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  • I know women whose entire personas are woven from a benign mediocrity.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • But after a time their unrelenting mediocrity palled, and I became weary of the sameness of the job, weary too of chain-smoking and the smog-shrouded view of Manhattan, and of pecking out such callous reader’s reports as the following, which I have salvaged intact from that dry and dispiriting time.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • They wouldn’t know mediocrity if it punched them right in their fat faces.
    Toni Morrison  --  Song of Solomon
  • Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.
    Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22

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  • He vanished without a trace-into the great unknown of mediocrity.
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
  • After eighteen years of mediocrity, I was pretty used to being average.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Breaking Dawn
  • If you are content with success, what mediocrity, and with conquering, what wretchedness!
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • His attentions to Miss King were now the consequence of views solely and hatefully mercenary; and the mediocrity of her fortune proved no longer the moderation of his wishes, but his eagerness to grasp at anything.
    Jane Austen  --  Pride and Prejudice
  • They weren’t afraid of him any more, for he did not seduce their wives or lure them out of sweet mediocrity.
    John Steinbeck  --  East of Eden
  • It’s why picking the right candidate for a job is so difficult and why, on more occasions than we may care to admit, utter mediocrities sometimes end up in positions of enormous responsibility.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  Blink

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  • Domestic mediocrity drove her to lewd fancies, marriage tenderness to adulterous desires.
    Gustave Flaubert  --  Madame Bovary
  • Here, then, was this grey-headed, ungodly old man, chasing with curses a Job’s whale round the world, at the head of a crew, too, chiefly made up of mongrel renegades, and castaways, and cannibals—morally enfeebled also, by the incompetence of mere unaided virtue or right-mindedness in Starbuck, the invunerable jollity of indifference and recklessness in Stubb, and the pervading mediocrity in Flask.
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
  • In fact, I thought you were behaving like a tramp only to emphasize the mediocrity of the saps whose works you had to write about.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • Pleasantries, self-satisfied mediocrity will serve us badly.
    John F. Kennedy  --  Profiles in Courage
  • I might get some power and distinction by mere mediocrity, as they do; at least I should get those middling satisfactions which make men contented to do without great ones.
    George Eliot  --  The Mill on the Floss
  • This low abject brood, That fix their seats in mediocrity, Become your servile minds; but we advance Such virtues only as admit excess, Brave, bounteous acts, regal magnificence, All-seeing prudence, magnanimity That knows no bound, and that heroic virtue For which antiquity hath left no name, But patterns only, such as Hercules, Achilles, Theseus.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • Like exceptional emphasis in the tone of a genius, that which would have made mediocrity ridiculous was an addition to recognised power.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd
  • How you managed to get that by the mediocrity police I will never know.
    Dan Simmons  --  Hyperion
  • This man would have been notable anywhere: among the thin-hammed, flat-chested mediocrities of Chandrapore he stood out as divine, yet he was of the city, its garbage had nourished him, he would end on its rubbish heaps.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Passage to India
  • I don’t know who lives here, but behind that glazed door there must be a paradise of cleanliness and spotless mediocrity, of ordered ways, a touching and anxious devotion to life’s little habits and tasks.
    Hermann Hesse  --  Steppenwolf
  • You will take in the whole of the past, you will consider times, persons, and probabilities, and you will feel that they were not least your friends who were educating and preparing you for that mediocrity of condition which seemed to be your lot.
    Jane Austen  --  Mansfield Park
  • She could not admit at once that she might have overestimated Wildeve, for to perceive his mediocrity now was to admit her own great folly heretofore.
    Thomas Hardy  --  The Return of the Native
  • But though he had a fine flux of words, and delivered his little voice with great pomposity and pleasure to himself, and never advanced any sentiment or opinion which was not perfectly trite and stale, and supported by a Latin quotation; yet he failed somehow, in spite of a mediocrity which ought to have insured any man a success.
    William Makepeace Thackeray  --  Vanity Fair
  • Had she actually believed that she could plant a seed of liberalism in the blank wall of mediocrity?
