Best 138 of Peter Ackroyd quotes - MyQuotes

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Peter Ackroyd
By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

And when I was young, did I ever tell you, I always wanted to get inside a book and never come out again? I loved reading so much I wanted to be a part of it, and there were some books I could have stayed in for ever.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

London has always provided the landscape for my imagination. It becomes a character - a living being - within each of my books.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

The English have always been greedy for news of times past, with that mixture of fatalism and melancholy which is part of the national character.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I am the scourge of God

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

London goes beyond any boundary or convention.It contains every wish or word ever spoken, every action or gesture ever made, every harsh or noble statement ever expressed. It is illimitable. It is Infinite London.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

There are so many characters whizzing around inside my head, it's like Looney Tunes. But as soon as I've finished writing about them, I completely forget who they are.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

...but there were four things I taught Walter to consider: 1) That it was Cain who built the first City, 2) That there is a true Science in the World called Scientia Umbrarum which, as to the publick teaching of it, has been suppressed but which the proper Artificer must comprehend, 3) That Architecture aims at Eternity and must contain the Eternal Powers: not only our Altars and Sacrifices, but the Forms of our Temples, must be mysticall, 4) That the miseries (If the present Life, and the Barbarities of Mankind, the fatall disadvantages we are all under and the Hazard we run of being eternally Undone, lead the True Architect not to Harmony or to Rationall Beauty but to quite another Game. Why, do we not believe the very Infants to be the Heirs of Hell and Children of the Devil as soon as they are disclos'd to the World? I declare that I build my Churches firmly on this Dunghil Earth and with a full Conception of Degenerated Nature. I have only room to add: there is a mad-drunken Catch, Hey ho! The Devil is dead! If that be true, I have been in the wrong Suit all my Life.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

There is no real origin for anything. Everything just exists. Everything just exists in order to exist.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

In 'The Plato Papers' I wanted to get another perspective on the present moment by extrapolating into the distant future. So in that sense, there's a definite similarity of purpose between a book set in the future and a book set in the past.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Rioting has always been a London tradition. It has been since the early Middle Ages. There's hardly a spate of years that goes by without violent rioting of one kind or another. They happen so frequently that they are almost part of London's texture.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

There were pools of light among the stacks, directly beneath the bulbs which Philip had switched on, but it was now with an unexpected fearfulness that he saw how the books stretched away into the darkness. They seemed to expand as soon as they reached the shadows, creating some dark world where there was no beginning and no end, no story, no meaning. And if you crossed the threshold into that world, you would be surrounded by words; you would crush them beneath your feet, you would knock against them with your head and arms, but if you tried to grasp them they would melt away. Philip did not dare turn his back upon these books. Not yet. It was almost, he thought, as if they had been speaking to each other while he slept.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

To be a writer was always my greatest aim. I remember writing a play about Guy Fawkes when I was 10. I suppose it's significant, at least to me, that my first work should be about a historical figure.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

There are two types of people, you see. One type keep their heads straight, and look around as they walk. The others look up - at the tops of houses, at the eaves and the lintels and the roofs, which can tell you when they were built - and I've always done that.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

So we may use our books to form a barricade against the world, interweaving their words with our own to ward off the heat of the day.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

When I was a child I wanted to be Pope. My greatest disappointment is missing out on that. I also wanted to be a tap dancer but I never fulfilled that ambition either.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

A triptych in which the presiding deities are Mother, England and Me.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I don't find myself interesting as a person and the details I find boring, quite frankly. You could sum it up in a few words or sentences really: came from nothing. Self-educated. Luck. Energy. Curiosity. Ambition. That's it. Nothing at all can illuminate the work as far as I can tell.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

