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  • In our society to admit inferiority is to be a fool, and to admit superiority is to be an outcast. Those who are in reality superior in intelligence can be accepted by their fellows only if they pretend they are not.

  • I would call an intellectual one whose instrument of work — his mind — is also his major source of pleasure; a man whose entertainment is his intelligence.

  • The intellectual is constantly betrayed by his own vanity. Godlike, he blandly assumes that he can express everything in words ...

  • Professional intellectuals are the voice of a culture and are, therefore, its leaders, its integrators and its bodyguards.

  • But, of course only morons would ever think or speak of themselves as intellectuals. That's why they all look so sad.

  • Intellectuals can tell themselves anything, sell themselves any bill of goods, which is why they were so often patsies for the ruling classes in nineteenth-century France and England, or twentieth-century Russia and America.

  • 'Intellectual' is not always a synonym for 'intelligent.'

  • Intellectual freedom, of course, implies intellectual diversity.

  • It's no surprise to me that intellectuals commit suicide, go mad or die from drink. We feel things more than other people. We know the world is rotten and that chins are ruined by spots.

  • ... this passionate yearning for solitude, so necessary to genius yet so difficult to obtain, is perhaps the very cause of the strange, irritable, cynical eccentricities of temper and manner so often observable in the priesthood of intellect.

  • Ben was an intellectual, and intellectuals, say what you like, seemed to last longer than anyone else.

    • Muriel Spark,
    • "The Fathers' Daughters," Voices at Play ()
  • I don't want people running around saying Gwen Brooks's work is intellectual. That makes people think instantly about obscurity. It shouldn't have to mean that, but it often seems to.

  • I think that 'intellectuals' cause a great deal of trouble trying to do it all with the mind. It is the heart that counts ...

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1955, in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • The intellectual is a middle-class product; if he is not born into the class he must soon insert himself into it, in order to exist. He is the fine nervous flower of the bourgeoisie.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Some Notes on Popular and Unpopular Art" (1943), Selected Criticism ()
  • Intellectuals range through the finest gradations of kind and quality: from those who are merely educated neurotics, usually with strong hidden reactionary tendencies, through mediocrities of all kinds, to men of real brains and sensibility, more or less stiffened into various respectabilities or substitutes for respectability. The number of Ignorant Specialists is large. The number of hysterics and compulsives is also large.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Some Notes on Popular and Unpopular Art" (1943), Selected Criticism ()
  • ... the decision to speak out is the vocation and life-long peril by which the intellectual must live.

    • Kay Boyle,
    • in James Vinson, ed., Contemporary Novelists ()
  • ... a towering intellect, grand in its achievements, and glorious in its possibilities, may, with the moral and spiritual faculties held in abeyance, be one of the most dangerous and mischievous forces in the world.

  • I remember being very smart, which is a form of stupidity. I try not to remember it, but it occurs to me that I may have felt intellectual. I entertained views too noble or too bitter to be true. I must have done some soul-stretching of my mental neck.

  • When in company with literary women, make no allusions to 'learned ladies,' or 'blue stockings,' or express surprise that they should have any knowledge of housewifery, or needle-work, or dress; or that they are able to talk on 'common things.' It is rude and foolish and shows that you really know nothing about them, either as a class or as individuals.

  • The chief difference is that a low-brow tells you what he thinks and a high-brow tells you what somebody else thinks.

  • [Intellectuals] have a preference for learning things rather than experiencing them.