Best 138 of Peter Ackroyd quotes - MyQuotes

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Peter Ackroyd
By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

And I was a Child again, watching the bright World. But the Spell broke when at this Juncture some Gallants jumped from the Pitt onto the Stage and behaved as so many Merry-Andrews among the Actors, which reduced all to Confusion. I laugh'd with them also, for I like to make Merry among the Fallen and there is pleasure to be had in the Observation of the Deformity of Things. Thus when the Play resumed after the Disturbance, it was only to excite my Ridicule with its painted Fictions, wicked Hypocrisies and villainous Customs, all depicted with a little pert Jingle of Words and a rambling kind of Mirth to make the Insipidnesse and Sterility pass. There was no pleasure in seeing it, and nothing to burden the Memory after: like a voluntarie before a Lesson it was absolutely forgotten, nothing to be remembered or repeated.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Murderers will try to recall the sequence of events, they will remember exactly what they did just before and just after. But they can never remember the actual moment of killing. This is why they will always leave a clue.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

...and when the Assembly arrived at Dusk I hasten'd into the Streets and made my self a child of Hazard. There was a Band of little Vagabonds who met by moon-light in the Moorfields, and for a time I wandred with them; most of them had been left as Orphans in the Plague and, out of the sight of Constable or Watch, would call out to Passers-by Lord Bless you give us a Penny or Bestow a half penny on us: I still hear their Voices in my Head when I walk abroad in a Croud, and some times I am seiz'd with Trembling to think I may be still one of them.

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

And across these mean Dwellings of Black Step Lane, where as a Boy I dwell'd for a while, the Shaddowe of my last Church will fall: what the Mobb has torn down I will build again in Splendour. And thus will I compleet the Figure: Spittle-Fields, Wapping and Lime-house have made the Triangle; Bloomsbury and St Mary Woolnoth have next created the major Pentacle-starre; and, with Greenwich, all these will form the Sextuple abode of Baal-Berith or the Lord of the Covenant. Then, with the church of Little St Hugh, the Septilateral Figure will rise about Black Step Lane and, in this Pattern, every Straight line is enrich'd with a point at Infinity and every Plane with a line at Infinity. Let him that has Understanding count the Number: the seven Churches are built in conjunction with the seven Planets in the lower Orbs of Heaven, the seven Circles of the Heavens, the seven Starres in Ursa Minor and the seven Starres in the Pleiades. Little St Hugh was flung in the Pitte with the seven Marks upon his Hands, Feet, Sides and Breast which thus exhibit the seven Demons - Beydelus, Metucgayn, Adulec, Demeymes, Gadix, Uquizuz and Sol. I have built an everlasting Order, which I may run through laughing: no one can catch me now.

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 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

absinthe removes the bitter taste of failure and grants me strange visions which are charming principally because they cannot be written down. Only in absinthe do I become entirely free and, when I drink it, I understand the symbolic mysteries of odour and of colour.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

The people had once created the city. The city now created the people, or, more exactly, the people of Venice now identified themselves more in terms of the city. The private had become public.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Be informed, also, that this good and savoury Parish is the home of Hectors, Trapanners, Biters who all go under the general appelation of Rooks. Here are all the Jilts, Cracks, Prostitutes, Night-walkers, Whores, Linnen-lifters, who are like so many Jakes, Privies, Houses of Office, Ordures, Excrements, Easments and piles of Sir-reverence: the whores of Ratcliffe High-way smell of Tarpaulin and stinking Cod from their continuall Traffick with seamen's Breeches. There are other such wretched Objects about these ruined Lanes, all of them lamentable Instances of Vengeance. And it is not strange (as some think) how they will haunt the same Districts and will not leave off their Crimes until they are apprehended, for these Streets are their Theatre. Theft, Whoredom and Homicide peep out of the very Windows of their Souls; Lying, Perjury, Fraud, Impudence and Misery are stamped upon their very Countenances as now they walk within the Shaddowe of my Church.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

He was clearly not the murderer whom Hawksmoor was seeking, but it was generally the innocent who confessed: in the course of many enquiries, Hawksmoor had come across those who accused themselves of crimes which they had not committed and who demanded to be taken away before they could do more harm. He was acquainted with such people and recognised them at once - although they were noticeable, perhaps, only for a slight twitch in the eye or the awkward gait with which they moved through the world. And they inhabited small rooms to which Hawksmoor would sometimes be called: rooms with a bed and a chair but nothing besides, rooms where they shut the door and began talking out loud, rooms where they sat all evening and waited for the night, rooms where they experienced blind panic and then rage as they stared at their lives. And sometimes when he saw such people Hawksmoor thought, this is what I will become, I will be like them because I deserve to be like them, and only the smallest accident separates me from them now.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I detest self-regard. If my work has taught me anything, it is that self-aggrandisement is completely unhistorical.

