Passages

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Vanessa Redgrave


I've been to Sarajevo a few times and have got to know a lot of people there who put on plays during the siege. I wanted to share in that because I knew it was important to them . . . I began to see something of what was going on there in terms of actually keeping up people's spirit to resist - the resistance that causes change - even in the worst imaginable circumstances. And I realized that it paralleled the same spirit that existed during the Holocaust and in the gulag. Theater and poetry were what helped people stay alive and want to go on living. That experience changed me, because I realized that if, as actors or writers or directors or designers, we can keep the will to resist alive in as many people as possible, then that's what we are about, and that's what we can do. It's more and more important because of the terrible things that are happening in our cities and the political and economic agendas that various governments have.


The great writers like Chekhov know that tragedy and laughter are just a few steps from each other ... but it took me a long time as an actress to learn that. Actually Arthur Miller taught me in the Seventies. We were making a CBS TV drama of his play Playing for Time about Auschwitz but the characters were laughing. It was a big insight for me to realise that that was what's called gallows humour, in this case worse than the gallows, that humans need to laugh and make jokes in order to survive.


“The society Shakespeare knew was heading for tremendous change, and he seems to have recognized that and written about it in a coded way. I understand those codes, I think”


I've come to see through the course of my life that people understand what I've tried to do, however inadequately I do it. I've just found people have come to understand me and be glad that I tried to do what I tried to do. And I do feel very inadequate about it, but I feel I must try . . . I think that any citizen can understand that you must raise your voice and do the best you can to speak out.


Sergei Rachmaninoff


A good conductor ought to be a good chauffeur; the qualities that make the one also make the other. They are concentration, an incessant control of attention, and presence of mind; the conductor only has to add a little sense of music.


I feel like a ghost wandering in a world grown alien. I cannot cast out the old way of writing and I cannot acquire the new. I have made an intense effort to feel the musical manner of today, but it will not come to me.


I can respect the artistic aim of a composer if he arrives at the so-called modern idiom after an intense period of preparation…Such composers know what they are doing when they break a law; they know what to react against, because they have had experience in the classical forms and style. Having mastered the rules, they know which can be violated and which should be obeyed. But, I am sorry to say, I have found too often that young composers plunge into the writing of experimental music with their school lessons only half learned. Too much radical music is sheer sham, for this very reason: its composer sets about revolutionizing the laws of music before he learned them himself.


The virtuosos look to the students of the world to do their share in the education of the great musical public. Do not waste your time with music that is trite or ignoble. Life is too short to spend it wandering in the barren Saharas of musical trash.


Winston Churchill


If you're going through hell, keep going.


The price of greatness is responsibility.


There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.


To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.


Never, never, never give up.


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.


Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.


We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.


We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.


Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.


I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.


The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.


James Joyce


Mistakes are the portals of discovery.


Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality. It speaks of what seems fantastic and unreal to those who have lost the simple intuitions which are the test of reality; and, as it is often found at war with its age, so it makes no account of history, which is fabled by the daughters of memory.


All things are inconstant except the faith in the soul, which changes all things and fills their inconstancy with light, but though I seem to be driven out of my country as a misbeliever I have found no man yet with a faith like mine.


History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.


Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.


Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.


A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.


Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.


There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.


Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.


When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.


riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.





Shiki Masaoka


“So you can't make a living as a novelist—why not try farming or teaching? Or even begging—what difficulties would that present? Were you born into the world to make a living? Or have you another aim, that of becoming a novelist or something akin? If you want to become a novelist but are worried about how you will eat, then let me share my bowl of rice with you (though I am not as well off as I once was). If, in return, you become a great novelist, it will be my greatest joy. . . . I do not presume to urge you to become a novelist. I say only this—be firm of purpose and don't worry about trivialities.


And remember the saying: the final tax you pay to achieve your goal is your life.”


“two feet tall,

the crimson-budded roses,

their young thorns

tender in

the soft spring rain”


“I do not know the day

my pain will end yet

in the little garden

I had them plant

seeds of autumn flowers”



Marcel Duchamp


I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art - and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.


