Wolf Hall Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
165,898 ratings, 3.88 average rating, 15,689 reviews
Open Preview
Wolf Hall Quotes Showing 1-30 of 325
“It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“It is all very well planning what you will do in six months, what you will do in a year, but it’s no good at all if you don’t have a plan for tomorrow.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“You learn nothing about men by snubbing them and crushing their pride. You must ask them what it is they can do in this world, that they alone can do.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“When you are writing laws you are testing words to find their utmost power. Like spells, they have to make things happen in the real world, and like spells, they only work if people believe in them.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“The trouble with England, he thinks, is that it's so poor in gesture. We shall have to develop a hand signal for ‘Back off, our prince is fucking this man's daughter.’ He is surprised that the Italians have not done it. Though perhaps they have, and he just never caught on.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“Why are we so attached to the severities of the past? Why are we so proud of having endured our fathers and our mothers, the fireless days and the meatless days, the cold winters and the sharp tongues? It's not as if we had a choice.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“But it is no use to justify yourself. It is no good to explain. It is weak to be anecdotal. It is wise to conceal the past even if there is nothing to conceal. A man's power is in the half-light, in the half-seen movements of his hand and the unguessed-at expression of his face. It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“He thinks, I remembered you, Thomas More, but you didn't remember me. You never even saw me coming.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“Some say the Tudors transcend this history, bloody and demonic as it is: that they descend from Brutus through the line of Constantine, son of St Helena, who was a Briton. Arthur, High King of Britain, was Constantine's grandson. He married up to three women, all called Guinevere, and his tomb is at Glastonbury, but you must understand that he is not really dead, only waiting his time to come again.

His blessed descendant, Prince Arthur of England, was born in the year 1486, eldest son of Henry, the first Tudor king. This Arthur married Katharine the princess of Aragon, died at fifteen and was buried in Worcester Cathedral. If he were alive now, he would be King of England. His younger brother Henry would likely be Archbishop of Canterbury, and would not (at least, we devoutly hope not) be in pursuit of a woman of whom the cardinal hears nothing good: a woman to whom, several years before the dukes walk in to despoil him, he will need to turn his attention; whose history, before ruin seizes him, he will need to comprehend.

Beneath every history, another history.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“At New Year's he had given Anne a present of silver forks with handles of rock crystal. He hopes she will use them to eat with, not to stick in people.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
tags: humor
“Suppose within each book there is another book, and within every letter on every page another volume constantly unfolding; but these volumes take no space on the desk. Suppose knowledge could be reduced to a quintessence, held within a picture, a sign, held within a place which is no place. Suppose the human skull were to become capacious, spaces opening inside it, humming chambers like beehives.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“No ruler in the history of the world has ever been able to afford a war. They're not affordable things. No prince ever says, 'This is my budget, so this is the kind of war I can have.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“Let's say I will rip your life apart. Me and my banker friends."
How can he explain that to him? The world is not run from where he thinks. Not from border fortresses, not even from Whitehall. The world is run from Antwerp, from Florence, from places he has never imagined; from Lisbon, from where the ships with sails of silk drift west and are burned up in the sun. Not from the castle walls, but from counting houses, not be the call of the bugle, but by the click of the abacus, not by the grate and click of the mechanism of the gun but by the scrape of the pen on the page of the promissory note that pays for the gun and the gunsmith and the powder and shot.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“Arrange your face”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“Over the city lies the sweet, rotting odor of yesterday's unrecollected sins.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“For what's the point of breeding children, if each generation does not improve on what went before.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“The fate of peoples is made like this, two men in small rooms. Forget the coronations, the conclaves of cardinals, the pomp and processions. This is how the world changes: a counter pushed across a table, a pen stroke that alters the force of a phrase, a woman's sigh as she passes and leaves on the air a trail of orange flower or rose water; her hand pulling close the bed curtain, the discreet sigh of flesh against flesh.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“Fortitude. ... It means fixity of purpose. It means endurance. It means having the strength to live with what constrains you.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“There's a feeling of power in reserve, a power that drives right through the bone, like the shiver you sense in the shaft of an axe when you take it into your hand. You can strike, or you can not strike, and if you choose to hold back the blow, you can still feel inside you the resonance of the omitted thing.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“I was always desired. But now i am valued. And that is a different thing, i find.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“Men say," Liz reaches for her scissors, "'I can't endure it when women cry'--just as people say, 'I can't endure this wet weather.' As if it were nothing to do with the men at all, the crying. Just one of those things that happen.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“He never sees More – a star in another firmament, who acknowledges him with a grim nod – without wanting to ask him, what's wrong with you? Or what's wrong with me? Why does everything you know, and everything you've learned, confirm you in what you believed before? Whereas in my case, what I grew up with, and what I thought I believed, is chipped away a little and a little, a fragment then a piece and then a piece more. With every month that passes, the corners are knocked off the certainties of this world: and the next world too. Show me where it says, in the Bible, ‘Purgatory’. Show me where it says relics, monks, nuns. Show me where it says ‘Pope’.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“He knows different now. It's the living that chase the dead. The long bones and skulls are tumbled from their shrouds, and words like stones thrust into their rattling mouths: we edit their writings, we rewrite their lives. Thomas More had spread the rumor that Little Bilney, chained to the stake, had recanted as the fire was set. It wasn't enough for him to take Bilney's life away; he had to take his death too.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“It is almost a joke, but a joke that nobody tells.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“He turns to the painting. "I fear Mark was right."
"Who is Mark?"
"A silly little boy who runs after George Boleyn. I once heard him say I looked like a murderer."
Gregory says, "Did you not know?”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“You can have a silence full of words. A lute retains, in its bowl, the notes it has played. The viol, in its strings, holds a concord. A shriveled petal can hold its scent, a prayer can rattle with curses; an empty house, when the owners have gone out, can still be loud with ghosts.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“[T]he heart is like any other organ, you can weigh it on a scale.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“A man's power is in the half-light, in the half-seen movements of his hand and the unguessed-at expression of his face. It is the absence of facts tat frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
“I have written books and I cannot unwrite them. I cannot unbelieve what I believe. I cannot unlive my life.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11