400+ Sourced quotes
To be a historian is to discover the facts in context, to discover what things mean, to lay before the reader your reconstruction of time, place, mood, to empathize even when you disagree. You read all the relevant material, you synthesize all the books, you speak to all the people you can, and then you write down what you know about the period. You feel you own it.
I'm sometimes asked how I would like to be remembered. I've had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer, space promoter and science populariser. Of all these, I want to be remembered most as a writer — one who entertained readers, and, hopefully, stretched their imagination as well.
Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover or how much we learn or forget—we will return.
In Poetry I have a few axioms, and you will see how far I am from their centre. I think Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity — it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance — Its touches of Beauty should never be halfway thereby making the reader breathless instead of content: the rise, the progress, the setting of imagery should like the Sun come natural to him — shine over him and set soberly although in magnificence leaving him in the luxury of twilight — but it is easier to think what Poetry should be than to write it — and this leads me on to another axiom. That if Poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.
Readers are less and less seen as mere non-writers, the subhuman other or flawed derivative of the author; the lack of a pen is no longer a shameful mark of secondary status but a positively enabling space, just as within every writer can be seen to lurk, as a repressed but contaminating antithesis, a reader.
Magnus looked at her meditatively. 'I think,' he said, 'there isn't much that Jace wouldn't do for you, if you asked him.' Clary opened her mouth and then shut it again. She thought of the way Magnus had always seemed to know how Alec felt about Jace, how Simon felt about her. Her feelings for Jace must be written on her face even now, and Magnus was an expert reader. She glanced away.
Two things, Christian reader, particularly excite the will of man to good. A principle of justice is one, the other the profit we may derive therefrom. All wise men, therefore, agree that justice and profit are the two most powerful inducements to move our wills to any undertaking. Now, though men seek profit more frequently than justice, yet justice is in itself more powerful.
Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue.
A work of art is not about something, it is something, in the same way that life is not something that has meaning, only significance. And art's intentions are entirely innocent – no comment, no opinion, no attempted coercion. All – all! – art attempts to do is to quicken the sense of life, to make vivid for the reader the mysterious predicament of being alive for a brief span in this exquisite and terrible world.
Why, reader, truly, if they asked thee or me, Which way we meant to vote?—were it not our likeliest answer: Neither way! I, as a Tenpound Franchiser, will receive no bribe; but also I will not vote for either of these men. Neither Rigmarole nor Dolittle shall, by furtherance of mine, go and make laws for this country. I will have no hand in such a mission. How dare I! If other men cannot be got in England, a totally other sort of men, different as light is from dark, as star-fire is from street-mud, what is the use of votings, or of Parliaments in England?