I am not going to New York, I am leaving Paris. That's quite different. Long before the war [World War 1.] I already had a distaste for the 'artistic life' I was involved in. – It's quite the opposite of what I'm looking for. – And so I tried, through the Library, to escape from artists somewhat. Then, with the war, my incompatibility with this milieu grew. I wanted to go away at all costs. Where to? My only option was New York where I knew you [Walter Pach, artist and friend of Duchamp] and where I hope to be able to escape leading the artistic life, if needs be through a job which will keep me very busy. I ask you to keep all this from my brothers [all his brothers were artists as well] because I know my leaving will be very painful for them. – the same goes for my father and sisters.


Yes, indeed, what have we been up to? I feel rather like I've retired to the country, in some remote province, for that's what my life is like in N. Y. I see few people and people don’t try to see me anymore as they know they bore me. I write to the Arensberg's once a year and they do the same. There is a general weariness which, I think, is not confined to our generation. To tell the truth, most people prefer war to peace.. .Well, there you are, my dear Yvonne. Nothing as usual. Chess as much as possible: at least chess players don’t talk


The individual, man as a man, man as a brain, if you like, interests me more than what he makes, because I've noticed that most artists only repeat themselves.


I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.


I don't believe in art. I believe in artists.







Mike Ditka


"I always tell people I want to live to be 150 and they say why would you want to do that. I say, well there's a few people I haven't made mad yet, I want to get them."


"What's the difference between a 3-week old puppy and a sportswriter? In six weeks the puppy will stop whining."


"I've been into the habit of freezing white grapes and using them as a snack. Instead of eating peanuts or popcorn or something like that or pretzels, I just eat the white grapes."


"Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal."


"I'm not a mean player. You'll notice that I never pick on anyone with a number higher than 30."


"He's a young guy with a lot of enthusiasm and he's really proud to be a Pittsburgh guy. And you have to have a Pittsburgh guy here. You don't need any more California guys here, gang. We don't need any of that crap. They come and go like the flies."


"If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn't have given us arms."


"Before you can win, you have to believe that you are worthy."



Aretha Franklin


Sam Cooke had a huge influence on me. He left the gospel field at one point and went into the secular, and he had this huge hit, 'You Send Me.' Irma, my older sister, and I heard 'You Send Me' on the radio while we were driving through the South one night. We had to stop the car. We got out and danced around the car out on the highway.


Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that.


Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.


I sing to the realists; people who accept it like it is.


I always felt rock and roll was very, very wholesome music.


Don't say Aretha is making a comeback, because I've never been away!


I'm the lady next door when I'm not on stage.


My faith always has been and always will be important to me.


I think the hardest thing is losing weight. That's the hardest thing more than anything else.


Samuel L. Jackson


I hope Obama gets scary in the next four years, 'cuz he ain't gotta worry about getting re-elected.


I voted for Barack because he was black. 'Cuz that's why other folks vote for other people - because they look like them... That's American politics, pure and simple.


I just always knew that I lived in two worlds. There was the world of my house and community, but to make my way in that white world I had to modify the way I spoke and acted. I had to sometimes not make direct eye contact.


I'm a good son, a good father, a good husband - I've been married to the same woman for 30 years. I'm a good friend. I finished college, I have my education, I donate money anonymously. So when people criticize the kind of characters that I play on screen, I go, 'You know, that's part of history.'


We've come a long way in our thinking, but also in our moral decay. I can't imagine Dr. King watching the 'Real Housewives' or 'Jersey Shore.'


Not everybody goes to movies to get their life changed.


All movies aren't fun; some are hard work. You try to do something and convey a set of emotions that have to do with some real life kind of stuff.


I actually think I have an audience member's sensibility about going to the movies.



Indira Gandhi


You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.


You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.


Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.


The power to question is the basis of all human progress.


A nation' s strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.


Martyrdom does not end something, it only a beginning.


My father was a statesman, I am a political woman. My father was a saint. I am not.


There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.


One must beware of ministers who can do nothing without money, and those who want to do everything with money.


