Rich as we are in biography, a well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one; and there are certainly many more men whose history deserves to be recorded than persons able and willing to furnish the record.
Biography is the most universally pleasant and profitable of all reading.
One anecdote of a man is worth a volume of biography.
Most biographies are of little worth.—They are panegyrics, not lives.—The object is, not to let down the hero; and consequently what is most human, most genuine, most characteristic in his history, is excluded.—No department of literature is so false as biography.
Great men have often the shortest biographies.—Their real life is in their books or deeds.
The best teachers of humanity are the lives of great men.
The remains of great and good men, like Elijah's mantle, ought to be gathered up and preserved by their survivors; that as their works follow them in the reward of them, they may stay behind in their benefit.
The poor dear dead have been laid out in vain; tumed into cash, they are laid out again.
Those only who live with a man can write his life with any genuine exactness and discrimination, and few people who have lived with a man know what to remark about him.
History can be frmed from permanent monuments and records; but lives can only be written from personal knowledge, which is growing every day less, and in a short time is lost forever.
Of all studies, the most delightful and useful is biography.—The seeds of great events lie near the surface; historians delve too deep for them.—No history was ever true; but lives which I have read, if they were not, had the appearance, the interest, the utility of truth.
A life that is worth writing at all, is worth writing minutely and truthfully.
Biography, especially of the great and good, who have risen by their own exertions to eminence and usefulness, is an inspiring and ennobling study.—Its direct tendency is to reproduce the excellence it records.
To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days.
Biographies of great, but especially of good men, are most instructive and useful as helps, guides, and incentives to others. Some of the best are almost equivalent to gospels—teaching high living, high thinking, and energetic actions for their own and the world's good.
Now the Poet cannot die, nor leave his music as of old, but round him ere he scarce be cold begins the scandal and the cry.
My advice is, to consult the lives of other men as we would a looking glass, and from thence fetch examples for our own imitation.
Biography is the personal and home aspect of history.