Quotations and Authors:

With an easy condescension, and kind forbearance towards our stupidity,—which, to his order of mind, must have seemed little short of crime,—would he forthwith, by the merest touch of his finger, make the incomprehensible as clear as daylight. The merchants valued him
not less than we, his esoteric friends.
His integrity was perfect: it was a law of nature with him, rather than a choice or a principle; nor can it be otherwise than the main condition of an intellect so remarkably clear and accurate as his, to be honest and regular in the administration of affairs. A stain on his conscience, as to anything that came within the range of his vocation, would trouble such a man very much in the same way, though to a far greater degree, that an error in the balance of an account or an ink-blot on the fair page of a book of record.

The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne, Nathaniel 1850

‘Adieu,’ I said, ‘for this time, cousins both;
And, cousin Romney, pardon me the word,
Be happy!—oh, in some esoteric sense
Of course!
—I mean no harm in wishing well.

Aurora Leigh Browning, Elizabeth 1856

It is an esoteric doctrine of society, that a little wickedness is good to make muscle; as if conscience were not good for hands and legs, as if poor decayed formalists of law and order cannot run like wild goats, wolves, and conies; that, as there is a use in medicine for poisons, so the world cannot move without rogues; that public spirit and the ready hand are as well found among the malignants.

The Conduct of Life Emerson, Ralph Waldo 1860

‘T WAS later when the summer went
Than when the cricket came,
And yet we knew that gentle clock
Meant nought but going home.
‘T was sooner when the cricket went
Than when the winter came,
Yet that pathetic pendulum
Keeps esoteric time

Poems: Three Series, Complete Dickinson, Emily 1890

Yes, she took her ease; she relieved herself, with the rare cynicism of the artist–all the crudity, the irony and intensity of a discussion of esoteric things–of personal mysteries, of methods and secrets. It was the oddest hour our young man had ever spent, even in the course of investigations which had often led him into the cuisine, the distillery or back shop, of the admired profession. He got up several times to come away; then he remained, partly in order not to leave Miriam alone with her terrible initiatress, partly because he was both amused and edified, and partly because Madame Carré held him by the appeal of her sharp, confidential, old eyes, addressing her talk to himself, with Miriam but a pretext and subject, a vile illustration.

The Tragic Muse James, Henry 1890

Sherringham winced at being dubbed a “cosmopolite” by his young entertainer, just as he had winced a moment before at hearing himself lumped in esoteric knowledge with Dashwood and Gabriel Nash; but the former of these gentlemen took no account of his sensibility while he enumerated a few of the elements of the “basic.” He was a mixture of acuteness and innocent fatuity; and Peter had to recognise in him a rudiment or two of criticism when he said that the wonderful thing in the girl was that she learned so fast–learned something every night, learned from the same old piece a lot more than any one else would have learned from twenty. “That’s what it is to be a genius,” Peter concurred. “Genius is only the art of getting your experience fast, of stealing it, as it were; and in this sense Miss Rooth’s a regular brigand.” Dashwood condoned the subtlety and added less analytically, “Oh she’ll do!” It was exactly in these simple words, addressed to her, that her other admirer had phrased
the same truth; yet he didn’t enjoy hearing them on his neighbour’s
lips: they had a profane, patronising sound and suggested displeasing

The Tragic Muse James, Henry 1890

‘Well, he is not a bit like a cheiromantist. I mean he is not mysterious, or esoteric, or romantic-looking. He is a little, stout man, with a funny, bald head, and great gold-rimmed spectacles; something between a family doctor and a country attorney.

Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime Wilde, Oscar 1891

There were no emigrants direct from Europe—save one German family and a knot of Cornish miners who kept grimly by themselves, one reading the New Testament all day long through steel spectacles, the rest discussing privately the secrets of their old-world, mysterious race. Lady Hester Stanhope believed she could make something great of the Cornish; for my part, I can make nothing of them at all. A division of races, older and more original than that of Babel, keeps this close, esoteric family apart from neighbouring Englishmen. Not even a Red Indian seems more foreign in my eyes. This is one of the lessons of travel—that some of the
strangest races dwell next door to you at home.