If I die a violent death, as some fear and a few are plotting, I know that the violence will be in the thought and the action of the assassins, not in my dying.


Amos Oz


A conflict begins and ends in the hearts and minds of people, not in the hilltops.


The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a tragedy, a clash between one very powerful, very convincing, very painful claim over this land and another no less powerful, no less convincing claim. Now such a clash between right claims can be resolved in one of two manners. There's the Shakespeare tradition of resolving a tragedy with the stage hewed with dead bodies and justice of sorts prevails. But there is also the Chekhov tradition. In the conclusion of the tragedy by Chekhov, everyone is disappointed, disillusioned, embittered, heartbroken, but alive. And my colleagues and I have been working, trying...not to find the sentimental happy ending, a brotherly love, a sudden honeymoon to the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy, but a Chekhovian ending, which means clenched teeth compromise.


I find the family the most mysterious and fascinating institution in the world.


All of my novels are democracies


Benjamin Britten


It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony.


These two are not two Love has made them one Amo Ergo Sum! And by its mystery Each is no less but more.


Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house. Slowly you see more details of the house-the color of the slates and bricks, the shape of the windows. The notes are the bricks and the mortar of the house.


The old idea of a composer suddenly having a terrific idea and sitting up all night to write it is nonsense. Nighttime is for sleeping.


Music does not exist until it is performed.




E. M. Forster


There is fascism, leading only into the blackness which it has chosen as its symbol, into smartness and yapping out of orders, and self-righteous brutality, into social as well as international war. It means change without hope. Our immediate duty — in that tinkering which is the only useful form of action in our leaky old tub — our immediate duty is to stop it.


How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?


We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.


Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.


If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.


Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.


The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.


What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?


Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him.


One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.


We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand.



Tilda Swinton


I do like not knowing where I'm going, wandering in strange woods, whistling and following bread crumbs.


The stories I most love are about the benefits of being blown off course.


My whole relationship with Bowie started when I was 13, and I bought a copy of 'Aladdin Sane' when I didn't have a record player. I had this record for a year before I could play it, and it was the image - not the sound - that I was attracted to. I just saw this image and thought he was my cousin.


I don't really look like people in films; I look like people in paintings.


I was a professional gambler. When I lived in London, there were a couple of years when I didn't really earn money doing anything else. I mean, I did other things: like, I made work, and I was working with Derek Jarman at the time, but the way I made money was putting money on horses.


There is something insane about a lack of doubt. Doubt - to me, anyway - is what makes you human, and without doubt, even the righteous lose their grip, not only on reality but also on their humanity.


I spent a lot of time thinking that I was some kind of foundling, that I had been a changeling, that I had been found under a bush somewhere, and that I couldn't possibly be kin - but the more I live, the more I feel absolutely like I come out of my family. I'm a sort of strange natural progression.


I'm amazed now whenever I go back to London. I'm like, 'Wow. I used to kind of swing up these streets when I knew how this machine worked.' And then when you don't, you lose that. You need to get your license back. I do know how to plant a garden and keep chickens, but I don't know how to do much else.



Gary Oldman


Speaking very generally, I find that women are spiritually, emotionally, and often physically stronger than men.


I used to be under the impression that in some kind of wanky, bullshit way, acting was like therapy: you get in and grapple with and exorcise all those demons inside of you. I don't believe that anymore. It's like a snow shaker. You shake the thing up, but it can't escape the glass. It can't get out. And it will settle until the next time you shake it up.


My passion and energy get mistaken for anger.


I was quiet, a loner. I was one of those children where, if you put me in a room and gave me some crayons and a pencils, you wouldn't hear from me for nine straight hours. And I was always drawing racing cars and rockets and spaceships and planes, things that were very fast that would take me away.


How many movies do you see when you can say this director really knew what film he wanted to make? I can count them on the fingers of one hand.


You choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color.


’Nil By Mouth’ was a bit autobiographical, but as I always pointed out at the time, that’s not my dad.


Interesting things come your way but as you get older, your lifestyle changes. I don't want to travel; I don't want to be in a hotel room away from my family.


