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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 ]

Authorship is, according to the spirit in which it is pursued, an infamy, a pastime, a day-labor, a handicraft, an art, a science, a virtue.
      - August Wilhelm von Schlegel

Authors may be divided into falling stars, planets, and fixed stars: the first have a momentary effect; the second have a much longer duration; but the third are unchangeable, possess their own light, and work for all time.
      - Arthur Schopenhauer

Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.
      - William Shakespeare, Love's Labor's Lost
         (Armado at I, ii)

Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears
  Moist it again, and frame some feeling line
    That may discover such integrity.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Two Gentlemen of Verona
         (Proteus at III, ii)

I can tell thee where that saying was born, of 'I fear no colors.'
      - William Shakespeare,
        Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
         (Maria at I, v)

Successful writers learn at last what they should learn at first,--to be intelligently simple.
      - Henry Wheeler Shaw (used pseudonyms Josh Billings and Uncle Esek)

Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.
      - John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave, Duke of Buckingham and Normanby

Of all those arts in which the wise excel,
  Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.
      - John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave, Duke of Buckingham and Normanby

Of all arts in which the wise excel,
  Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.
      - John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave, Duke of Buckingham and Normanby,
        Essay on Poetry

Look in thy heart and write.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney),
        William Gray's Life of Sir Philip Sidney

The great and good do no die even in this world. Embalmed in books, their spirits walk abroad. The book is a living voice. It is an intellect to which one still listens.
      - Samuel Smiles, Character (ch. X)

Consult the acutest poets and speakers, and they will confess that their quickest and most admired conceptions were such as darted into their minds like sudden flashes of lightning, they know not how nor whence.
      - Bishop Robert South

How many great ones may remember'd be,
  Which in their days most famously did flourish,
    Of whom no word we hear, nor sign now see,
      But as things wip'd out with a sponge do perish,
        Because the living cared not to cherish
          No gentle wits, through pride or covetize,
            Which might their names forever memorize!
      - Edmund Spenser

As for my labors, if they can but wear one impertinence out of human life, destroy a single vice, or give a morning's cheerfulness to an honest mind--in short if the world can be but one virtue the better, or in any degree less vicious, or receive from them the smallest addition to their innocent diversions--I shall not think my pains, or indeed my life, to have been spent in vain.
      - Sir Richard Steele

Would a writer know how to behave himself with relation td posterity? Let him consider in old books what he finds that he is glad to know, and what omissions he most laments.
      - Jonathan Swift

The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray

Ah, ye knights of the pen! May honour be your shield, and truth tip your lances! Be gentle to all gentle people. Be modest to women. Be tender to children. And as for the Ogre Humbug, out sword, and have at him!
      - William Makepeace Thackeray,
        Roundabout Papers--Ogres

Nothing goes by luck in composition; it allows of no trick. The best you can write will be the best you are. Every sentence is the result of a long probation. The author's character is read from title-page to end.
      - Henry David Thoreau

Professed authors who overestimate their vocation are too full of themselves to be agreeable companions. The demands of their egotism are inveterate. They seem to be incapable of that abandon which is the requisite condition of social pleasure; and bent upon winning a tribute of admiration, or some hint which they can turn to the account of pen-craft, there is seldom in their company any of the delightful unconsciousness which harmonizes a circle.
      - Henry Theodore Tuckerman

Whoever has set his whole heart upon book-making had better be sought in his works, for it is only the lees of his cup of life which he offers, in person, to the warm lips of his fellows.
      - Henry Theodore Tuckerman

What the devil does the plot signify, except to bring in fine things?
      - George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham,
        The Rehearsal

In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.
      - Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire),
        A Philosophical Dictionary--Poets

Satire lies about literary men while they live and eulogy lies about them when they die.
  [Fr., La satire ment sur les gens de lettres pendant leur vie, et l'eloge ment apres leur mort.]
      - Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire),
        Lettre a Bordes

But you're our particular author, you're our patriot and our friend,
  You're the poet of the cuss-word an' the swear.
      - Edgar Wallace, Tommy to his Laureate

So must the writer, whose productions should
  Take with the vulgar, be of vulgar mould.
      - Edmund Waller, Epistle to Mr. Killegrew

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