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Main Street
  • That was one manifestation of fear, that voice which whispered that he could not be both great and good, that genius was the exact combination of those inexplicable grooves and twists in his mind, that any discipline would curb it to mediocrity.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  This Side of Paradise
  • I remembered those moments because there were so few of them and because the sport had tamed me with the knowledge of my own limitations, my earnest mediocrity.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Lords of Discipline
  • I assure you we can’t bear mediocrities.
    Oscar Wilde  --  The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • But the Writers of Morall Philosophie, though they acknowledge the same Vertues and Vices; Yet not seeing wherein consisted their Goodnesse; nor that they come to be praised, as the meanes of peaceable, sociable, and comfortable living; place them in a mediocrity of passions: as if not the Cause, but the Degree of daring, made Fortitude; or not the Cause, but the Quantity of a gift, made Liberality.
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • The strength of this immutable desire saved her from the mediocrity and sadness of her fate.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • The crowd, by definition, gravitates toward average, which could tend toward middle of the road or toward mediocrity.
    Tim Tebow  --  Through My Eyes
  • In this respect they had adapted themselves to the very condition of the plague, all the more potent for its mediocrity.
    Albert Camus  --  The Plague
  • Which brings us back to our previous question about his mediocrity or more-than-mediocrity, to which we do not wish to give a conclusive answer.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • I could shriek aloud at the smug self-satisfaction, at the mediocrity of this world, which breeds horse-dealers with coral ornaments hanging from their watch-chains.
    Virginia Woolf  --  The Waves
  • LADY P: Me thought, the golden mediocrity, Polite and delicate— VOLP: O, if you do love me, No more; I sweat, and suffer, at the mention Of any dream: feel, how I tremble yet.
    Ben Jonson  --  Volpone
  • "What has preserved this race of Adamses in all their ramifications in such numbers, health, peace, comfort, and mediocrity?" this firstborn son of Deacon John would one day write to Benjamin Rush.
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • It seems probable that mediocrity of fortune would have been disposed to be less magnanimous than the Collegians, who lived from hand to mouth—from the pawnbroker’s hand to the day’s dinner.
    Charles Dickens  --  Little Dorrit
  • The term of nine years appears to be a prudent mediocrity between a total exclusion of adopted citizens, whose merits and talents may claim a share in the public confidence, and an indiscriminate and hasty admission of them, which might create a channel for foreign influence on the national councils.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • He exulted in his popularity among the students, his heart pounded with pride under all the pins and emblems, but he resented being considered an eccentric, and he envied those of his fellows who were elected to office for their solid golden mediocrity.
    Thomas Wolfe  --  Look Homeward, Angel
  • Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times, and hurl in the face of custom, and trade, and office, the fact which is the upshot of all history, that there is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working wherever a man works; that a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the center of things.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • Greatness and power are for him—for them, mediocrity and dependence.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 2
  • He had not the knack of surrounding himself with nice people—indeed, for a man of ability and virtue his choice had been singularly unfortunate; he had no guiding principle beyond a certain preference for mediocrity; he was content to settle one of the greatest things in life haphazard, and so, while his investments went right, his friends generally went wrong.
    E.M. Forster  --  Howards End
  • …for a moment, when she kissed his hand, regretted, envied him even, remembered possibly (for he saw her look it) something he had said—how they would change the world if she married him perhaps; whereas, it was this; it was middle age; it was mediocrity; then forced herself with her indomitable vitality to put all that aside, there being in her a thread of life which for toughness, endurance, power to overcome obstacles, and carry her triumphantly through he had never known the like…
    Virginia Woolf  --  Mrs. Dalloway
  • Gregariousness is always the refuge of mediocrities, whether they swear by Soloviev or Kant or Marx.
    Boris Pasternak  --  Doctor Zhivago
  • Mediocrity, no: do not let envy prompt you to the thought.
    Charlotte Bronte  --  Jane Eyre
  • Mediocrity, you see, has its compensations.
    Jack London  --  Sea Wolf
  • You have an unerring instinct for mediocrity.’
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
  • Which brings us back to our previous question about his mediocrity or more-than-mediocrity, to which we do not wish to give a conclusive answer.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • It was all right for a disreputable mediocrity like Simon Pritchett to drool it as some sort of woozy mysticism-nobody listened to him.
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
  • Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.
    Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
  • Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone’s work prove greater than their own-they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top.
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
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