Denzel Washington


You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That's a part of it.


Acting is just a way of making a living, the family is life.


I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it.


I'd be more frightened by not using whatever abilities I'd been given. I'd be more frightened by procrastination and laziness.


My mother used to tell me man gives the award, God gives the reward. I don't need another plaque.


If I am a cup maker, I'm interested in making the best cup I possibly can. My effort goes into that cup, not what people think about it.


I never really had the classic struggle. I had faith.


If you don't trust the pilot, don't go.


If you have an enemy, then learn and know your enemy, don't just be mad at him or her.


My mother never gave up one me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.


Steven Bochco


Vivid images are like a beautiful melody that speaks to you on an emotional level. It bypasses your logic centers and even your intellect and goes to a different part of the brain.


Hill Street Blues might have been the first television show that had a memory. One episode after another was part of a cumulative experience shared by the audience.


The thing that always interests me from a storytelling point of view is how that moment of trauma, whatever the trauma is, even divorce, your dog dies, whatever it is, the consequence, in terms of people's emotional lives and the way it resonates behaviorally for a long time, is really the stuff that interests me.


Television and film are such streamlined story mediums. You can't really meander about, whereas a novel is an interior experience.


The entertainment world, television, movies, social media, YouTube stuff, we're so bombarded with so much imagery and such a great sense of inhumanity, and there is a coarseness, a coarsening of interaction.


When you look at Mark Zuckerberg and Snapchat and all these twentysomething billionaires, it's really kind of fascinating; a classic tale of the haves and have-nots.



Hans Christian Andersen


Where words fail, music speaks.


Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.


Life is like a beautiful melody, only the lyrics are messed up.


Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.


Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers.


Enjoy life. There's plenty of time to be dead.


A human life is a story told by God.


Travelling expands the mind rarely.


Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan's egg.


Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with short steps.



Washington Irving


Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.


Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.


A tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.


A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.


Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.


Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.


There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.


They who drink beer will think beer.


A woman's whole life is a history of the affections.


The tongue is the only instrument that gets sharper with use.



Umberto Eco


I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.


The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.


Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry.


Translation is the art of failure.


When men stop believing in God, it isn't that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything.


Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.


Nothing gives a fearful man more courage than another's fear.


A dream is a scripture, and many scriptures are nothing but dreams.


I felt like poisoning a monk.


The comic is the perception of the opposite; humor is the feeling of it.




Teresa of Ávila


The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.


There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.


Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.


Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.


To have courage for whatever comes in life - everything lies in that.


To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience.


For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.


I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.


We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can - namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us.


I know the power obedience has of making things easy which seem impossible.


Doris Lessing


You know, whenever women make imaginary female kingdoms in literature, they are always very permissive, to use the jargon word, and easy and generous and self-indulgent, like the relationships between women when there are no men around. They make each other presents, and they have little feasts, and nobody punishes anyone else. This is the female way of going along when there are no men about or when men are not in the ascendant.


Does political correctness have a good side? Yes, it does, for it makes us re-examine attitudes, and that is always useful. The trouble is that, as with all popular movements, the lunatic fringe so quickly ceases to be a fringe; the tail begins to wag the dog. For every woman or man who is quietly and sensibly using the idea to look carefully at our assumptions, there are twenty rabble-rousers whose real motive is a desire for power over others. The fact that they see themselves as antiracists or feminists or whatever does not make them any less rabble-rousers.


Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.


Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.


Trust no friend without faults, and love a woman, but no angel.


Laughter is by definition healthy.


If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.


In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.


There is only one real sin and that is to persuade oneself that the second best is anything but second best.


What is a hero without love for mankind.


Borrowing is not much better than begging; just as lending with interest is not much better than stealing.



Fumiko Enchi


Fumiko Enchi (2 October 1905 — 12 November 1986) was the pen-name of Fumiko Ueda, one of the most prominent Japanese women writers in the Shōwa period of Japan.


“Even the sadistic misogyny of Buddha and Christ was nothing but an attempt to gain the better of a vastly superior opponent.”


