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The Way of All Flesh

Critique • Quotes • Text

The Way of All Flesh, first editionFirst edition
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication

Literary form

Literary, social criticism

Writing language

Author's country

Approx. 147,000 words

Notable lines

When I was a small boy at the beginning of the century I remember an old man who wore knee-breeches and worsted stockings, and who used to hobble about the street of our village with the help of a stick.

— First line

Why should the generations overlap one another at all? Why cannot we be buried as eggs in neat little cells with ten or twenty thousand pounds each wrapped around us in Bank of England notes, and wake up, as the sphex wasp does, to find that its papa and momma have not only left ample provision at its elbow, but have been eaten by sparrows some week before it began to live consciously on its own account?


What we call death is only a shock great enough to destroy our power to recognize a past and a present as resembling each other.


It is far safer to know too little than too much. People will condemn the one, though they will resent being called upon to exert themselves to follow the other.


"There are orphanages...for children who have lost their parents—oh! why, why, why, are there no harbours of refuge for grown men who have not yet lost them?"


A pair of lovers are like sunset and sunrise: there are such things every day but we very seldom see them.


Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself, and the more he tries to conceal himself the more clearly will his character appear in spite of him.


Sensible people get the greater part of their own dying done during their own lifetime.


Then he saw also that it matters little what profession, whether of religion or irreligion, a man may make, provided only he follows it out with charitable inconsistency, and without insisting on it to the bitter end. It is in the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma or want of dogma that the danger lies.


Truth might be heroic, but it was not within the range of practical domestic politics.


In politics he is a Conservative so far as his vote and interest are concerned. In all other respects he is an advanced Radical. His father and grandfather could probably no more understand his state of mind than they could understand Chinese, but those who know him intimately do not know that they wish him greatly different from what he actually is.

— Last lines


Critique • Quotes • Text

See also:

David Copperfield

Jude the Obscure

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