"You have only to walk down the street and look at the faces to see the countenance of the Fisher King. We are all wounded and it Shows. A man's relationship with his anima shows on his face. You need only walk down the street and look at the people you pass to get an immediate sense of their relation- ship with the 'anima' . A man with no relation either looks hard and inflexible and bitter, or eaten away on the inside."


Robert Johnson


"The bags under his eyes were pouches containing the smuggled memories of a disappointing life."

Graham Greene

A Burnt-Out Case


"Often a noble face hides filthy ways."



"Nothing is so silly as the expression of a man who is being complimented."

-Andre Gide



"The human face is really like one of those Oriental gods: a whole group of faces juxtaposed on different planes; it is impossible to see them all simultaneously."

-Marcel Proust



 "Although the presence of right-hemisphere advantages for so many face skills suggests that our right-hemisphere face analyzers may be doing double duty when recognizing a face's attractiveness, this may not be true. For the past ten years I have been conducting an intensive case study of a man in his mid-forties who suffers from the rare syndrome called prosopagnosia. Prosopagnosics are unable to recognize people by face, including their children or their own faces in a mirror. This man's wife has to wear a special ornament-a ribbon of a certain color or a distinctive hairclip-when they attend public events so that he will be able to find her. As I drove him home once, I saw two children in his driveway. I asked him if they were his children and he replied, "Must be, they are in my driveway."

Naancy Etcoff

Survival of the Prettiest


"The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reelection of his own face. Frown at it, and it in turn will look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly, kind companion."

-William Makepeace Thackeray


"Of all the faces we come across, our own is the one that we know the least."

Sabine Melchior Bonnet

The Mirror: A History


"I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don't trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance, any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it."

-Charles Dickens


"We think we see ourselves in the mirror, but this is not true. When I saw the old man come into my living room, I thought that it was an older person. I was dismayed. We are no more familiar with our physical aspect than with the sound of our voice."

Francois Mauriac


"The woman, knowing herself, making an object of herself, believes that she is really able to see herself in the mirror....Bored with household chores, she has the spare time to dream up her own face."

Simone de Beauvoir

The Second Sex


"Envy wears an uglier face than Lust's bloodshot eyes, or Gluttony's paunch, or Pride's camel nose, or Avarice's thin lips."

Angus Wilson


"When excited by any violent passion his face assumed an even terrible expression."

Christopher Hibbert


"There are numerous forms of psychological ugliness. There is an ugliness of stupidity, for example, of unawareness (distressingly common among pretty women). An ugliness also of greed, of lasciviousness, of avarice. All the deadly sins, indeed, have their own peculiar negation of beauty. On the pretty faces of those especially who are trying to have a continuous ‘good time,’ one sees very often a kind of bored sullenness that ruins all their charm.

Aldous Huxley


But that I saw the double face of mankind in that instant of vision I can no longer doubt. I saw man-all of us-galloping through a torrential landscape, diseased and fungoid, with that pale half-visage of nobility and despair dwarfed but serene upon a twofold countenance. "

Loren Eisley "
The Man Who Saw Through Time


"I saw the years in his face: 
The eyes of tired water, the lines of his loneliness that had lifted his temples little by little to consummated self-love."

Pablo Neruda
World's End


"God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another. "



"Unless all ages and races of men have been deluded by the same mass hypnotist (who?), there seems to be such a thing as beauty, a grace wholly gratuitous."

-Annie Dillard


"In the faces of men and women I see God. "

Walt Whitman


"It is the face which reflects the soul of man."

D.W. Griffith



"Look in my face. My name is Might-Have-Been; I am also called no more, Too Late, Farewell."