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 17 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

One can forgive Shakespeare anything, except one's own bad lines.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Every book for me is a chapter in the long book which will finally be closed on the day of my death.

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 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

Is Dust immortal then, I ask'd him, so that we may see it blowing through the Centuries? But as Walter gave no Answer I jested with him further to break his Melancholy humour: What is Dust, Master Pyne? And he reflected a little: It is particles of Matter, no doubt. Then we are all Dust indeed, are we not? And in a feigned Voice he murmered, For Dust thou art and shalt to Dust return. Then he made a Sour face, but only yo laugh the more.

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 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 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

To explain this Matter, and to wind up Time so that I am returned to my present State: Beside my Church at Limehouse there had antiently been a great Fen or Morass which had been a burying-place of Saxon times, with Graves lined with chalk-stones and beneath them earlier Tombs. Here my work men have found Urns and Ivory Pins once fasten'd to wooden Shrouds, and beside them Ashes and Skulls. This was indeed a massive Necropolis but it has Power still withinne it, for the ancient Dead emit a certain Material Vertue that will come to inhere in the Fabrick of this new Edifice. By day my House of Lime will catch and intangle all those who come near to it; by Night it will be one vast Mound of Shaddowe and Mistinesse, the effect of many Ages before History. And yet I had hot and present Work on hand, for I was in want of the Sacrifice to consecrate this Place: the Observations of Mirabilis upon the Rites, which I explained further back, are pertinent to this Matter; but this onely by the way.

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 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

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

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 18 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

The latter part of our Journey from the entrance of Wiltshire into Salisbury was very rough and abounded with Jolts, the Holes we were obliged to go through being very many and some of them Deep; and so it was with much Relief that we left the Coach at Salisbury and hired two Horses for the road across the Avon to the Plain and Stone-henge. When we came to the edge of this sacred Place, we tethered our Horses to the Posts provided and then, with the Sunne direct above us, walked over the short grass which (continually cropt by the flocks of Sheep) seemed to spring us forward to the great Stones. I stood back a little as Sir Chris. walked on, and I considered the Edifice with steadinesse: there was nothing here to break the Angles of Sight and as I gaz'd I opened my Mouth to cry out but my Cry was silent; I was struck by an exstatic Reverie in which all the surface of this Place seemed to me Stone, and the Sky itself Stone, and I became Stone as I joined the Earth which flew on like a Stone through the Firmament. And thus I stood until the Kaw of a Crow rous'd me: and yet even the call of the black Bird was an Occasion for Terrour, since it was not of this Time. I know not how long a Period I had traversed in my Mind, but Sir Chris. was still within my Sight when my Eyes were cleard of Mist. He was walking steadily towards the massie Structure and I rushed violently to catch him, for I greatly wished to enter the Circle before him. I stopped him with a Cry and then ran on: when Crows kaw more than ordinary, said I when I came up to him all out of Breath, we may expect Rain. Pish, he replied. He stopped to tye his Shooe, so then I flew ahead of him and first reached the Circle which was the Place of Sacrifice. And I bowed down.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

You say that it is time to shake off the Mist, but Mankind walks in a Mist; that Reason which you cry up as the Glory of this Age is a Proteus and Cameleon that changes its Shape almost in every Man: there is no Folly that may not have a thousand Reasons produc'd to advance it into the Class of Wisdom. Reason itself is a Mist.

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 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

It has often been said that the more unusual the murder the easier it is to solve, but this is a theory I don't believe. Nothing is easy, nothing is simple, and you should think of your investigations as a complicated experiment: look at what remains constant and look at what changes, ask the right questions and don't be afraid of wrong answers, and above all rely on observation and rely on experience.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

There is no humiliation worse than the consciousness of a wasted life. It stains the spirit, forestalls hope, and destroys any motive for action or change.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

To watch King Lear is to approach the recognition that there is indeed no meaning in life, and that there are limits to human understanding.

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 18 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

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

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 13 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I have liv'd long enough for others, like the Dog in the Wheel, and it is now the Season to begin for myself: I cannot change that Thing call'd Time, but I can alter its Posture and, as Boys do turn a looking-glass against the Sunne, so I will dazzle you all.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

I asked him what he said, for there was such a mish-mash of Conversation around us that I could scarcely understand him - the frequenters of Taverns have Hearts of Curd and Souls of Milk Sop, but they have Mouths like Cannons which stink of Tobacco and their own foul Breath as they cry What News? What's a Clock? Methinks it's Cold to Day! Thus is it a Hospital For Fools

By Anonym 19 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

What is the sweetness of flowers compared to the savour of dust and confinement?

