Talk:James A. Michener

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Hi, The Michener Novel - The 26th Wife - is his rarest work. I would like to know how to get a copy of it. Please, if anyone has any info that could help, please respond e-mail me at:


P.S. I am not one of those that would burn or destroy this book, I simply want a copy to complete my collection.


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to James A. Michener. --Antiquary 18:38, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

  • A writer can make a fortune in America, but he can't make a living.
  • Although most of us know Vincent van Gogh in Arles and Paul Gauguin in Tahiti as if they were neighbors — somewhat disreputable but endlessly fascinating — none of us can name two French generals or department store owners of that period. I take enormous pride in considering myself an artist, one of the necessaries.
  • As a boy I was saved from a life of ignorance by my library
  • Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.
  • Gore Vidal, who wrote Williwaw at only nineteen, was another whose early book could well have been his last, but instead he wrote a series of books that varied in subject matter from the critical days of early Christianity to the dramatic eras of American history to outrageous sexual games. I envy him two novels on whose subjects I also did a great deal of work: Julian, which deals with the apostate who tried to turn back Christianity in ancient Antiochea, and 1876, which covers the amazing incident in American history that year when the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes stole the presidential election from the Democrat Samuel J.Tilden.
  • I am always interested in why young people become writers, and from talking with many I have concluded that most do not want to be writers working eight and ten hours a day and accomplishing little; they want to have been writers, garnering the rewards of having completed a best-seller. They aspire to the rewards of writing but not to the travail.
  • I am right now in the middle of a difficult writing project. And it's just as difficult now as when I started. But when I get up in the morning I am really qualified to say, 'Well, Jim, it isn't going too well, but there is nobody on the block who is better able to wrestle with it than you are, so let's get on with it.'
  • I had been educated with free scholarships. I went to nine different universities, always at public expense, and when you have that experience, you are almost obligated to give it back. It's as simple as that.
  • I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I'm one of the world's great rewriters.
  • I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.
  • I think the crucial thing in the writing career is to find what you want to do and how you fit in. What somebody else does is of no concern whatever except as an interesting variation.
  • I think young people ought to seek that experience that is going to knock them off center.
  • If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.
  • It is unimaginable that I graduated from one of America's better colleges, yet I am totally incapable of understanding tax returns.
  • It takes courage to know when you ought to be afraid.
  • Russia, France, Germany and China. They revere their writers. America is still a frontier country that almost shudders at the idea of creative expression.
  • The arrogance of the artist is a very profound thing, and it fortifies you.
  • The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both.
  • The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality.
  • There are no insoluble problems. Only time-consuming ones.
  • Unless you think you can do better than Tolstoy, we don't need you.