loneliness. ~Thomas Wolfe (1900–1938)


If vanity does not entirely overthrow the virtues, at least it makes them all totter. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)


...for Pride that dines on Vanity sups on Contempt... ~Benjamin Franklin


There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it. ~Mark Twain, 1898


Without this ridiculous vanity that takes the form of self-display, and is part of everything and everyone, we would see nothing, and nothing would exist. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Beauty's sister is vanity, and its daughter lust. ~Author unknown


Vanity I am sensible, is my cardinal Vice and cardinal Folly, and I am in continual Danger, when in Company, of being led an ignis fatuus Chase by it, without the strictest Caution and watchfulness over my self. ~John Adams


...nothing is so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity, as the application of a rough truth! ~Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton


...cure yourself of the affliction of caring how you appear to others. Concern yourself only with how you appear before God, concern yourself only with the idea that God may have of you. ~Miguel de Unamuno (1864–1936)


To this principle of vanity, which philosophers call a mean one, and which I do not, I owe a great part of the figure which I have made in life... It is a vulgar, ordinary saying, but it is a very true one, that one should always put the best foot foremost. One should please, shine, and dazzle, wherever it is possible... Let me then recommend this principle of vanity to you; act upon it meo periculo; I promise you it will turn to your account. Practise all the arts that ever coquette did, to please. Be alert and indefatigable in making every man admire, and every woman in love with you. I can tell you too, that nothing will carry you higher in the world. ~Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, letter to his son, 1752


Vanity makes us commit more faults against our taste than reason does. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)


Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory, and the truth of every passion wants some pretence to make it live. ~Joseph Conrad


V is a Vain Virtuoso.
If you ask, "Pray what makes your hair grow so,
      Do you think it's a sign
      Of Genius divine?"
He replies "I don't think so, I know so."
~Oliver Herford, A Little Book of Bores, 1906


Men talk little when vanity does not prompt them. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)


Say! have you ever noticed that the bug called Vanity can cook up more trouble for human beings than any germ that ever built its nest in a brain-cell? It's a subtle little disease, this fever we call Vanity. No man ever knows he has it, but he can always recognize the symptoms in his neighbor. ~George V. Hobart, "The Vanity Boob," BOOBS As Seen by John Henry, 1914


To be stripped of all vanity, and stand forth a naked soul! ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912


Flattery is a false coin, which only derives its currency from vanity. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)


Man's supreme vanity is his belief that he is less vain than woman. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor


His vanity stands alone, sky-piercing, as sharp of outline as an Egyptian monolith. It is the only unpleasant feature in him that is not modified, softened, compensated by some converse characteristic. ~Mark Twain


Every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast. ~Logan Pearsall Smith


Virtue would not travel so far if vanity did not keep her company. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)


Vanity dies hard; in some obstinate cases it outlives the man... ~Robert Louis Stevenson


In heaven I yearn for knowledge, account all else inanity;
On earth I confess an itch for the praise of fools — that's Vanity.
~Robert Browning


The most violent passions leave us some moments of relaxation, but vanity always agitates us. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)


A complete investigation into the illusions of vanity, and into the ridicule that clings to them, would cast a strange light upon the whole theory of laughter. We should find laughter performing, with mathematical regularity, one of its main functions — that of bringing back to complete self-consciousness a certain self-admiration which is almost automatic, and thus obtaining the greatest possible sociability of characters. We should see that vanity, though it is a natural product of social life, is an inconvenience to society, just as certain slight poisons, continually secreted by the human organism, would destroy it in the long run, if they were not neutralised by other secretions. Laughter is unceasingly doing work of this kind. In this respect, it might be said that the specific remedy for vanity is laughter, and that the one failing that is essentially laughable is vanity. ~Henri Bergson, translated by Cloudesley Brereton and Fred Rothwell, 1911





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