Best 87 quotes in «essays quotes» category

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    [George] Orwell's essays. It's got it all. Great writing, a worldview that I find interesting and useful, and most of it timelessly true.

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    Don't deliver an essay with so many points. No one can absorb it. Just say one thing... Of course, you can say the point in many different ways over and over again with different illustrations.

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    Fiction and essays can create empathy for the theoretical stranger.

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    I don't like writing essays or theory.

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    History begins in novel and ends in essay.

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    I consider myself an essayist and a fiction writer. In the essays, I certainly have been influenced by some of the leading science essayists. Like Loren Eiseley, Stephen Jay Gould, Lewis Thomas.

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    I'm interested in directing movies about situations that I've lived, so they are almost a personal essay about what I've come to believe in.

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    I'm always trying to bring as many poetic properties as possible to the essay without making it too overburdened.

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    I love to run smart essays and commentary. But it doesn't replace the other kind of reporting

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    The law of the innermost form of the essay is heresy

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    I read Carver. Julio Cortázar. Amis's essays. Baldwin. Lorrie Moore. Capote. Saramago. Larkin. Wodehouse. Anything, anything at all, that doesn't sound like me.

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    The best essays come from the moment in which people really need to work something out.

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    The essays are different because ultimately it's things I'm interested in, and I'm really just writing about myself and using those subjects as a prism.

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    The last time I was asked that, I said "A Year Without Spoons." Normally you get asked the same questions over and over, so it feels boring to say the same thing. But then I was like, I don't even know another essay I like. They're all good.

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    Life isn't like coursework, baby. It's one damn essay crisis after another.

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    All people who work with their hands are party invisible, and the more important the work they do, the more invisible they are.

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    The point of the essay is to change things.

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    You must read a lot of personal essays - you needn't reinvent the wheel.

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    There is no room for the impurities of literature in an essay.

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    What I'm exploring right now is the subject of my own mortality, It's an area that I'm curious about, and I'm researching it to see if there's a photographic essay in it for me. If images don't start to come, I'll go to something else.

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    A good writer should be able to communicate to the reader, 'I know your life. I know what you have truly experienced. It’s not right or wrong. It’s survival. It’s making mistakes, and trying to redeem yourself. It’s imperfections, and trying to make yourself better. It’s outrages, and crimes, and insults, which often are not righted, which you have to fix yourself, in your own mind, in your own heart, so that you are not poisoned'.

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    A man cannot really be called (sexually) confident if he has never bought his woman a vibrator.

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    As far as I am concerned, all reading is for pleasure.

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    Being treated like shit is not an amusing game or a transgressive intellectual experiment. It's something you accept, condone, and learn to believe you deserve.

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    Can Religion Cure Our Troubles: Mankind is in mortal peril, and fear now, as in the past, is inclining men to seek refuge in God. Throughout the West there is a very general revival of religion. Nazis and Communists dismissed Christianity and did things which we deplore. It is easy to conclude that the repudiation of Christianity by Hitler and the Soviet Government is at least in part the cause of our troubles and that if the world returned to Christianity, our international problems would be solved. I believe this to be a complete delusion born of terror. And I think it is a dangerous delusion because it misleads men whose thinking might otherwise be fruitful and thus stands in the way of a valid solution. The question involved is not concerned only with the present state of the world. It is a much more general question, and one which has been debated for many centuries. It is the question whether societies can practise a sufficient modicum of morality if they are not helped by dogmatic religion. I do not myself think that the dependence of morals upon religion is nearly as close as religious people believe it to be. I even think that some very important virtues are more likely to be found among those who reject religious dogmas than among those who accept them. I think this applies especially to the virtue of truthfulness or intellectual integrity. I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive. This virtue, though it is underestimated by almost all adherents of any system of dogma, is to my mind of the very greatest social importance and far more likely to benefit the world than Christianity or any other system of organised beliefs.

