Quotidiana

Most Popular Essays

  1. “A modest proposal”

  2. Jonathan Swift

    A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick. (137685)

  3. “On lying in bed”

  4. G. K. Chesterton

    If there is one thing worse that the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. (95943)

  5. “On laziness”

  6. Christopher Morley

    The man who is really, thoroughly, and philosophically slothful is the only thoroughly happy man. It is the happy man who benefits the world. The conclusion is inescapable. (84885)

  7. “On running after one’s hat”

  8. G. K. Chesterton

    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. (43966)

  9. “Description of a desert”

  10. Ann Plato

    To be thirsty in a desert...is the most terrible situation that a man can be placed in. (36479)

  11. “Of studies”

  12. Francis Bacon

    Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. (30858)

  13. “As a white slave”

  14. Nellie Bly

    There was one way of getting at the truth, and I determined to try it. (28121)

  15. “Leaves from the mental portfolio of an Eurasian”

  16. Sui Sin Far

    I look back over the years and see myself so keenly alive to every shade of sorrow and suffering that it is almost a pain to live. (27983)

  17. “That to study philosophy is to learn to die”

  18. Michel de Montaigne

    Let us disarm him of his novelty and strangeness, let us converse and be familiar with him, and have nothing so frequent in our thoughts as death. (25929)

  19. “Tradition and the individual talent”

  20. T. S. Eliot

    The conscious present is an awareness of the past in a way and to an extent which the past’s awareness of itself cannot show. (25890)

  21. “A bachelor’s complaint of the behaviour of married people”

  22. Charles Lamb

    Nothing is to me more distasteful than that entire complacency and satisfaction which beam in the countenances of a new-married couple. (24821)

  23. “Of cannibals”

  24. Michel de Montaigne

    I am afraid our eyes are bigger than our bellies, and that we have more curiosity than capacity; for we grasp at all, but catch nothing but wind. (24015)

  25. “Dreamthorp”

  26. Alexander Smith

    This place suits my whim, and I like it better year after year. As with everything else, since I began to love it I find it gradually growing beautiful. (20713)

  27. “Of posting”

  28. Michel de Montaigne

    I have been none of the least able in this exercise, which is proper for men of my pitch, well-knit and short; but I give it over; it shakes us too much to continue it long. (19481)

  29. “Of the education of children”

  30. Michel de Montaigne

    We often take very great pains, and consume a good part of our time in training up children to things, for which, by their natural constitution, they are totally unfit (18862)

  31. “Of smells”

  32. Michel de Montaigne

    To smell, though well, is to stink. (17807)

  33. “Of idleness”

  34. Michel de Montaigne

    I fancied I could not more oblige my mind than to suffer it at full leisure to entertain and divert itself. (16018)

  35. “Of coaches”

  36. Michel de Montaigne

    Fear springs sometimes as much from want of judgment as from want of courage. (15649)

  37. “Of a monstrous child”

  38. Michel de Montaigne

    Whatever falls out contrary to custom we say is contrary to nature, but nothing, whatever it be, is contrary to her. Let, therefore, this universal and natural reason expel the error and astonishment that novelty brings along with it. (15554)

  39. “Dream children: A reverie”

  40. Charles Lamb

    We are nothing; less than nothing, and dreams. We are only what might have been, and must wait upon the tedious shores of Lethe millions of ages before we have existence, and a name. (14899)

  41. “Of the force of imagination”

  42. Michel de Montaigne

    My conscience does not falsify one tittle; what my ignorance may do, I cannot say. (14541)

  43. “To the reader”

  44. Michel de Montaigne

    I have had no consideration at all either to thy service or to my glory. (14155)

  45. “The art of the essayist”

  46. Arthur Benson

    The essayist is really a lesser kind of poet, working in simpler and humbler materials, more in the glow of life perhaps than in the glory of it. (14137)

  47. “Trying to be a servant”

  48. Nellie Bly

    None but the initiated know what a great question the servant question is and how many perplexing sides it has. (13577)

  49. “On actors and acting”

  50. William Hazlitt

    The stage not only refines the manners, but it is the best teacher of morals, for it is the truest and most intelligible picture of life. (13511)

  51. “Of the inconstancy of our actions”

  52. Michel de Montaigne

    Considering the natural instability of our manners and opinions, I have often thought even the best authors a little out in so obstinately endeavouring to make of us any constant and solid contexture. (12961)

  53. “Of experience”

  54. Michel de Montaigne

    There is no desire more natural than that of knowledge. We try all ways that can lead us to it; where reason is wanting, we therein employ experience, more weak and cheap; but truth is so great a thing that we ought not to disdain any mediation that will guide us to it. (12571)

  55. “On visiting bookshops”

  56. Christopher Morley

    There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love. (11817)

  57. “On the pleasure of hating”

  58. William Hazlitt

    We hate old friends: we hate old books: we hate old opinions; and at last we come to hate ourselves. (11180)

  59. “The student life”

  60. William Osler

    The hardest conviction to get into the mind of a beginner is that the education upon which he is engaged is not a college course...but a life course, for which the work of a few years under teachers is but a preparation. (11045)

Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana by Patrick Madden

Quotidiana site founder Patrick Madden has just published a book of his own personal essays, including pieces formerly published in the Best American Spiritual Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies. If you enjoy the classical essays on this site, you'll enjoy these contemporary ruminations as well. Soon there'll be a web page here with further information, but for now, you can find out more (and perhaps purchase a copy) at Amazon.com.

"Patrick Madden is an essayist of verve, passion, wit, and dependable moral compass. Quotidiana drew me in powerfully, from page to page and from pleasure to pleasure." —Ian Frazier

2011 Symposium on the Essay
Welcome Table Press Symposium on the Essay

Friend of Quotidiana Kim Dana Kupperman's Welcome Table Press is hosting a one-day symposium at Fordham University on Saturday, October 15th, 2011. In Praise of the Essay: Practice & Form will feature talks and discussions by Phillip Lopate, Robin Hemley, Barbara Hurd, and more.

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