Archive

Quotes

It has always been my practice to cast a long paragraph in a single mold, to try it by my ear, to deposit it in my memory, but to suspend the action of the pen till I had given the last polish to my work.

—Edward Gibbon, c. 1790

Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.

—W.H. Auden, c. 1940

If a king loves music, there is little wrong in the land.

—Mencius, c. 330 BC

Everyone should know nowadays the unimportance of the photographic in art—that truth, life, or reality is an organic thing which the poetic imagination can represent or suggest, in essence, only through transformation, through changing into other forms than those which were merely present in appearance.

—Tennessee Williams, 1944

When we see a natural style we are quite amazed and delighted, because we expected to see an author and find a man.

—Blaise Pascal, c. 1657

We possess art lest we perish of the truth.

—Friedrich Nietzsche, 1887

Modesty is a virtue not often found among poets, for almost every one of them thinks himself the greatest in the world.

—Miguel de Cervantes, 1615

Art transcends its limitations only by staying within them.

—Flannery O’Connor, 1964

I never know quite when I’m not writing. Sometimes my wife comes up to me at a party and says, Dammit, Thurber, stop writing. She usually catches me in the middle of a paragraph. Or my daughter will look up from the dinner table and ask, Is he sick? No, my wife says, he’s writing something.

—James Thurber, 1955

Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.

—Henry David Thoreau, 1852

A frenzied passion for art is a canker that devours everything else.

—Charles Baudelaire, 1852

I cannot live without books, but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.

—Thomas Jefferson, 1815

Nowadays three witty turns of phrase and a lie make a writer.

—G.C. Lichtenberg, c. 1780