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Penelope Fitzgerald

To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is – in other words, not a thing, but a think.

On the whole, I think you should write biographies of those you admire and respect, and novels about human beings who you think are sadly mistaken.

A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life, and as such it must surely be a necessary commodity.

Duty is what no-one else will do at the moment.

Morality is seldom a safe guide for human conduct.

Behind their dark glass, the mad own nothing.

Helping other people is a drug so dangerous that there is no cure short of total abstention.

She had a kind heart, though that is not of much use when it comes to the matter of self-preservation.

There isn’t one kind of happiness, there’s all kinds. Decision is torment for anyone with imagination. When you decide, you multiply the things you might have done and now never can.

She did not know that morality is seldom a safe guide for human conduct.

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