"The Battle of Waterloo is a work of art with tension and drama with its unceasing change from hope to fear and back again, change which suddenly dissolves into a moment of extreme catastrophe, a model tragedy because the fate of Europe was determined within this individual fate."
"The first sparrow of spring! The year beginning with younger hope than ever!... What at such a time are histories, chronologies, traditions, and all written revelations? The brooks sing carols and glees to the spring."
"No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert. What is a course of history or philosophy, or poetry, no matter how well selected, or the best society, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen? Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer? Read your fate, see what is before you, and walk on into futurity."
"The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit,--not a fossil earth, but a living earth; compared with whose great central life all animal and vegetable life is merely parasitic."
"The procedure of the novel is to individualize. As with other art forms, what it has to say that is of collective value is said by inference from individual concrete things. History, on the other hand, proceeds by generalization. It treats people as groups; and when individuals appear they appear as catalysts of large collective actions or as representatives of groups, their significance being that of the group forces, the collection, the sum. This is a difference of convention, and on the conventions of an art depends its special expressiveness."
"One of the things I considered a delightful experience in school was the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I didn't realize the gap was so big from the Founding Fathers until now. And I didn't realize they weren't talking about me."
"Late in the afternoon we passed a man on the shore fishing with a long birch pole.... The characteristics and pursuits of various ages and races of men are always existing in epitome in every neighborhood. The pleasures of my earliest youth have become the inheritance of other men. This man is still a fisher, and belongs to an era in which I myself have lived."
"The oft-repeated Roman story is written in still legible characters in every quarter of the Old World, and but today, perchance, a new coin is dug up whose inscription repeats and confirms their fame. Some "Judæa Capta," with a woman mourning under a palm tree, with silent argument and demonstration confirms the pages of history."