Edward Albee

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The happy think a lifetime short, but to the unhappy one night can be an eternity.
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Edward Franklin Albee III (born 1928-03-12) is an American playwright , known for works including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Zoo Story, The Sandbox and The American Dream.


  • What I wanted to get at is the value difference between pornographic playing-cards when you're a kid, and pornographic playing-cards when you're older. It's that when you're a kid you use the cards as a substitute for a real experience, and when you're older you use real experience as a substitute for the fantasy.
    • The Zoo Story (1959).
  • I have a fine sense of the ridiculous, but no sense of humour.
    • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961)
  • The gods too are fond of a joke.
    • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961)
  • You gotta have a swine to show you where the truffles are.
    • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961)
  • One must let the play happen to one; one must let the mind loose to respond as it will, to receive impressions, to sense rather than know, to gather rather than immediately understand.
    • On his play Tiny Alice, in National Observer (5 April 1965)
  • I'm not suggesting that the play is without fault; all of my plays are imperfect, I'm rather happy to say — it leaves me something to do.
    • On his play Tiny Alice, in National Observer (5 April 1965)
  • Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it. A good writer turns fact into truth; a bad writer will, more often than not, accomplish the opposite.
    • Saturday Review (4 May 1966)
  • A play is fiction — and fiction is fact distilled into truth.
    • The New York Times (18 September 1966)
  • Your source material is the people you know, not those you don't know, [but] every character is an extension of the author's own personality.
    • The New York Times (18 September 1966)
  • What people really want in the theater is fantasy involvement and not reality involvement.
    • Quote (4 June 1967)
  • American critics are like American universities. They both have dull and half-dead faculties.
    • Address to New York Cultural League (6 May 1969)


  • A playwright is someone who lets his guts hang out on the stage.
  • I have been both overpraised and underpraised. I assume by the time I finish writing — and I plan to go on writing until I'm ninety or gaga — it will all equal itself out... You can't involve yourself with the vicissitudes of fashion or critical response.
  • If Attila the Hun were alive today, he'd be a drama critic.
  • The difference between critics and audiences is that one is a group of humans and one is not.
  • Remember one thing about democracy. We can have anything we want and at the same time, we always end up with exactly what we deserve.
  • Sometimes a person has to go a very long distance out of his way to come back a short distance correctly.
  • The only time I'll get good reviews is if I kill myself.


  • It is three and a half hours long, four characters wide and a cesspool deep.
    • John Chapman on Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in The New York Daily News (15 October 1962)

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