Slaves cannot breathe in England if their lungs receive our air, that moment they are free they touch our country, and their shackles fall.

I don't want anyone reading my writing to think about style. I just want them to be in the story.

One might say that every fine story must leave in the mind of the sensitive reader an intangible residuum of pleasure; a cadence, a quality of voice that is exclusively the writer's own, individual, unique. A quality which one can remember without the volume at hand, can experience over and over again in the mind but can never absolutely define, as one can experience in memory a melody, or the summer perfume of a garden... It is a common fallacy that a writer, if he is talented enough, can achieve this poignant quality by improving upon his subject-matter, by using his "imagination" upon it and twisting it to suit his purpose. The truth is that by such a process (which is not imaginative at all!) he can at best produce only a brilliant sham, which, like a badly built and pretentious house, looks poor and shabby after a few years. If he achieves anything noble, anything enduring, it must be by giving himself absolutely to his material. And this gift of sympathy is his great gift; is the fine thing in him that alone can make his work fine. The artist spends a lifetime in pursuing the things that haunt him, in having his mind "teased" by them, in trying to get these conceptions down on paper exactly as they are to him and not in conventional poses supposed to reveal their character; trying this method and that, as a painter tries different lightings and different attitudes with his subject to catch the one that presents it more suggestively than any other. And at the end of a lifetime he emerges with much that is more or less happy experimenting, and comparatively little that is the very flower of himself and his genius.

Personal life becomes paler as the imaginative life becomes richer.

Bearing the bandages, water and sponge, straight and swift to my wounded I go, where they lie on the ground after the battle brought in, where their priceless blood reddens the grass the ground, or to the rows of the hospital tent, or under the roof'd hospital, to the long rows of cots up and down each side I return, to each and all one after another I draw near, not one do I miss, an attendant follows holding a tray, he carries a refuse pail, soon to be fill'd with clotted rags and blood, emptied, and fill'd again.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless, it is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it, I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked, I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

We fancy that our afflictions are sent us directly from above; sometimes we think it in piety and contrition, but oftener in moroseness and discontent.

No wonder so many sermons are devoted exclusively to spiritual subjects. If one is living by the tithes of history's most destructive economy, then the disembodiment of the soul becomes the chief of worldly conveniences.

Human nature is a nature continually in quest of itself, obliged at every moment to transcend what it was a moment before.

If music in general is an imitation of history, opera in particular is an imitation of human willfulness; it is rooted in the fact that we not only have feelings but insist upon having them at whatever cost to ourselves. The quality common to all the great operatic roles, e.g., Don Giovanni, Norma, Lucia, Tristan, Isolde, Brannhilde, is that each of them is a passionate and willful state of being. In real life they would all be bores, even Don Giovanni.

Sad is Eros, builder of cities, and weeping anarchic Aphrodite. [in memory of Sigmund Freud]

But after all I find in my work an echo of what struck me. I see that nature has told me something, has spoken to me, and that I have put it down in shorthand. In my shorthand there may be words that cannot be deciphered. There may be mistakes or gap

Don't lose heart if it's very difficult at times, everything will come out all right and nobody can in the beginning do as he wishes.

Some good must come by clinging to the right. Conscience is a man's compass, and though the needle sometimes deviates, though one often perceives irregularities in directing one's course by it, still one must try to follow its direction.

Let us study things that are no more. It is necessary to understand them, if only to avoid them.

My anxiety is over. The Guru has cut away my bonds, and I have found eternal peace. Whatever shall be, shall be in the end; so where can pain and pleasure be seen?

You, the aspirant for supreme mind, progeny, fortune and wealth... acting in accordance with your husband's wishes, happily pave your way towards immortality.

A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it.

If I have accomplished anything good, then it's mainly because I've been driven by the need to know whether I can accomplish things I'm not sure I have the capacity for.

To err is human, there is none who has not erred some time or other.