"After forty every man is responsible for his face. "

Abraham Lincoln


"Beauty depends more upon the movement of the face, than upon the form of the features at rest. Thus a countenance habitually under the influence of amiable feelings , acquires a beauty of the highest order, from the frequency with which such feelings are the originating causes of the movement or expressions which stamp their character upon it. "


Treasury of Wisdom
Adam Woolever
Pub-David Mckay-Philadelphia


"Your face my thane, is as a book where men may read strange matters. "



"The countenance may be rightly defined as the title-page which heralds the content of the human volume, but, like other title- pages, it sometimes puzzles, often misleads, and often says nothing to the purpose. "

William Mathews


"I was almost tempted to see something peculiar in which the working of his mind and the knowledge of his strength reacted on his body. His face is in complete repose and yet there is an ease of movement in all his features. There is no restlessness, no grimacing, But his facial muscles instantly express every possible nuance of pleasure or displeasure."

.G. Carus observations on Napoleon


"Few can bear to contemplate themselves face to face; for the vision is strange and terrible, and brings awe and contrition in its wake."

Evelyn Underhill
Practical Mysticism


"Anyone who has looked Hope in the face will never forget it. He will search for it everywhere he goes, among all kinds of men; and he will dream of finding it again someday, somewhere, perhaps among those closest to him."

Octavio Paz
The Labyrinth of Solitude


"One irrelevant memory comes back to me, irrelevant, and yet by some subtle trick of quality it summarizes the Change for me. It is the memory of a woman's very beautiful face, a woman with a flushed face and tear-bright eyes who went by me with-out speaking, rapt in some secret purpose. I passed her when in the afternoon of the first day, struck by a sudden remorse. I went down to Menton to send a telegram to my mother telling her all was well with me. Whither this woman went I do not know, nor whence she came; I never saw her again, and only her face, glowing with that new and luminous resolve, stands out for me....But that expression was the world's."

H.G. Wells

In the Days of the Comet


"Again the human face is the organic seat of beauty...It is the register of value in development, a record of experience, whose legitimate office is to perfect the life, a legible language to those Who will study it, of the majestic mistress, the soul...."

Eliza Fanham


"....Clothes, however, vest only the least part of the body. The seven-eights of us from the neck down are no match for the crown which sits above it: our faces. For it is in in the face that the body most clearly ceases to belong to a person and becomes what we are. Face is the physical counterpart of name, and both are easy synonyms for person: if my name and and my face are forgotten, I am nobody indeed. It is therefore, the oblation of face-the using, the shaping, the adornment of the human countenance-that, of all physical offerings lies nearest to the lifting of persons into history. If our bodies are the main thing, then our faces must be the mainmost-thing of thing, image of image, very thing of very thing."

Robert Farrar Capon

The Romance of the Word


Some day, some day of days, treading the street
with idle, headless pace,
looking for such grace,
I shall behold your face!
Some day, some day of days, thus may we meet. "

Nora Perry (1831-96)


"I have begun to see world's in people's faces. Before, I was fascinated only by natural things-terrain,color,climate,the sea, (if you don't think music is natural, then you are obviously not a physicist), the stars. I had little interest in people-in their faces and bodies-believing that this is the province of little minds which cannot see far into time. Perhaps that is why I failed to make the connection I desperately wanted to make. But now the life in faces seems to me as beautiful as the stars, or more so. I am moved so by the sight of people's eyes, various and wonderful, that to walk down a crowded street gives me fever and leaves me shaking. I have seen, of late, in the expressions of people pushing against the surf in the streets, a lot of life and a lot of pure fire. In recollection, faces float before me, shining and tranquil like distant mountains in newly arising light."


Mark Halprin
A Diagram of the Pleiades


"There is a mortifying experience in particular, which does not fail to wreak itself also in the general history of man "the foolish face of praise," the forced smile which we put on in company where we do not feel at ease in answer to conversation which does not interest us, The muscles, not spontaneously moved, but moved by a low usurping willfulness, grow tightly about the outline of the face with the most disagreeable sensation."



'He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star."

William Blake


"Trust not too much an enchanting face."



"It is the common wonder of all men, how among so many million of faces there should be none alike."