Across the Plains, with other Memories and Essays Stevenson, Robert Louis 1892

But our chief visitor was one Mapiao, a great Tahuku–which seems to
mean priest, wizard, tattooer, practiser of any art, or, in a word, esoteric person–and a man famed for his eloquence on public occasions and witty talk in private.

In the South Seas Stevenson, Robert Louis 1896

What intimations made them wise,
The mournful pine, the pleasant beech?
What strange and esoteric speech?
(Communicated from the skies
In runic whispers)–that invokes
The boles that sleep within the seeds,
And out of narrow darkness leads
The vast assemblies of the oaks.

Poems (Selected by the Author) Cawein, Madison Julius 1911

And so you see me shaking hands with this man, affecting an interest in his topics and affairs, staying in his house, eating his food and drinking his wine, that I might be the nearer to his wife. It is not the first time that has been done in the world, there are esoteric codes to justify all I did; I perceive there are types of men to whom such relationships are attractive by the very reason of their illicit excitement. But we Strattons are honest people, there is no secretive passion in our blood; this is no game for us;
never you risk the playing of it, little son, big son as you will be when you read this story. Perhaps, but I hope indeed not, this may reach you too late to be a warning, come to you in mid-situation. Go through with it then, inheritor of mine, and keep as clean as you can, follow the warped honor that is still left to you–and if you can, come out ofthe tangle….

The Passionate Friends Wells, Herbert George 1913

Ralph, in the first months of their marriage, had been eloquent too, had even gone the length of quoting poetry; but he disconcerted her by his baffling twists and strange allusions (she always scented ridicule in the unknown), and the poets he quoted were esoteric and abstruse.

The Custom of the Country Wharton, Edith 1913

At different spots in the room stood the six resident geniuses to whose presence in the home Mr. Pett had such strong objections, and in addition to these she had collected so many more of a like breed from the environs of Washington Square that the air was clamorous with the hoarse cries of futurist painters, esoteric Buddhists, vers libre poets, interior decorators, and stage reformers, sifted in among the more conventional members of society who had come to listen to them.

Twelve separate and distinct discussions on twelve highly intellectual topics died instantaneously. It was as if the last trump had sounded. Futurist painters stared pallidly at vers libre poets, speech smitten from their lips; and stage performers looked at esoteric Buddhists with a wild surmise.

Piccadilly Jim Wodehouse, P. G. 1917

The Christ with the bridesister, moisture of light, born of an ensouled virgin, repentant sophia, departed to the plane of buddhi. The life esoteric is not for ordinary person.

Ulysses Joyce, James 1920

“Wissen Sie,” he said, with an insulting patience and condescension
in his voice, “that horse is a certain form, part of a whole form. It
is part of a work of art, a piece of form. It is not a picture of a friendly horse to which you give a lump of sugar, do you see—it is part of a work of art, it has no relation to anything outside that work of art.” Ursula, angry at being treated quite so insultingly de haut en bas, from the height of esoteric art to the depth of general exoteric amateurism, replied, hotly, flushing and lifting her face. “But it is a picture of a horse, nevertheless.”

Women in Love Lawrence, D. H. 1920

They had a curious game with each other, Gudrun and Loerke, of infinite suggestivity, strange and leering, as if they had some esoteric understanding of life, that they alone were initiated into the fearful central secrets, that the world dared not know. Their whole correspondence was in a strange, barely comprehensible suggestivity,
they kindled themselves at the subtle lust of the Egyptians or the

Women in Love Lawrence, D. H. 1920

I believe that this great science previous to ours and quite different
in constitution and nature from our science once was universal, established all over the then-existing globe. I believe it was esoteric, invested in a large priesthood. Just as mathematics and mechanics and physics are defined and expounded in the same way in the universities of China or Bolivia or London or Moscow to-day, so, it seems to me, in the great world previous to ours a great science and cosmology were taught esoterically in all countries of the globe, Asia, Polynesia, America, Atlantis and Europe. Belt’s suggestion of the geographical nature of this previous world seems to me most interesting. In the period which geologists call the Glacial Period, the waters of the earth must have been gathered up in a vast body on the higher places of our globe, vast worlds of ice.

Fantasia of the Unconscious Lawrence, D. H. 1921