Helen Keller? Van Wyck Brooks? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: An inspirational adage encouraging boldness and audacity has been attributed to Helen Keller who overcame great adversity:
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
Is this accurate?
Quote Investigator: Helen Keller did write a closely matching statement; however, the appended phrase “at all” was not present in the original text.
In 1940 Keller published “Let Us Have Faith” and a chapter titled “Faith Fears Not” contained the following passage. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. God Himself is not secure, having given man dominion over His works! Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1946 (1940 Copyright), Let Us Have Faith by Helen Keller, Chapter: Faith Fears Not, Quote Page 50 and 51, Doubleday & Company, Garden City, New York. (Verified with scans of 1946 reprint of 1940 edition) ↩