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    Daniel C. Dennett, un filosofo della Tufts University che ne sa sia di neuroscienze che di informatica, sostiene che la coscienza stessa ha un aspetto essenzialmente narrativo, radicato nell’evoluzione biologica del cervello. Non ho la competenza per riassumere le argomentazioni di Dennett, ma vengo persuaso d’acchito dalle sue conclusioni – perlomeno se considerate come una narrazione esplicativa. Egli concepisce la coscienza essenzialmente come «creatrice di situazioni immaginarie in stesure multiple»; concepisce il sé come un come se, un «ipotetico Centro di Gravità Narrativa» – in breve, una fantastica e incessante narrazione. «Noi siamo le storie che raccontiamo a noi stessi e agli altri riguardo a chi siamo», afferma il professor Dennett – storie che rivediamo e rettifichiamo in continuazione e che in continuazione rivedono e rettificano noi stessi. A questo punto vi chiedo: il meditare su domande del genere ha mai reso chicchessia uno scrittore migliore? Non sarebbe più saggio se un narratore meditasse sulla casistica dell’amore, sui particolari di un tramonto, o magari sulle vicissitudini della nave spaziale U.S.S. Enterprise? Forse sì, forse no. Ma nel porci domande del genere, come nel creare di continuo situazioni ipotetiche, facciamo quello che ci viene naturale – che forse viene più naturale ad alcune persone che ad altre.

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    Every article and review and book that I have ever published has constituted an appeal to the person or persons to whom I should have talked before I dared to write it. I never launch any little essay without the hope—and the fear, because the encounter may also be embarrassing—that I shall draw a letter that begins, 'Dear Mr. Hitchens, it seems that you are unaware that…' It is in this sense that authorship is collaborative with 'the reader.' And there's no help for it: you only find out what you ought to have known by pretending to know at least some of it already. It doesn't matter how obscure or arcane or esoteric your place of publication may be: some sweet law ensures that the person who should be scrutinizing your work eventually does do so.

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    For the modern consciousness, the artist (replacing the saint) is the exemplary sufferer. And among artists, the writer, the man of words, is the person to whom we look to be able best to express his suffering.

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    [He who can describe how his heart is ablaze is burning on a small pyre] ~ Petrarch, Sonnet 137 (from Montaigne, On sadness)

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    I am alive to a usual objection to what is clearly part of my programme for the metier of poetry. The objection is that the doctrine requires a ridiculous amount of erudition (pedantry), a claim which can be rejected by appeal to the lives of poets in any pantheon. It will even be affirmed that much learning deadens or perverts poetic sensibility. While, however, we persist in believing that a poet ought to know as much as will not encroach upon his necessary receptivity and necessary laziness, it is not desirable to confine knowledge to whatever can be put into a useful shape for examinations, drawing rooms, or the still more pretentious modes of publicity. Some can absorb knowledge, the more tardy must sweat for it. Shakespeare acquired more essential history from Plutarch than most men could from the whole British Museum. What is to be insisted upon is that the poet must develop this consciousness throughout his career. What happens is a continual surrender of himself as he is at the moment to something which is more valuable. The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.

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    I go on writing in both respectable and despised genres because I respect them all, rejoice in their differences, and reject only the prejudice and ignorance that dismisses any book, unread, as not worth reading." -- "On Despising Genres," essay

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    I have not seen anywhere in the world a more obvious malformed person and miracle than myself. Through use and time we become conditioned to anything strange; but the more I become familiar with and know myself, the more my deformity amazes me and the less I understand myself.

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    In 2013 there were 7,427 poetry readings in April, many on a Thursday. For anyone born in 1928 who pays attention to poetry, the numerousness is astonishing. In April 1948, there were 15 readings in the United States, 12 by Robert Frost. So I claim. The figures are imaginary, but you get the point.

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    In my defense, I was left unsupervised.

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    In this essay, John Zwerenz gives amazingly objective political insights into what makes our current President tick.

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    In writing choose the common words; avoid rhapsody and eloquence – yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.

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    I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you're going no matter how you live, cannot you part.

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    It is usually unbearably painful to read a book by an author who knows way less than you do, unless the book is a novel.

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    It wasn’t enough that I had to worry about playing well and winning the game, but I also had to deal with possibility that one of my teammates could be dragged off the field by the inhabitants of the mental hospital.

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    I was by now used to people being surprised by me and my background, and their surprise offended me. I was always having to be what I was looking for in the world, wishing the person I would become already existed — some other I before me. I was forever finding even the tiniest way to identify with someone to escape how empty the world seemed to be of what I was.

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    Man, a gigantic child, must play with Babylon and Nineveh, with Isis and with Ashtaroth. By all means let him dream of the Bondage of Egypt, so long as he is free from it. By all means let him take up the Burden of Tyre, so long as he can take it lightly. But the old gods must be his dolls, not his idols. His central sanctities, his true possessions, should be Christian and simple. And just as a child would cherish most a wooden horse or a sword that is a mere cross of wood, so man, the great child, must cherish most the old plain things of poetry and piety; that horse of wood that was the epic end of Ilium, or that cross of wood that redeemed and conquered the world.

