Nothing induces me to read a novel except when I have to make money by writing about it. I detest them.
A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in not out.
Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.
These are the soul’s changes. I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. Hence my optimism.
Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title.
Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.
This is not writing at all. Indeed, I could say that Shakespeare surpasses literature altogether, if I knew what I meant.
One likes people much better when they’re battered down by a prodigious siege of misfortune than when they triumph.
The connection between dress and war is not far to seek; your finest clothes are those you wear as soldiers.
It is curious how instinctively one protects the image of oneself from idolatry or any other handling that could make it ridiculous, or too unlike the original to be believed any longer.
My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery – always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What’s this passion for?
Who shall measure the hat and violence of the poet’s heart when caught and tangled in a woman’s body?
I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.
The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity.
It’s not catastrophes, murders, deaths, diseases, that age and kill us; it’s the way people look and laugh, and run up the steps of omnibuses.
Where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.
One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them.
Thought and theory must precede all salutary action; yet action is nobler in itself than either thought or theory.
Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.
One has to secrete a jelly in which to slip quotations down people’s throats – and one always secretes too much jelly.
Almost any biographer, if he respects facts, can give us much more than another fact to add to our collection. He can give us the creative fact; the fertile fact; the fact that suggests and engenders.
Let a man get up and say, Behold, this is the truth, and instantly I perceive a sandy cat filching a piece of fish in the background. Look, you have forgotten the cat, I say.
The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.
A masterpiece is something said once and for all, stated, finished, so that it’s there complete in the mind, if only at the back.
This soul, or life within us, by no means agrees with the life outside us. If one has the courage to ask her what she thinks, she is always saying the very opposite to what other people say.
I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
It seems as if an age of genius must be succeeded by an age of endeavour; riot and extravagance by cleanliness and hard work.
I was in a queer mood, thinking myself very old: but now I am a woman again – as I always am when I write.
I want the concentration and the romance, and the worlds all glued together, fused, glowing: have no time to waste any more on prose.