Best 87 quotes in «essays quotes» category

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    Fiction and essays can create empathy for the theoretical stranger.

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    History begins in novel and ends in essay.

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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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    I don't like writing essays or theory.

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

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

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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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    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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    The point of the essay is to change things.

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

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    The law of the innermost form of the essay is heresy

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    Coco Chanel is said to have said that a girl should be two things: who and what she is. I say a girl should do two things: what and who she wants.

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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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    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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    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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    Apparently Burgess shares the gutter press assumption that those who achieve fame should be made to suffer from it.

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    At this point, I want to say point-blank what I hope is already clear: though agrarianism proposes that everybody has agrarian responsibilities, it does not propose that everybody should be a farmer or that we do not need cities. Nor does it propose that every product be a necessity. Furthermore, any thinkable human economy would have to grant to manufacturing an appropriate and honorable place. Agrarians would insist only that any manufacturing enterprise should be formed and scaled to fit the local landscape, the local ecosystem, and the local community, and that it should be locally owned and employ local people. They would insist, in other words, that the shop or factory owner should not be an outsider, but rather a sharer in the fate of the place and the community. The deciders should live with the results of their decisions.

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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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    Dante Alighieri wrote his first book in the prosimetrum genre – La Vita Nuova – in 14th century Florence. Since I’m compiling this collection – my first indie publication – in Florence, just blocks from Dante’s house, and since his book involves a lost love, and ‘A New Life,’ I thought it fitting to emulate this style in my own casual, intuitive fashion. My hope is that the juxtaposition of poems, journal entries, essays and prose will create a story; a memoir in anarchistic vignettes.

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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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    Dickens seems to have succeeded in attacking everybody and antagonizing nobody.

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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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    Gazing from the moon, we see one earth, without borders, Mother Earth, her embrace encircling one people, humankind.

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    Every fall into love is the triumph of hope over self-knowledge

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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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    Had I been placed among those nations which are said to live still in the sweet freedom of nature's first laws, I assure you I should very gladly have portrayed myself here entire and wholly naked. Thus, reader, I am myself the matter of my book; you would be unreasonable to spend your leisure on so frivolous and vain a subject.

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    How can you improve human nature until you have changed the system? The other, what is the use of changing the system before you have improved human nature? They appeal to different individuals, and they probably show a tendency to alternate in point of time. The Moralist and the Revolutionary are constantly undermining one another. Marx exploded a hundred tons of dynamite under the Moralist position, and we are still living in the echo of that tremendous crash. But already, somewhere or other, the sappers are are work and fresh dynamite is being tamped un place to blow Marx to the moon.

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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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    If I did compress what I know and think about the spanish civil war into 6 lines you wouldn't print it. You wouldn't have the guts.

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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 don't understand how I can always want to sleep, hate waking up, and yet be afraid of death.

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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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    I'm a writer by profession and it's totally clear to me that since I started blogging, the amount I write has increased exponentially, my daily interactions with the views of others have never been so frequent, the diversity of voices I engage with is far higher than in the pre-Internet age—and all this has helped me become more modest as a thinker, more open to error, less fixated on what I do know, and more respectful of what I don't. If this is a deterioration in my brain, then more, please. "The problem is finding the space and time when this engagement stops, and calm, quiet, thinking and reading of longer-form arguments, novels, essays can begin. Worse, this also needs time for the mind to transition out of an instant gratification mode to me a more long-term, thoughtful calm. I find this takes at least a day of detox. Getting weekends back has helped. But if there were a way to channel the amazing insights of blogging into the longer, calmer modes of thinking ... we'd be getting somewhere. "I'm working on it.

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    In my defense, I was left unsupervised.

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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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    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—the hero observes that nothing is so frightening as a labyrinth with no center.

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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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    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.