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    Man may behold what ugliness he likes if he is sure that he will not worship it; but there are some so weak that they will worship a thing only because it is ugly. These must be chained to the beautiful. It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made.

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    Modern man is rather like a bisected wasp which goes on sucking jam and pretends that the loss of its abdomen does not matter

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    Most if not all sexually active people do not really love having sex; they merely love experiencing an orgasm every now and then.

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    New Rule: Now that liberals have taken back the word "liberal," they also have to take back the word "elite." By now you've heard the constant right-wing attacks on the "elite media," and the "liberal elite." Who may or may not be part of the "Washington elite." A subset of the "East Coast elite." Which is overly influenced by the "Hollywood elite." So basically, unless you're a shit-kicker from Kansas, you're with the terrorists. If you played a drinking game where you did a shot every time Rush Limbaugh attacked someone for being "elite," you'd be almost as wasted as Rush Limbaugh. I don't get it: In other fields--outside of government--elite is a good thing, like an elite fighting force. Tiger Woods is an elite golfer. If I need brain surgery, I'd like an elite doctor. But in politics, elite is bad--the elite aren't down-to-earth and accessible like you and me and President Shit-for-Brains. Which is fine, except that whenever there's a Bush administration scandal, it always traces back to some incompetent political hack appointment, and you think to yourself, "Where are they getting these screwups from?" Well, now we know: from Pat Robertson. I'm not kidding. Take Monica Goodling, who before she resigned last week because she's smack in the middle of the U.S. attorneys scandal, was the third-ranking official in the Justice Department of the United States. She's thirty-three, and though she never even worked as a prosecutor, was tasked with overseeing the job performance of all ninety-three U.S. attorneys. How do you get to the top that fast? Harvard? Princeton? No, Goodling did her undergraduate work at Messiah College--you know, home of the "Fighting Christies"--and then went on to attend Pat Robertson's law school. Yes, Pat Robertson, the man who said the presence of gay people at Disney World would cause "earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor," has a law school. And what kid wouldn't want to attend? It's three years, and you have to read only one book. U.S. News & World Report, which does the definitive ranking of colleges, lists Regent as a tier-four school, which is the lowest score it gives. It's not a hard school to get into. You have to renounce Satan and draw a pirate on a matchbook. This is for the people who couldn't get into the University of Phoenix. Now, would you care to guess how many graduates of this televangelist diploma mill work in the Bush administration? On hundred fifty. And you wonder why things are so messed up? We're talking about a top Justice Department official who went to a college founded by a TV host. Would you send your daughter to Maury Povich U? And if you did, would you expect her to get a job at the White House? In two hundred years, we've gone from "we the people" to "up with people." From the best and brightest to dumb and dumber. And where better to find people dumb enough to believe in George Bush than Pat Robertson's law school? The problem here in America isn't that the country is being run by elites. It's that it's being run by a bunch of hayseeds. And by the way, the lawyer Monica Goodling hired to keep her ass out of jail went to a real law school.

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    Now in sober truth there is a magnificent idea in these monsters of the Apocalypse. It is, I suppose, the idea that beings really more beautiful or more universal than we are might appear to us frightful and even confused. Especially they might seem to have senses at once more multiplex and more staring; an idea very imaginatively seized in the multitude of eyes. I like those monsters beneath the throne very much. But I like them beneath the throne. It is when one of them goes wandering in deserts and finds a throne for himself that evil faiths begin, and there is (literally) the devil to pay--to pay in dancing girls or human sacrifice. As long as those misshapen elemental powers are around the throne, remember that the thing that they worship is the likeness of the appearance of a man.

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    Only where there is life can there be home.

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    Some people are so sexually unattractive that the thought of masturbating turns them off.

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    That is, I fancy, the true doctrine on the subject of Tales of Terror and such things, which unless a man of letters do well and truly believe, without doubt he will end by blowing his brains out or by writing badly. Man, the central pillar of the world must be upright and straight; around him all the trees and beasts and elements and devils may crook and curl like smoke if they choose. All really imaginative literature is only the contrast between the weird curves of Nature and the straightness of the soul.

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    The house-cat is a four-legged quadruped, the legs as usual being at the corners. It is what is sometimes called a tame animal, though it feeds on mice and birds of prey. Its colours are striped, it does not bark, but breathes through its nose instead of its mouth. Cats also mow, which you all have heard. Cats have nine liveses, but which is seldom wanted in this country, coz' of Christianity. Cats eat meat and most anythink speshuelly where you can't afford. That is all about cats." (From a schoolboy's essay, 1903.)