“Just as there is an archetype of woman as the object of man's eternal love, so there must be an archetype of her as the object of his eternal fear, representing, perhaps, the shadow of his own evil actions.”


“Her spirit alternated constantly between spells of lyricism and spirit possession, making no philosophical distinction between the self alone and in relation to others, and unable to achieve the solace of a religious indifference.”


“A woman's love is quick to turn into a passion for revenge--an obsession that becomes an endless river of blood, flowing on from generation to generation.”


“Happiness--a small-scale, endearing, harmonious happiness--surely dwelt here beneath the low-powered lamps in the tiny rooms of these houses. A small-scale happiness and a modest harmony: let a man cry out, let him rage, let him howl with grief with all the power of which he was capable, what more than these could he ever hope to gain in this life?”




Toni Morrison


It’s important, therefore, to know who the real enemy is, and to know the function, the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up.


You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.


I think women dwell quite a bit on the duress under which they work, on how hard it is just to do it at all. We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I'm not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for all that.


The idea of a wanton woman is something I have inserted into almost all of my books. An outlaw figure who is disallowed in the community because of her imagination or activity or status — that kind of anarchic figure has always fascinated me. And the benefits they bring with them, in spite of the fact that they are either dismissed or upbraided — something about their presence is constructive in the long run.


Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.



Dmitri Shostakovitch


There can be no music without ideology. The old composers, whether they knew it or not, were upholding a political theory. Most of them, of course, were bolstering the rule of the upper classes. Only Beethoven was a forerunner of the revolutionary movement. If you read his letters, you will see how often he wrote to his friends that he wished to give new ideas to the public and rouse it to revolt against its masters.


A great piece of music is beautiful regardless of how it is performed. Any prelude or fugue of Bach can be played at any tempo, with or without rhythmic nuances, and it will still be great music. That's how music should be written, so that no-one, no matter how philistine, can ruin it.


Music is a means capable of expressing dark dramatism and pure rapture, suffering and ecstasy, fiery and cold fury, melancholy and wild merriment – and the subtlest nuances and interplay of these feelings which words are powerless to express and which are unattainable in painting and sculpture.


Jewish folk music has made a most powerful impression on me. I never tire of delighting in it, it's multifaceted, it can appear to be happy while it is tragic. It's almost always laughter through tears. This quality of Jewish folk music is close to my ideas of what music should be. There should always be two layers in music. Jews were tormented for so long that they learned to hide their despair. They express despair in dance music.


I think it is clear to everyone what happens in the Fifth. The rejoicing is forced, created under threat, as in Boris Godunov. It's as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, "Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing," and you rise, shaky, and go marching off, muttering, "Our business is rejoicing, our business is rejoicing."



Danforth “Dan” Quayle


Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.


For NASA, space is still a high priority.


It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.


The future will be better tomorrow.


I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.


If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.


Mars is essentially in the same orbit. … Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.


What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.


People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.


It's time for the human race to enter the solar system.


I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.




Nikolai Gogol


The experience of ages has shown that a man who works on the land is purer, nobler, higher, and more moral... Agriculture should be at the basis of everything. That's my idea.


Ah, steeds, steeds, what steeds! Has the whirlwind a home in your manes? Is there a sensitive ear, alert as a flame, in your every fiber? Hearing the familiar song from above, all in one accord you strain your bronze chests and, hooves barely touching the ground, turn into straight lines cleaving the air, and all inspired by God it rushes on!


He who has talent in him must be purer in soul than anyone else. Another will be forgiven much, but to him it will not be forgiven. A man who leaves the house in bright, festive clothes needs only one drop of mud splashed from under a wheel, and people all surround him, point their fingers at him, and talk about his slovenliness, while the same people ignore many spots on other passers-by who are wearing everyday clothes. For on everyday clothes the spots do not show.


The current generation now sees everything clearly, it marvels at the errors, it laughs at the folly of its ancestors, not seeing that this chronicle is all overscored by divine fire, that every letter of it cries out, that from everywhere the piercing finger is pointed at it, at this current generation; but the current generation laughs and presumptuously, proudly begins a series of new errors, at which their descendants will also laugh afterwards.


