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[ Also see Authors Books Criticism Ink Journalism Libraries Literature Occupations Pen Plagiarism Poetry Press Printing Publishing Quotations Reading Shakespeare Style Writing ]

We write from aspiration and antagonism, as well as from experience. We paint those qualities which we do not possess.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

All writing comes by the grace of God, and all doing and having.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays--Of Experience

For no man can write anything who does not think that he writes is, for the time, the history of the world.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays--Of Nature

The writer, like a priest, must be exempted from secular labor. His work needs a frolic health; he must be at the top of his condition.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson,
        Poetry and Imagination--Creation

The lover of letters loves power too.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson,
        Society and Solitude--Clubs

There is no, author so poor who cannot be of some service, if only for a witness of his time.
      - Claude Fauchet

Like his that lights a candle to the sun.
      - Andrew Fletcher, Lord Innerpeffer (1),
        in a letter to Sir Walter Aston

Fools make the text, and men of wit the commentaries.
  [Fr., Les sots font le lexte, et les hommes d'esprit les commentaires.]
      - Abbe Ferdinando Galiani, Of Politics

Envy's a sharper spur than pay:
  No author ever spar'd a brother;
    Wits are gamecocks to one another.
      - John Gay,
        Fables-The Elephant and the Bookseller
         (pt. I, fable 10, l. 74)

It was among the ruins of the capitol that I first conceived the idea of a work which has amused and exercised nearly twenty years of my life.
      - Edward Gibbon

For works of the mind really great there is no old age, no decrepitude. It is inconceivable that a time should come when Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, should not ring in the ears of civilized man.
      - Rt. Hon. William Ewart Gladstone

Every author, in some degree, portrays himself in his works even be it against his will.
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is commonly the personal character of a writer which gives him his public significance. It is not imparted by his genius. Napoleon said of Corneille, "Were he living I would make him a king;" but he did not read him. He read Racine, yet he said nothing of the kind of Racine.
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The most original modern authors are not so because they advance what is new, but simply because they know how to put what they have to say, as if it had never been said before.
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One writer excels at a plan or a title-page; another works away at the body of the book; and a third is a dab hand at an index.
      - Oliver Goldsmith

The little mind who loves itself, will wr'te and think with the vulgar; but the great mind will be bravely eccentric, and scorn the beaten road, from universal benevolence.
      - Oliver Goldsmith

Whatever be the motives which induce men to write,--whether avarice or fame,--the country becomes more wise and happy in which they most serve for instructors.
      - Oliver Goldsmith

One writer, for instance, excels at a plan, or a title-page, another works away the body of the book, and a third is a dab at an index.
      - Oliver Goldsmith, The Bee (no. 1)

"The Republic of Letters" is a very common expression among the Europeans.
      - Oliver Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World

Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse.
      - Thomas Gray, Elegy (20)

His [Burke's] imperial fancy has laid all nature under tribute, and has collected riches from every scene of the creation and every walk of art.
      - Robert Hall,
        Apology for the Freedom of the Press
         (sec. IV)

Whatever an author puts between the two covers of his book is public property; whatever of himself he does not put there is his private property, as much as if he had never written a word.
      - Gail Hamilton (pseudonym of Mary Abigail Dodge),
        Country Living and Country Thinking

To expect an author to talk as he writes is ridiculous; or even if he did you would find fault with him as a pedant.
      - William Hazlitt (1)

if have got my spindle and my distaff ready--my pen and mind--never doubting for an instant that God will send me flax.
      - Josiah Gilbert Holland (used pseudonym Timothy Titcomb)

There is infinite pathos in unsuccessful authorship. The book that perishes unread is the deaf-mute of literature. The great asylum of Oblivion is full of such, making inaudible signs to each other in leaky garrets and unattainable dusty upper shelves.
      - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

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