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English citations of Timonism

Noun: form of bitter misanthropy[edit]

1840 1851 1852 1886 1906 1933 1941 1955 1978 1984 1988
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1840, in The Westminster Review, September:[1]
    His "Timonism" scarcely shows itself, except against the priesthood, for which he has very little respect.
  • 1851, in The American Review, August:[2]
    But as Nature produces a few optimists and misanthropes, and circumstances many more, so we find certain poets whose verses are naturally optimistic or melancholy, and a greater number – of a lesser grade, be it said – whose verses, purporting to be results of their own experience, are evidently studied pictures of the utmost of cheerfulness or Timonism that can be evolved from the material around them.
  • 1852, Herman Melville, Pierre:[3]
    Then how could it be otherwise, than that an incipient Timonism should slide into Pierre, when he considered all the disgraceful inferences to be derived from such a fact.
  • 1886, in Pall Mall Gazette, 15 June:[4]
    No new Timon arose, for Timonism had been found out to be a fraud.
  • 1906, Prof. Walter Raleigh, letter pub. in 1926:[5]
    Men are stuffy little fellows. Their manliness bores me—it is almost universal, and humanity is very rare. [...] the poor things keep on struggling in a web of phantoms. They play with dolls all their lives. It's no good talking to them about wisdom and beauty. They have a complete system. There's even a doll Hell. This is not Timonism, I am an optimist. They are saved, most of them by their guts. A doll has no guts.
  • 1933, Benjamin Kurtz, The Pursuit of Death:[6]
    [...], with the exception of Byron's dying Timonism and Browning's Christian heroism, [...]
  • 1941, Fred B. Wahr, in The Germanic Review:[7]
    The problem for Hauptmann's characters becomes one of defeating Timonism and regaining the will to live.
  • 1955, Arthur L. Scott, Mark Twain:[8]
    "The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg" and The Mysterious Stranger, fierce and real as their Timonism is, are as phony in their rendering of human behavior as The American Claimant and Joan of Arc.
  • 1978, Howard G. Zettler, -Ologies & -Isms:[9]
    Timonism: a personal despair leading to misanthropy. (Allusion to Shakespeare's Timon of Athens)
  • 1984, John Seelye, in In Recognition of William Gaddis:[10]
    As in all dark satire, "eating" suggests cannibalism, the ultimate theme of Timonism, and the body of the Host becomes strange flesh, hot from hell.
  • 1988, Paul Ollswang, "Cynicism":[11]
    Cynicism is often contrasted with "Timonism" (cf. Shakespeare's Timon of Athens). Cynics saw what people could be & were angered by what they had become; Timonists felt humans were hopelessly stupid & uncaring by nature & so saw no hope for change.

Noun: bitter behavior or cynical utterance[edit]

ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1891, Fergus Hume, When I Lived in Bohemia:[12]
    Thus he ran on carelessly in this cynical vein; but I, after a time, paid no attention to his Timonisms, being taken up with the spectacle of a crowd in the street surrounding a carriage.


  1. ^ Signed "C.", "Fiction: Timon, But Not of Athens [review of the same-titled book by James Sedgwick (pseud. Timologus), London: Saunders & Otley, 1840]", Westminster Review, Vol. 34, No. 67, September 1840, "Critical and Miscellaneous Notices", p. 501; repr. in Vol. 34 (Nos. 66-67, June–September 1840), No. 2 (orig. 67), London: H. Hooper (C. Reynell, printer), 1841, p. 501 at Google Books.
  2. ^ Unsigned, "Mulchinock's Poems [review of The Ballads and Songs of William Pembroke Mulchinock, New York: T. W. Strong & Co.]", The American Review, No. 80, August 1851, p. 118; repr. in The American Whig Review: New Series, Vol. VIII–Whole Vol. XIV, New York: Wiley and Putnam (John A. Gray, printer), 1851, New Series Vol. VIII, No. 2 (orig. 80), p. 118 at Google Books.
  3. ^ Herman Melville, Pierre, 1852, chapter XVII "Young America in Literature", part III, online version.
  4. ^ “Timon [feat. Timonian, Timonism, Timonist, Timonize]”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, launched 2000. (see facsim. in OED reference at Timonism).
  5. ^ Prof. Walter Raleigh (1861–1922), letter to linguist John Sampson, Oxford, 1 January 1906; pub. in The Letters of Sir Walter Raleigh (1879-1922), 2 vols. ed. by Lady Raleigh, Vol. 1, London: Methuen (1st ed.), London: Macmillan (2nd ed.), 1926; repr. in The Letters of Sir Walter Raleigh 1879 to 1922, Kessinger Publishing, 2005, →ISBN, p. 293 at Google Books. (Note: letter popularized in various other works, including by poet and critic Herbert Read in The Anthology of English prose (1931, aka The London Book of English Prose and English Prose Style, p. 252), and by Philip Wayne in The Personal Art: An Anthology of English letters (1949, p. 226).)
  6. ^ Benjamin Putnam Kurtz, The Pursuit of Death: A Study of Shelley's Poetry, Oxford university press, 1933, p. 77 at Google Books.
  7. ^ Fred B. Wahr (aka Frederick Burkhart), "The Timon Mood and Its Correctives in Gerhart Hauptmann", The Germanic Review, Vol. 16, No. 2 (April 1941), p. 128 at Google Books.
  8. ^ Arthur Lincoln Scott, Mark Twain: Selected Criticism, Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1955, p. 234 at Google Books.
  9. ^ Howard G. Zettler, -Ologies & -Isms: A Thematic Dictionary, Detroit: Gale Research, 1978, →ISBN, p. 26 at Google Books.
  10. ^ John Seelye, "Dryad in a Dead Oak Tree: The Incognito in The Recognitions", in John R. Kuehl and Steven Moore (eds.), In Recognition of William Gaddis, Syracuse University Press, 1984, →ISBN, p. 80 at Google Books.
  11. ^ Paul Ollswang, "Cynicism: A Series of Cartoons on a Philosophical Theme", January 1988, page B at official site; repr. in The Best Comics of the Decade 1980-1990 Vol. 1, Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 1990, →ISBN, p. 23.
  12. ^ Fergus Hume, When I Lived in Bohemia: Papers Selected from the Portfolio of Peter ---, Esq, 1891; repr. Tait, sons & company, 1892, p. 150 at Google Books.