On his thirteenth birthday he had seen a film in which the central character was a painter who, unable to sell his work, grew cold and hungry as he went from one unsuccessful interview to the next; eventually he had become a vagrant, sleeping in the streets of the city where once he had walked in hope. Hawksmoor left the cinema in a mood of profound, terrified apprehension and, from that time, he was filled with a sense of time passing and with the fear that he might be left discarded on its banks. The fear had not left him, although now he could no longer remember from where it came: he looked back on his earlier life without curiosity, since it seemed to lack intrinsic interest, and when he looked forward he saw the same steady attainment of goals without any joy in their attainment. For him, the state of happiness was simply the state of not suffering and, if he cared for anything, it was for oblivion.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I enjoyed reading and learning at school, and at university I enjoyed extending my reading and learning. Once I left Cambridge, I went to Yale as a fellow. I spent two years there. After that, George Gale made me literary editor of 'The Spectator.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Thomas More's birth was noted by his father upon a blank page at the back of a copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'Historia Regum Britanniae'; for a lawyer John More was remarkably inexact in his references to that natal year, and the date has been moved from 1477 to 1478 and back again.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

My great fear has always been complete and utter failure. Hence, you see, all the dispossessed people in my fiction, and why I try to earn as much money as I can. It's a defense. I don't enjoy it or do anything with it.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Bigotry does not consort easily with free trade.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I can recall quite clearly the journey from Omaha to San Francisco which I made with the opera troupe; God had created the world in less time than it took us to travel across America.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Oh, I just tend to believe in things when I'm writing them. For instance, when I was writing 'Doctor Dee,' I believed in magic. And when I wrote 'Hawksmoor' I believed in psychic geography. But as soon as I type the last full stop, I'm back to being a complete blank again.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I can remember picking up weighty tomes on the history of science and the history of philosophy and reading those when I was small.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

...anxiety was, for her, a form of prayer.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Chaplin left the Keystone studios on a Saturday night in December after cutting his last film, without bidding farewell to any of his erstwhile colleagues; he spent Sunday in his room at the Los Angeles Athletic Club and on the following day he turned up for work at the Essanay Studios in Niles, California. Of course, everyone at Keystone knew about his imminent departure, but he could not bring himself to make a speech or shake hands. He just left. Sennett said later that 'as for Charles Spencer Chaplin, I am not at all sure that we know him'. He had never really been part of the team; he would never become a member of any group.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

It's only recently that we've discovered that the artist's inner self is somehow more important than the public world. I'm happier to create exterior pieces for the world rather than to express something I deeply feel or wish to say.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I have had so many Dwellings, Nat, that I know these Streets as well as a strowling Beggar: I was born in this Nest of Death and Contagion and now, as they say, I have learned to feather it. When first I was with Sir Chris. I found lodgings in Phenix Street off Hogg Lane, close by St Giles and Tottenham Fields, and then in later times I was lodged at the corner of Queen Street and Thames Street, next to the Blew Posts in Cheapside. (It is still there, said Nat stirring up from his Seat, I have passed it!) In the time before the Fire, Nat, most of the buildings in London were made of timber and plaister, and stones were so cheap that a man might have a cart-load of them for six-pence or seven-pence; but now, like the Aegyptians, we are all for Stone. (And Nat broke in, I am for Stone!) The common sort of People gawp at the prodigious Rate of Building and exclaim to each other London is now another City or that House was not there Yesterday or the Situacion of the Streets is quite Changd (I contemn them when they say such things! Nat adds). But this Capital City of the World of Affliction is still the Capitol of Darknesse, or the Dungeon of Man's Desires: still in the Centre are no proper Streets nor Houses but a Wilderness of dirty rotten Sheds, allways tumbling or takeing Fire, with winding crooked passages, lakes of Mire and rills of stinking Mud, as befits the smokey grove of Moloch. (I have heard of that Gentleman, says Nat all a quiver). It is true that in what we call the Out-parts there are numberless ranges of new Buildings: in my old Black-Eagle Street, Nat, tenements have been rais'd and where my Mother and Father stared without understanding at their Destroyer (Death! he cryed) new-built Chambers swarm with life. But what a Chaos and Confusion is there: meer fields of Grass give way to crooked Passages and quiet Lanes to smoking Factors, and these new Houses, commonly built by the London workmen, are often burning and frequently tumbling down (I saw one, says he, I saw one tumbling!). Thus London grows more Monstrous, Straggling and out of all Shape: in this Hive of Noise and Ignorance, Nat, we are tyed to the World as to a sensible Carcasse and as we cross the stinking Body we call out What News? or What's a clock? And thus do I pass my Days a stranger to mankind. I'll not be a Stander-by, but you will not see me pass among them in the World. (You will disquiet your self, Master, says Nat coming towards me). And what a World is it, of Tricking and Bartering, Buying and Selling, Borrowing and Lending, Paying and Receiving; when I walk among the Piss and Sir-reverence of the Streets I hear, Money makes the old Wife trot, Money makes the Mare to go (and Nat adds, What Words won't do, Gold will). What is their God but shineing Dirt and to sing its Devotions come the Westminster-Hall-whores, the Charing-cross whores, the Whitehall whores, the Channel-row whores, the Strand whores, the Fleet Street whores, the Temple-bar whores; and they are followed in the same Catch by the Riband weavers, the Silver-lace makers, the Upholsterers, the Cabinet-makers, Watermen, Carmen, Porters, Plaisterers, Lightemen, Footmen, Shopkeepers, Journey-men... and my Voice grew faint through the Curtain of my Pain.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Under the force of the imagination, nature itself is changed.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

