"Only he who can view his own past as an abortion sprung from compulsion and need can use it to full advantage in the present. Forwhat one has lived is at best comparable to a beautiful statue which has had all its limbs knocked off in transit, and now yields nothing but the precious block out of which the image of one's future must be hewn."
"That food nourishes, sleep refreshes, and fire warms us; that to sow in the seed-time is the way to reap in the harvest, and, in general, that to obtain such or such ends, such or such means are conducive, all this we know, not by discovering any necessary connexion between our ideas, but only by the observation of the settled laws of nature, without which we should be all in uncertainty and confusion, and a grown man no more know how to manage himself in the affairs of life than an infant just born."
"No one of the characters in my novels has originated, so far as I know, in real life. If anything, the contrary was the case: persons playing a part in my life--the first twenty years of it--had about them something semi-fictitious."
"The writer, like a swimmer caught by an undertow, is borne in an unexpected direction. He is carried to a subject which has awaited him--a subject sometimes no part of his conscious plan. Reality, the reality of sensation, has accumulated where it was least sought. To write is to be captured--captured by some experience to which one may have given hardly a thought."
"When I read a story, I relive the moment from which it sprang. A scene burned itself into me, a building magnetized me, a mood orseason of Nature's penetrated me, history suddenly appeared to me in some tiny act, or a face had begun to haunt me before I glanced at it."
"Only a fully trained Jedi knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his emperor. If you end your training now--if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did--you will become an agent of evil."
"I always used to suffer a great deal if I let myself get too close to reality since the definitive world of the everyday with itshard edges and harsh light did not have enough resonance to echo the demands I made upon experience. It was as if I never experienced experience as experience. Living never lived up to the expectations I had of it--the Bovary syndrome."
"A learned parson, rusting in his cell at Oxford or Cambridge, will reason admirably well on the nature of man; will profoundly analyse the head, the heart, the reason, the will, the passions, the sentiments, and all those subdivisions of we know not what; and yet, unfortunately, he knows nothing of man.... He views man as he does colours in Sir Isaac Newton's prism, where only the capital ones are seen; but an experienced dyer knows all their various shades and gradations, together with the result of their several mixtures."
"When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it. The two things that nearly all of us have thoroughly and really been through are childhood and youth. And though we would not have them back again on any account, we feel that they are both beautiful, because we have drunk them dry."