Quotes Categories

Twentieth Century Quotes

The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.

Author: Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

Profession: German-born American Political Philosopher

All that Swinging Sixties nonsense, we all thought it was passť at the time.

Author: David Bailey (1938)

Profession: British Photographer

The marriage of reason and nightmare which has dominated the 20th century has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. Across the communications landscape move the specters of sinister technologies and the dreams that money can buy. Thermonuclear weapons systems and soft drink commercials coexist in an overlit realm ruled by advertising and pseudo-events, science and pornography. Over our lives preside the great twin leitmotifs of the 20th century -- sex and paranoia.

Author: J. G. Ballard (1930)

Profession: British Author

As the end of the century approaches, all our culture is like the culture of flies at the beginning of winter. Having lost their agility, dreamy and demented, they turn slowly about the window in the first icy mists of morning. They give themselves a last wash and brush-up, their oscillated eyes roll, and they fall down the curtains.

Author: Jean Baudrillard

Profession: French Postmodern Philosopher, Writer

At no previous period has mankind been faced by a half-century which so paradoxically united violence and progress. Its greater and lesser wars and long series of major assassinations have been strangely combined with the liberation of more societies and individuals than ever before in history, and by the transformation of millions of second-class citizens -- women, workers and the members of subject races -- to a stage at which first-rate achievement is no longer inhibited even if opportunities are not yet complete.

Author: Vera Brittain (1893-1970)

Profession: British Writer

Our civilization survives in the complacency of cowardly or malignant minds -- a sacrifice to the vanity of aging adolescents. In 1953, excess is always a comfort, and sometimes a career.

Author: Albert Camus (1913-1960)

Profession: French Existential Writer

The real passion of the twentieth century is servitude.

Author: Albert Camus (1913-1960)

Profession: French Existential Writer

The white youth of today have begun to react to the fact that the ''American Way of Life'' is a fossil of history. What do they care if their old baldheaded and crew-cut elders don't dig their caveman mops? They couldn't care less about the old, stiff-assed honkies who don't like their new dances: Frog, Monkey, Jerk, Swim, Watusi. All they know is that it feels good to swing to way-out body-rhythms instead of dragging across the dance floor like zombies to the dead beat of mind-smothered Mickey Mouse music.

Author: Eldridge Cleaver (1935)

Profession: American Black Leader, Writer

Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true. The tension broke that day. The paranoia was fulfilled.

Author: Joan Didion (1934)

Profession: American Essayist

We were that generation called ''silent,'' but we were silent neither, as some thought, because we shared the period's official optimism nor, as others thought, because we feared its official repression. We were silent because the exhilaration of social action seemed to many of us just one more way of escaping the personal, of masking for a while that dread of the meaningless which was man's fate.

Author: Joan Didion (1934)

Profession: American Essayist

I confidently predict the collapse of capitalism and the beginning of history. Something will go wrong in the machinery that converts money into money, the banking system will collapse totally, and we will be left having to barter to stay alive. Those who can dig in their garden will have a better chance than the rest. I'll be all right; I've got a few veg.

Author: Margaret Drabble (1939)

Profession: British Novelist

People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around -- the music and the ideas.

Author: Bob Dylan (1941)

Profession: American Musician, Singer, Songwriter

Maybe in the 90s or possibly in the next century people will look upon the 80s as the age of masturbation, when it was taken to the limit; that might be all that's going on right now in a big way.

Author: Bob Dylan (1941)

Profession: American Musician, Singer, Songwriter

In economics, we borrowed from the Bourbons; in foreign policy, we drew on themes fashioned by the nomad warriors of the Eurasian steppes. In spiritual matters, we emulated the braying intolerance of our archenemies, the Shite fundamentalists.

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich (1941)

Profession: American Author, Columnist

The 1950s to me is darkness, hidden history, perversion behind most doors waiting to creep out. The 1950s to most people is kitsch and Mickey Mouse watches and all this intolerable stuff...

Author: James Ellroy

Profession: