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Quotes

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

—Charles Baudelaire, 1852

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

If my books had been any worse I should not have been invited to Hollywood, and if they had been any better I should not have come.

—Raymond Chandler, 1945

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

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

—Thomas Jefferson, 1815

This is a fault common to all singers, that among their friends they will never sing when they are asked; unasked, they will never desist.

—Horace, c. 35 BC

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

—Mencius , c. 330 BC

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

To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel that discernment is but a hand playing with finely ordered variety on the chords of emotion—a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge. One may have that condition by fits only.

—George Eliot, c. 1872

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

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

—G.C. Lichtenberg, c. 1780

I don’t believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all. If there’s one thing that’s dangerous for an artist, it’s precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and all the rest of it.

—Federico Fellini, c. 1950

The work of art, just like any fragment of human life considered in its deepest meaning, seems to me devoid of value if it does not offer the hardness, the rigidity, the regularity, the luster on every interior and exterior facet, of the crystal.

—André Breton, 1937