So do we discover, in the world, that our worst fears are unfulfilled; yet we must fear, in order that we may feel delight.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

And when the Duke of Alva ordered three hundred Citizens to be put to Death together at Antwerp, a Lady who saw the Sight was presently afterwards deliver'd of a Child without a Head. So lives the Power of Imagination even in this Rationall Age.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

This mundus tenebrosus, this shaddowy world of Mankind, is sunk into Night; there is not a Field without its Spirits, nor a City without its Daemons, and the Lunaticks speak Prophesies while the Wise men fall into the Pitte. We are all in the Dark, one with another. And, as the Inke stains the Paper on which it is spilt and slowly spreads to Blot out the Characters, so the Contagion of darkness and malefaction grows apace until all becomes unrecognizable. Thus it was with the Witches who were tryed by Swimming not long before, since once the Prosecution had commenced no Stop could be put to the raving Women who came forward: the number of Afflicted and Accused began to encrease and, upon Examination, more confess'd themselves guilty of Crimes than were suspected of. And so it went, till the Evil revealed was so great that it threatened to bring all into Confusion. And yet in the way of that Philosophie much cryed up in London and elsewhere, there are those like Sir Chris. who speak only of what is Rational and what is Demonstrated, of Propriety and Plainness. Religion Not Mysterious is their Motto, but if they would wish the Godhead to be Reasonable why was it that when Adam heard that Voice in the Garden he was afraid unto Death? The Mysteries must become easy and familiar, it is said, and it has now reached such a Pitch that there are those who wish to bring their mathematicall Calculations into Morality, viz. the Quantity of Publick Good produced by any Agent is a compound Ratio of his Benevolence and Abilities, and such like Excrement. They build Edifices which they call Systems by laying their Foundacions in the Air and, when they think they are come to sollid Ground, the Building disappears and the Architects tumble down from the Clowds. Men that are fixed upon matter, experiment, secondary causes and the like have forgot there is such a thing in the World which they cannot see nor touch nor measure: it is the Praecipice into which they will surely fall.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

The gateway to the underworld is seen as part antiquity and part theatre. Welcome to the lower depths.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Yet, like the sea and the gallows, London refuses nobody.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Then he took the pages, smoothed them with the palm of his hand, and fixed them with pins to the walls. So that now, if he sat looking down upon Grape Street, the letters and images encircled him. And it was while he sat here, scarcely moving, that he was in hell and no one knew it. At such times the future became so clear that it was as if he were remembering it, remembering it in place of the past which he could no longer describe. But there was in any case no future and no past, only the unspeakable misery of his own self.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

