Literary Birthday – 13 June – Mark Van Doren


Nine Quotes

  1. To fail to love is not to exist at all.
  2. There is one thing we can do, and the happiest people are those who do it to the limit of their ability. We can be completely present. We can be all here. We can… give all our attention to the opportunity before us.
  3. Bring ideas in and entertain them royally, for one of them may be the king.
  4. I have always had the greatest respect for students. There is nothing I hate more than condescension—the attitude that they are inferior to you. I always assume they have good minds.
  5. Nothing in man is more serious than his sense of humour; it is the sign that he wants all the truth.
  6. An unexamined idea, to paraphrase Socrates, is not worth having and a society whose ideas are never explored for possible error may eventually find its foundations insecure.
  7. It is astonishing how few stories have been told perfectly.
  8. The job of the poet is to render the world-to see it and report it without loss, without perversion. No poet ever talks about feelings. Only sentimental people do.
  9. The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.

Mark Van Doren was an American poet, writer, and a critic. A professor of English at Columbia University for nearly 40 years, he won the 1940 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His works include Shakespeare and Liberal Education.

  by Amanda Patterson