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Peter Ackroyd quotes (showing 1-30 of 118)

“And when I was young, did I ever tell you, I always wanted to get inside
a book and never come out again? I loved reading so much I wanted
to be a part of it, and there were some books I could have stayed in
for ever.”
Peter Ackroyd, First Light
tags: books
“The world is a sea in which we all must surely drown.”
Peter Ackroyd, English Music
“I have liv'd long enough for others, like the Dog in the Wheel, and it is now the Season to begin for myself: I cannot change that Thing call'd Time, but I can alter its Posture and, as Boys do turn a looking-glass against the Sunne, so I will dazzle you all.”
Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
“The endless chatter of this journey had wearied me.”
Peter Ackroyd, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein
“He stood beneath the white tower, and looked up at it with that mournful expression which his face always carried in repose: for one moment he thought of climbing up its cracked and broken stone, and then from its summit screaming down at the silent city as a child might scream at a chained animal.”
Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
“Sometimes the silences, the gaps, tell us more than
anything else.”
Peter Ackroyd, First Light
“The best years are when you know what you're doing.”
Peter Ackroyd, English Music
“The ordinary routines of life are never chronicled by the historian, but they make up almost the whole of experience.”
Peter Ackroyd, Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors
“There is no humiliation worse than the consciousness of a wasted
life. It stains the spirit, forestalls hope, and destroys any motive for
action or change.”
Peter Ackroyd, English Music
“There were pools of light among the stacks, directly beneath the bulbs which Philip had switched on, but it was now with an unexpected fearfulness that he saw how the books stretched away into the darkness. They seemed to expand as soon as they reached the shadows, creating some dark world where there was no beginning and no end, no story, no meaning. And if you crossed the threshold into that world, you would be surrounded by words; you would crush them beneath your feet, you would knock against them with your head and arms, but if you tried to grasp them they would melt away. Philip did not dare turn his back upon these books. Not yet. It was almost, he thought, as if they had been speaking to each other while he slept.”
Peter Ackroyd
“Bigotry does not consort easily with free trade.”
Peter Ackroyd, Venice: Pure City
“For when I trace back the years I have liv'd, gathering them up in my Memory, I see what a chequer'd Work Of Nature my life has been. If I were now to inscribe my own History with its unparalleled Sufferings and surprizing Adventures (as the Booksellers might indite it), I know that the great Part of the World would not believe the Passages there related, by reason of the Strangeness of them, but I cannot help their Unbelief; and if the Reader considers them to be but dark Conceits, then let him bethink himself that Humane life is quite out of the Light and that we are all Creatures of Darknesse.”
Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
“…a lie, once uttered, changes reality just as surely as if it were a great truth.”
Peter Ackroyd, English Music
“I lack the World, for I move like a Ghost through it.”
Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
“I realized that my time in this place had come to an end; now that my schooldays
were over, I no longer belonged here. I had always been a stranger and, if I
stayed, I would become a stranger to myself as well.”
Peter Ackroyd, English Music
“Under the force of the imagination, nature itself is changed.”
Peter Ackroyd, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein
“...he found it difficult to discuss any of his activities, which seemed to him no more than the hole through which he was falling.”
Peter Ackroyd
“Destruction is like a snow-ball rolled down a Hill, for its Bulk encreases by its own swiftness and thus Disorder spreads.”
Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
“It is strange, is it not, how a person can adore one's soul so much that they adore one's body also?”
Peter Ackroyd, The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde
“Is Dust immortal then, I ask'd him, so that we may see it blowing through the Centuries? But as Walter gave no Answer I jested with him further to break his Melancholy humour: What is Dust, Master Pyne?
And he reflected a little: It is particles of Matter, no doubt.
Then we are all Dust indeed, are we not?
And in a feigned Voice he murmered, For Dust thou art and shalt to Dust return. Then he made a Sour face, but only yo laugh the more.”
Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
“So we may use our books to form a barricade against the world,
interweaving their words with our own to ward off the heat of the day.”
Peter Ackroyd, English Music
tags: books
“There is a camaraderie that grows up among those who work with old books and old papers, largely, I suspect, because we understand that we are at odds with the rest of the world: we are travelling backwards, while all those around us are still moving forward.”
Peter Ackroyd, The House of Doctor Dee
“I am the scourge of God”
Peter Ackroyd, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree, or Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem
“London goes beyond any boundary or convention.It contains every wish or word ever spoken, every action or gesture ever made, every harsh or noble statement ever expressed. It is illimitable. It is Infinite London.”
Peter Ackroyd, London
“There was no grandeur here, no sublimity, only weariness and gloom.”
Peter Ackroyd, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein
“A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body. As for me my only hope is for eternal nothingness and I hope it with all my heart.”
Peter Ackroyd, The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde
“I was at peace with a world which afforded so much bounty, and began to enjoy living at the very end of time.”
Peter Ackroyd, The House of Doctor Dee
“He is a Londoner, too, in his writings. In his familiar letters he displays a rambling urban vivacity, a tendency to to veer off the point and to muddle his syntax. He had a brilliantly eclectic mind, picking up words and images while at the same time forging them in new and unexpected combinations. He conceived several ideas all at once, and sometimes forgot to separate them into their component parts. This was true of his lectures, too, in which brilliant perceptions were scattered in a wilderness of words. As he wrote on another occasion, "The lake babbled not less, and the wind murmured not, nor the little fishes leaped for joy that their tormentor was not."
This strangely contorted and convoluted style also characterizes his verses, most of which were appended as commentaries upon his paintings. Like Blake, whose prophetic books bring words and images in exalted combination, Turner wished to make a complete statement. Like Blake, he seemed to consider the poet's role as being in part prophetic. His was a voice calling in the wilderness, and, perhaps secretly, he had an elevated sense of his status and his vocation. And like Blake, too, he was often considered to be mad. He lacked, however, the poetic genius of Blake - compensated perhaps by the fact that by general agreement he is the greater artist.”
Peter Ackroyd, Turner
“So do we discover, in the world, that our worst fears are
unfulfilled; yet we must fear, in order that we may feel delight.”
Peter Ackroyd, English Music
tags: fear
“Books do not per­ish like hu­mankind. Of course we com­mon­ly see them bro­ken in the hab­er­dash­er's shop when on­ly a few months be­fore they lay bound on the sta­tion­er's stall; these are not true works, but mere trash and new­fan­gle­ness for the vul­gar. There are thou­sands of such gew­gaws and toys which peo­ple have in their cham­bers, or which they keep up­on their shelves, be­liev­ing that they are pre­cious things, when they are the mere pass­ing fol­lies of the pass­ing time and of no more val­ue than pa­pers gath­ered up from some dunghill or raked by chance out of the ken­nel. True books are filled with the pow­er of the un­der­stand­ing which is the in­her­itance of the ages: you may take up a book in time, but you read it in eter­ni­ty.”
Peter Ackroyd, The House of Doctor Dee
tags: books

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