Sir Thomas Browne


"Sometimes I would have a hard time telling whether your face was your face or whether I was there-rather than that it was myself, rather than any extension or anything else-just merely the self in the same way as any other part of oneself. In many ways there was kind of a relaxing feeling, almost like being asleep for three years."

Paul Bindrim


"Show me your original face which you had before your father and mother conceived you! Show me-in other words-your genuine, deepest self, not the self which depends on family and conditioning, on learning or experience, or any kind of artifice."

Alan Watts


"Every European visitor to the United States is struck by the comparative rarity of what he would call a face, by the frequency of men and women who look like elderly babies. If he stays in the States for any length of time, he will learn that this cannot be put down to a lack of sensibility-The American feels the joys and sufferings of human life as keenly as anybody else. The only plausible explanation I can find lies in his different attitude to the past. To have a face, in the European sense of the word, it would seem that one must not only enjoy and suffer but also desire to preserve the memory of even the most humiliating and unpleasant experiences of the past."

W.H. Auden


"The faces of most American women over thirty are relief maps of petulant and bewildered unhappiness."

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)


"A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Conduct of Life


"A man’s face as a rule says more, and more interesting things, than his mouth, for it is a compendium of everything his mouth will ever say, in that it is the monogram of this man’s thoughts and aspirations."

Arthur Schopenhaur (1788-1860)


"What is a face, really? Its own photo? Its make-up? Or is it a face as painted by such of such painter? That which is in front? Inside? Behind? And the rest? Doesn’t everyone look at himself in his own particular way? Deformations simply do not exist.?

Pablo Picasso


"The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it in turn will look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly, kind companion."

-William Makepeace Thackeray


"Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn."



"I wander thru’ each charter’d street,
near where the charter’d Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe."

William Blake



"Consider human faces, for example. Anyone who takes a moment to think will realize the marvelous fact that human faces are, at the same time, very much alike and yet very different. Among the vast numbers of men and women on earth, every human face is like every other human face and there is no difficulty in distinguishing the human species from that of the rest of the animals. At the same time, every human face is unlike every other face and there is no difficulty in telling one person from another. We say that faces are all alike, and yet we find them all different. We should expect all faces to look alike, since all persons share the same human nature. Variety is the real surprise, finding all faces different."

Saint Augustine


   "Contemporary psychology and philosophy are fascinated by the dynamics of the human face. On the one hand, by "face" we mean actual physical human faces. Psychological studies show that as early as nine minutes after birth, the child differentiates the face from other patterns. A consistent loving face (usually the mother or primary care-giver) provides the developmental space for the emergence of the child's ego functions, through which she faces the world as a distinct personality. The ability of human beings to recognize their own faces in a mirror at about two years of age is one of the marks of the emergence of self-consciousness. The Latin word persona is derived from Greek prosopon and originally referred to the mask of an actor. We commonly hear of social facades, of putting on a happy face, of saving face. A stone face excludes; a warm face welcomes. A face (like Helen of Troy's) can launch a thousand ships-or sink them. Our developmental need to be subjectively recognized, understood, and shown an affirming face and our relational experiences regarding those needs exert a powerful influence on the formation of the self."

F. Leron Shults & Steven J. Sandage

The Faces Of Forgiveness: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation


"The most widely loved (and profitable) faces in the modern world tend to be exceptionally basic and abstract cartoons: Mickey Mouse, the Simpsons, Tintin, and-simplest of all, barely more than a circle, two dots. and a horizontal line-Charlie Brown."

-Jonathan Franzen

The Discomfort Zone


Book: "A Closer Shave: Man's Daily Search for Perfection" by Wallace G. Pinfold

Book: "Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work" by Mark Edward Harris

Book: "The Face In The Mirror: The Search for the Origins of Consciousness" by Julian Paul Kennan et al.

Book: "A brief History of the Smile" by Angus Trumble

Book: "The Faces of Forgiveness: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation" by F. Leron Shults & Steven J. Sandage

Book: "The Painted Face: Portraits of Women in France d1814-1914" by Tamar Garb

© 2010



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