Archibald MacLeish

Poet, Politician

1892 – 1982

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Who was Archibald MacLeish?

Archibald MacLeish was an American poet, writer, and the Librarian of Congress. He is associated with the Modernist school of poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes for his work.

Famous Quotes:

  • A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates, is a sick man.
  • The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life -- to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity.
  • Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.
  • To see the earth as we now see it, small and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the unending night -- brothers who see now they are truly brothers.
  • We are as great as our belief in human liberty -- no greater. And our belief in human liberty is only ours when it is larger than ourselves.
  • What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice.
  • It is not in the world of ideas that life is lived. Life is lived for better or worse in life, and to a man in life, his life can be no more absurd than it can be the opposite of absurd, whatever that opposite may be.
  • America is promises to take! America is promises to us to take them.
  • The American mood, perhaps even the American character, has changed. There are few manifestations any longer of the old American self-assurance which so irritated Dickens. Instead, there is a sense of frustration so perceptible that even our politicians have attempted to exploit it.
  • What is more important in a library than anything else -- than everything else -- is the fact that it exists.

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May 7, 1892
Also known as
  • MacLeish, Archibald
  • Archie MacLeish
  • Archie
  • White American
  • United States of America
  • The Hotchkiss School
    ( - 1911)
  • Harvard Law School
  • Yale University
  • Harvard University
  • Amherst College
  • Librarian of Congress
Apr 20, 1982

on July 23, 2013


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