By Anonym 18 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

The bell of Limehouse Church rang as each of them, in this house, drifted into sleep - suddenly once more like children who, exhausted by the day's adventures, fall asleep quickly and carelessly. A solitary visitor, watching them as they slept, might wonder how it was that they had arrived at such a state and might speculate about each stage of their journey towards it: when did he first start muttering to himself, and not realise that he was doing so? When did she first begin to shy away from others and seek the shadows? When did all of them come to understand that whatever hopes they might have had were foolish, and that life was something only to be endured? Those who wander are always objects of suspicion and sometimes even of fear: the four people gathered in this house by the church had passed into a place, one might almost say a time, from which there was no return. The young man who had been bent over the fire had spent his life in a number of institutions - an orphanage, a juvenile home and most recently a prison; the old woman still clutching the brown bottle was an alcoholic who had abandoned her husband and two children many years before; the old man had taken to wandering after the death of his wife in a fire which he believed, at the time, he might have prevented. And what of Ned, who was now muttering in his sleep?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

As soon as he had left the room and walked into the air, he knew that he would never return and for the first time his fears lifted. It was a spring morning, and when he walked into Severndale Park he felt the breeze bringing back memories of a much earlier life, and he was at peace. He sat beneath a tree and looked up at its leaves in amazement - where once he might have gazed at them and sensed there only the confusion of his own thoughts, now each leaf was so clear and distinct that he could see the lightly coloured veins which carried moisture and life. And he looked down at his own hand, which seemed translucent beside the bright grass. His head no longer ached, and as he lay upon the earth he could feel its warmth beneath him.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

None of these apparent sightings interested Hawksmoor, since it was quite usual for members of the public to come forward with such accounts and to describe unreal figures who took on the adventitious shape already suggested by newspaper accounts. There were even occasions when a number of people would report sightings of the same person, as if a group of hallucinations might create their own object which then seemed to hover for a while in the streets of London. And Hawksmoor knew that if he held a reconstruction of the crime by the church, yet more people would come forward with their own versions of time and event; the actual killing then became blurred and even inconsequential, a flat field against which others painted their own fantasies of murderer and victim.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

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

By Anonym 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

London' is a gallery of sensation of impressions. It is a history of London in a thematic rather than a chronological sense with chapters of the history of smells, the history of silence, and the history of light. I have described the book as a labyrinth, and in that sense in complements my description of London itself.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

It is the nature of humankind to idealize, to indulge in excessive praise as well as unjust condemnation.

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 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 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 14 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

It sometimes seems to me that the whole course of English history was one of accident, confusion, chance and unintended consequences - there's no real pattern.

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 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 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

People are much more interesting than people realise.

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 16 Sep

Peter Ackroyd

It is one of the greatest Curses visited upon Mankind, he told me, that they shall fear where no Fear is: this astrological and superstitious Humour disarms men's Hearts, it breaks their Courage, it makes them help to bring such Calamities on themselves. Then he stopped short and looked at me, but my Measure was not yet fill'd up so I begg' d him to go on, go on. And he continued: First, they fancy that such ill Accidents must come to pass, and so they render themselves fit Subjects to be wrought upon; it is a Disgrace to the Reason and Honour of Mankind that every fantasticall Humourist can presume to interpret the Skies (here he grew Hot and put down his Dish) and to expound the Time and Seasons and Fates of Empires, assigning the Causes of Plagues and Fires to the Sins of Men or the Judgements of God. This weakens the Constancy of Humane Actions, and affects Men with Fears, Doubts, Irresolutions and Terrours. I was afraid of your Moving Picture, I said without thought, and that was why I left. It was only Clock-work, Nick. But what of the vast Machine of the World, in which Men move by Rote but in which nothing is free from Danger? Nature yields to the Froward and the Bold. It does not yield, it devours: You cannot master or manage Nature. But, Nick, our Age can at least take up the Rubbidge and lay the Foundacions: that is why we must study the principles of Nature, for they are our best Draught. No, sir, you must study the Humours and Natures of Men: they are corrupt, and therefore your best Guides to understand Corrupcion. The things of the Earth must be understood by the sentient Faculties, not by the Understanding. There was a Silence between us now until Sir Chris. says, Is your Boy in the Kitchin? I am mighty Hungry.