Charles Eliot Norton

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Charles Eliot Norton

Charles Eliot Norton (November 16, 1827October 21, 1908) was a leading American author, social critic, and professor of art. He was a militant idealist, a progressive social reformer, and a liberal activist whom many of his contemporaries considered the most cultivated man in the United States. Today, his name is borne by a series of lectures (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) held annually by distinguished professors at Harvard.

Quotes[edit]

  • The voice of protest, of warning, of appeal is never more needed than when the clamor of fife and drum, echoed by the press and too often by the pulpit, is bidding all men fall in and keep step and obey in silence the tyrannous word of command. Then, more than ever, it is the duty of the good citizen not to be silent.
    • True Patriotism (1898)
  • "There never was a good war," said Franklin. There have indeed been many wars in which a good man must take part, and take part with grave gladness to die if need be, a willing sacrifice, thankful to give life for what is dearer than life, and happy that even by death in war he is serving the cause of peace. But if a war be undertaken for the most righteous end, before the resources of peace have been tried and proved vain to secure it, that war has no defense, it is a national crime.
    • Public Opinion, Volume 24, From an address before the Men's Club of the Prospect Street Congregational Church, Cambridge, MA (1898)
  • The United States has lost her unique position as a leader in the progress of civilization and has taken up her place simply as one of the grasping and selfish nations of the present day.
    • Letters of Charles Eliot Norton (1913)
  • It does not seem to me that the evidence concerning the being of a God, and concerning immortality, is such as to enable us to assert anything in regard to either of these topics.
    • As quoted in John Ruskin, Charles Eliot Norton, John Lewis Bradley, Ian Ousby (1987). “The Correspondence of John Ruskin and Charles Eliot Norton”, p.175, Cambridge University Press

External links[edit]

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