Paul Beatty

That’s the problem with history, we like to think it’s a book—that we can turn the page and move the fuck on. But history isn’t the paper it’s printed on. It’s memory, and memory is time, emotions, and song. History is the things that stay with you.

Silence can be either protest or consent, but most times it’s fear.

It’s illegal to yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater, right?” “It is.” “Well, I’ve whispered ‘Racism’ in a post-racial world.

If all the world's a stage, I want to operate the trap door.

If Disneyland was indeed the Happiest Place on Earth, you'd either keep it a secret or the price of admission would be free and not equivalent to the yearly per capita income of a small sub-Saharan African nation like Detroit.

My father had a theory that poor people are the best drivers because they can’t afford to carry car insurance and have to drive like they live, defensively.

Foy was no Tree of Knowledge, at most he was a Bush of Opinion.

 If New York is the City That Never Sleeps, then Los Angeles is the City That’s Always Passed Out on the Couch.

Unmitigated Blackness is coming to the realization that as fucked up and meaningless as it all is, sometimes it’s the nihilism that makes life worth living.


Anna Burns

Cats are not adoring like dogs. They don’t care. They can never be relied upon to shore up a human ego. They go their way, do their thing, are not subservient and will never apologise. No one has ever come across a cat apologising and if a cat did, it would patently be obvious it was not being sincere.

After generation upon generation, fathers upon forefathers, mothers upon foremothers, centuries and millennia of being one colour officially and three colours unofficially, a colourful sky, just like that, could not be allowed to be.

It’s not about being happy,’ he said, which was, and still is, the saddest remark I’ve ever heard.

According to the police, of course, our community was a rogue community. It was we who were the enemy, we who were the terrorists, the civilian terrorists, the associates of terrorists or simply individuals suspected of being but not yet discovered to be terrorists. That being the case, and understood by both parties to be the case, the only time you’d call the police in my area would be if you were going to shoot them, and naturally they would know this and so wouldn’t come.


Theodor Mommsen

The writer of history is perhaps closer to the artist than the scholar.

Restoration is always revolution; but in this case it was not so much the old government as the old governor that was restored. The oligarchy made its appearance newly equipped in the armor of the tyrannis which had been overthrown

To create order amidst this chaos did not require either brilliance of conception or a mighty display of force, but it required a clear insight into the interests of Rome and of her subjects, and vigor and consistency in establishing and maintaining the institutions recognized as necessary.

For this monarchy was not the Oriental despotism of divine right, but a monarchy such as Gaius Gracchus wished to found, such as Pericles and Cromwell founded— the representation of the nation by the man in whom it puts supreme and unlimited confidence.


Henryk Sienkiewicz

But I think happiness springs from another source, a far deeper one that doesn't depend on will because it comes from love.

Nevertheless, in this sea of human wretchedness and malice there bloomed at times compassion, as a pale flower blooms in a putrid marsh.

It is not Atlas who carries the world on his shoulders, but woman; and sometimes she plays with it as with a ball.

He always smiles, even when contemplating nothing good.

England is never in a hurry because she is eternal.

In the presence of the storm, thunderbolts, hurricane, rain, darkness, and the lions, which might be concealed but a few paces away, he felt disarmed and helpless.

Prophet,' he said, 'Your doctrines I do not know; therefore if I accepted them, I would do it out of fear like a coward and a base man. Are you anxious that your faith be professed by cowards and base people?

What dreadful misfortune awaited them among the savage hordes intoxicated with blood?


Selma Lagerlöf

Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you.

Have you ever seen a child sitting on its mother’s knee listening to fairy stories? As long as the child is told of cruel giants and of the terrible suffering of beautiful princesses, it holds its head up and its eyes open; but if the mother begins to speak of happiness and sunshine, the little one closes its eyes and falls asleep with its head against her breast. . . . I am a child like that, too. Others may like stories of flowers and sunshine; but I choose the dark nights and sad destinies.

He needed so much to weep. All the distrust of life which misfortunes had brought to the little Värmland boy needed tears to wash it away. Distrust that love and joy, beauty and strength blossomed on the earth, distrust in himself, all must go, all did go, for it was Easter; the dead lived and the Spirit of Fasting would never again come into power.

Strange, when you ask anyone's advice you see yourself what is right. Even while you are asking, you discover all at once what you hadn't been able to find out in three whole years.


Maurice Maeterlinck

If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.

When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough.

All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than the animals that know nothing.

We all live in the sublime. Where else can we live? That is the only place of life.

At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future tradition has placed 10,000 men to guard the past.

Isolate her, and however abundant the food or favourable the temperature, she will expire in a few days not of hunger or cold, but of loneliness.

Besides, I myself have now for a long time ceased to look for anything more beautiful in this world, or more interesting, than the truth; or at least than the effort one is able to make towards the truth.

Each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand mediocre minds appointed to guard the past.

To learn to love, one must first learn to see.


Henrik Pontoppidan

This thought has been attributed to Voltaire: If God did not exist, mankind would have invented Him. To seek to forget Him, to raise up men who will do good for goodness, not out of fear of punishment for their bad deeds. 

Though I'm afraid of paradoxes, I think luck itself is the greatest bad luck that can hit a man nowadays, because ... yes, because in nine hundred ninety-nine cases a thousand , we lack the ability to use it in such a way as to take advantage of it, and not to hurt us. In our time, we have evolved to maneuver the miraculous skill, that's it! We were at the table of luck as the peasant at the king's feast.

The soul buzz that haunts today in some Danish youth beds makes you think that the lightest and most debilitating elements are always the ones that swirl up and carry them further, as with the chaff in the vampires. 

Are these large cities, with millions of inhabitants, other than huge giant turbines that suck up a whole crowd to get them back after squeezing them all?

Memories? ... Hm! ... Are not they too much cooked, preserved food, constituting poor winter consolation, because the summer of life has gone?


Knut Hamsun

I will exile my thoughts if they think of you again, and I will rip my lips out if they say your name once more. Now if you do exist, I will tell you my final word in life or in death, I tell you goodbye.

I love three things," I then say. "I love a dream of love I once had, I love you, and I love this patch of earth."
And which do you love best?"
The dream.

I suffered no pain, my hunger had taken the edge off; instead I felt pleasantly empty, untouched by everything around me and happy to be unseen by all. I put my legs up on the bench and leaned back, the best way to feel the true well-being of seclusion. There wasn't a cloud in my mind, nor did I feel any discomfort, and I hadn't a single unfulfilled desire or craving as far as my thought could reach. I lay with open eyes in a state of utter absence from myself and felt deliciously out of it.

Truth is neither ojectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.

Do not forget, some give little, and it is much for them, others give all, and it costs them no effort; who then has given most?

But things worked out. Everything works out. Though sometimes they work out sideways.


Anatole France

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.

We have never heard the devil's side of the story, God wrote all the book.

To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.

In art as in love, instinct is enough.

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.

It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel.

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of the mind for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.


William Butler Yeats II

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

WINE comes in at the mouth 
And love comes in at the eye; 
That's all we shall know for truth 
Before we grow old and die. 
I lift the glass to my mouth, 
I look at you, and sigh.

There is another world, but it is in this one.

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.