I have at last, after several months' experience, made up my mind that [New York] is a splendid deserta domed and steepled solitude, where the stranger is lonely in the midst of a million of his race.
(Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Daily Alta California (June 5, 1867). Mark Twain's Travels with Mr. Brown, ch. 25, eds. Franklin Walker and G. Ezra Dane, Knopf (1940).)
Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.
(Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), U.S. author. address recorded for the Nobel Prize Committee, Dec. 10, 1954, accepting the Nobel Prize for literature. Published in Carlos Baker, Hemingway: the Writer as Artist, ch. 13, third edition (1963).)
The haughty and imperious part of a man develops rapidly on one of these lonely sugar plantations, where the owner rarely meets with anyone except his slaves and minions.
(Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822-1893), U.S. president. Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes: Nineteenth President of the United States, vol. I, p. 254, ed. Charles Richard Williams, The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 5 vols. (1922-1926), Diary (January 30, 1849).
Written while visiting a college classmate in Texas.)
The twentieth-century artist who uses symbols is alienated because the system of symbols is a private one. After you have dealt with the symbols you are still private, you are still lonely, because you are not sure anyone will understand it except yourself. The ransom of privacy is that you are alone.
(Louise Bourgeois (b. 1911), U.S. sculptor. As quoted in Lives and Works, by Lynn F. Miller and Sally S. Swenson (1981).)
In his lonely solitude, the solitary man feeds upon himself; in the thronging multitude, the many feed upon him. Now choose.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 520, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Mixed Opinions and Maxims, aphorism 348, "From the Land of the Cannibals," (1879).)
The loneliest feeling in the world is when you think you are leading the parade and turn to find that no one is following you. No president who badly misguesses public opinion will last very long.
(Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Interview with former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, University of Illinois, Urbana (Spring 1958).
FDR was always conscious of the need to educate the public on important national issues and was determined not to take the lead unless he was reasonably sure of public support. However, he was also extremely adept at providing leadership for the public to educate them to support policies he believed were essential to the public weal. He made this same observation in a letter to a friend with only slightly different wording.)