Like all of us sinners, General Betrishchev was endowed with many virtues and many defects. Both the one and the other were scattered through him in a sort of picturesque disorder. Self-sacrifice, magnanimity in decisive moments, courage, intelligence--and with all that, a generous mixture of self-love, ambition, vanity, petty personal ticklishness, and a good many of those things which a man simply cannot do without.



Fanny Burney


Frances Burney (13 June 1752 – 6 January 1840), also known as Fanny Burney and after marriage as Madame d'Arblay, was an English novelist, poet, diarist, and playwright.


Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There's no looking at a building after seeing Italy.


I am ashamed of confessing that I have nothing to confess.


To have some account of my thoughts, manners, acquaintance and actions, when the hour arrives in which time is more nimble than memory, is the reason which induces me to keep a journal: a journal in which I must confess my every thought, must open my whole heart!


Look at your [English] ladies of quality—are they not forever parting with their husbands—forfeiting their reputations—and is their life aught but dissipation? In common genteel life, indeed, you may now and then meet with very fine girls—who have politeness, sense and conversation—but these are few—and then look at your trademen's daughters—what are they?—poor creatures indeed! all pertness, imitation and folly.


When once—which every body must be—you are convinced of the wickedness and deceit of men, it is impossible to preserve untainted your own innocence of heart. Experience will prove the depravity of mankind, and the conviction of it only serves to create distrust, suspicion—caution—and sometimes causelessly.


To despise riches may, indeed, be philosophic; but to dispense them worthily must, surely, be more beneficial to mankind.



Paul Gauguin


This Cézanne [a 'Still life with Compotier, Fruit and Glass', Cézanne made c. 1879-1882!!], that you ask me for is a pearl of exceptional quality and I already have refused three hundred francs for it; it is one of my most treasured possessions, and except in absolute necessity, I would give up my last shirt before the picture.


I am leaving in order to have peace and quiet, to be rid of the influence of civilization. I want only to do simple, very simple art, and to be able to do that, I have to immerse myself in virgin nature, see no one but savages, live their life, with no other thought in mind but to render, the way a child would, the concepts formed in my brain and to do this with the aid of nothing but the primitive means of art, the only means that are good and true.


It was Europe, the Europe which I had thought to shake off — and that under the aggravating circumstances of colonial snobbism, and the imitation, grotesque even to the point of caricature, of our customs, fashions, vices, and absurdities of civilization. Was I to have made this far journey, only to find the very thing which I had fled?


You have long known what I have tried to establish: the right to dare everything; yet the difficulty I have had finding enough money to live on has been too great, and my capacities have not produced a very big result but the mechanism has got underway nevertheless. The public does not owe me anything because the pictorial work I have done is only relatively good, but the painters who benefit from that freedom today do owe me something.


I love Brittany; I find wildness and primitiveness there. When my wooden shoes ring on this granite, I hear the muffled, dull, and powerful tone which I try to achieve in painting.



Zadie Smith


There is a kind of desperate need for somebody to tell everyone what to do, which I find really peculiar in America. And then when you tell them, they're not interested, because it's also a country where everybody's opinion is their opinion, and they really don't give a damn what you think. So it's a very odd experience.


When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility.


Novels are not about expressing yourself, they're about something beautiful, funny, clever and organic. Self-expression? Go and ring a bell in a yard if you want to express yourself.


I think of reading like a balanced diet; if your sentences are too baggy, too baroque, cut back on fatty Foster Wallace, say, and pick up Kafka as roughage.


Desperation, weakness, vulnerability - these things will always be exploited. You need to protect the weak, ring-fence them, with something far stronger than empathy.


The roots of rap are originally ghetto-ised or extremely working class. So when you're an artist who's making something which isn't how its mainstream appearance should be, there's always these strange questions of authenticity and what you have to do to be 'real' as a rapper.


The idea that motherhood is inherently somehow a threat to creativity is just absurd.


If you're going to write a good book, you have to make mistakes and you have to not be so cautious all the time.


Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.