We went back into the Mens Apartments where there were others raving of Ships that may fly and silvered Creatures upon the Moon: Their Stories seem to have neither Head nor Tayl to them, Sir Chris. told me, but there is a Grammar in them if I could but Puzzle it out. This is a mad Age, I replied, and there are many fitter for Bedlam than these here confin'd to a Chain or a dark Room. A sad Reflection, Nick. And what little Purpose have we to glory in our Reason, I continu'd, when the Brain may so suddenly be disorder'd?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I have always believed that the material world is governed by nonmaterial sources, so that in that sense 'English Music' is an exercise in the spiritual as well as the material. I have always been attracted to the Gothic and spiritual imagination, and I've always been interested in visionaries.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

To be insular is to be independent. But it is also to be alone.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I saw a ghost once, about 20 years ago. It took the form of someone coming out of a sleeping body and sitting at the foot of the bed.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I wanted to be a poet when I was 20; I had no interest in fiction or biography and precious little interest in history, but those three elements in my life have become the most important.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

The embrace of present and past time, in which English antiquarianism becomes a form of alchemy, engenders a strange timelessness. It is as if the little bird which flew through the Anglo-Saxon banqueting hall, in Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, gained the outer air and became the lark ascending in Vaughan Williams's orchestral setting. The unbroken chain is that of English music itself.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

He is a Londoner, too, in his writings. In his familiar letters he displays a rambling urban vivacity, a tendency to to veer off the point and to muddle his syntax. He had a brilliantly eclectic mind, picking up words and images while at the same time forging them in new and unexpected combinations. He conceived several ideas all at once, and sometimes forgot to separate them into their component parts. This was true of his lectures, too, in which brilliant perceptions were scattered in a wilderness of words. As he wrote on another occasion, "The lake babbled not less, and the wind murmured not, nor the little fishes leaped for joy that their tormentor was not." This strangely contorted and convoluted style also characterizes his verses, most of which were appended as commentaries upon his paintings. Like Blake, whose prophetic books bring words and images in exalted combination, Turner wished to make a complete statement. Like Blake, he seemed to consider the poet's role as being in part prophetic. His was a voice calling in the wilderness, and, perhaps secretly, he had an elevated sense of his status and his vocation. And like Blake, too, he was often considered to be mad. He lacked, however, the poetic genius of Blake - compensated perhaps by the fact that by general agreement he is the greater artist.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

...it is a dreadfull thing to look down Praecipices.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

But didn't you know? Everything is made up.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

The rest I omit, for many a bitter Pill can be swallowed under a golden Cover: I make no Mencion that in each of my Churches I put a Signe so that he who sees the Fabrick may see also the Shaddowe of the Reality of which it is the Pattern or Figure. Thus, in the church of Lime-house, the nineteen Pillars in the Aisles will represent the Names of Baal-Berith, the seven Pillars of the Chappell will signify the Chapters of his Covenant. All those who wish to know more of this may take up Clavis Salomonis, Niceron's Thaumaturgus Opticus where he speaks of Line and Distance, Cornelius Agrippa his De occuItia philosophia and Giordano Bruno his De magia and De vinculis in genere where he speaks of Hieroglyphs and the Raising of the Devilles.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Sometimes the silences, the gaps, tell us more than anything else.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

The value is always in the eye of the beholder. What is worthless to one person may be very important to someone else.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I love soap operas - the stories, the plots! And I love the game shows and the courtroom dramas and the detectives - Jessica Fletcher, 'Columbo,' 'Perry Mason,' 'L.A. Law.' Any sense of guilt appeals to me in a television program - a sense of guilt, or a sense of making a lot of money.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

There is a camaraderie that grows up among those who work with old books and old papers, largely, I suspect, because we understand that we are at odds with the rest of the world: we are travelling backwards, while all those around us are still moving forward.