Piranesi Quotes

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Piranesi Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
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Piranesi Quotes Showing 1-30 of 140
“The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“In my mind are all the tides, their seasons, their ebbs and their flows. In my mind are all the halls, the endless procession of them, the intricate pathways. When this world becomes too much for me, when I grow tired of the noise and the dirt and the people, I close my eyes and I name a particular vestibule to myself; then I name a hall.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“The House is valuable because it is the House. It is enough in and of Itself. It is not the means to an end.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“I realised that the search for the Knowledge has encouraged us to think of the House as if it were a sort of riddle to be unravelled, a text to be interpreted, and that if ever we discover the Knowledge, then it will be as if the Value has been wrested from the House and all that remains will be mere scenery.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Birds are not difficult to understand. Their behaviour tells me what they are thinking. Generally it runs along the lines of: Is this food? Is this? What about this? This might be food. I am almost certain that this is. Or occasionally: It is raining. I do not like it.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“It does not matter that you do not understand the reason. You are the Beloved Child of the House. Be comforted.
And I am comforted.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Perhaps that is what it is like being with other people. Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not. Perhaps that is what Raphael means.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Once, men and women were able to turn themselves into eagles and fly immense distances. They communed with rivers and mountains and received wisdom from them. They felt the turning of the stars inside their own minds. My contemporaries did not understand this. They were all enamoured with the idea of progress and believed that whatever was new must be superior to what was old. As if merit was a function of chronology! But it seemed to me that the wisdom of the ancients could not have simply vanished. Nothing simply vanishes. It’s not actually possible.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“My last thought before I fell asleep was: He is dead. My only friend. My only enemy.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Not everything about the Wind was bad. Sometimes it blew through the little voids and crevices of the Statues and caused them to sing and whistle in surprising ways; I had never known the Statues to have voices before and it made me laugh for sheer delight.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“It is my belief that the World (or, if you will, the House, since the two are for all practical purposes identical) wishes an Inhabitant for Itself to be a witness to its Beauty and the recipient of its Mercies.

If I leave, then the House will have no Inhabitant and how will I bear the thought of it Empty?”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“I came out of the park. The city streets rose up around me. There was a hotel with a courtyard with metal tables and chairs for people to sit in more clement weather. Today they were snow-strewn and forlorn. A lattice of wire was strung across the courtyard. Paper lanterns were hanging from the wires, spheres of vivid orange that blew and trembled in the snow and the thin wind; the sea-grey clouds raced across the sky and the orange lanterns shivered against them. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“As I walked, I was thinking about the Great and Secret Knowledge, which the Other says will grant us strange new powers. And I realised something. I realised that I no longer believed in it. Or perhaps that is not quite accurate. I thought it was possible that the Knowledge existed. Equally I thought that it was possible it did not. Either way it no longer mattered to me. I did not intend to waste my time looking for it any more.

This realisation – the realisation of the Insignificance of the Knowledge – came to me in the form of a Revelation. What I mean by this is that I knew it to be true before I understood why or what steps had led me there. When I tried to retrace those steps my mind kept returning to the image of the One-Hundred-and-Ninety-Second Western Hall in the Moonlight, to its Beauty, to its deep sense of Calm, to the reverent looks on the Faces of the Statues as they turned (or seemed to turn) towards the Moon. I realised that the search for the Knowledge has encouraged us to think of the House as if it were a sort of riddle to be unravelled, a text to be interpreted, and that if ever we discover the Knowledge, then it will be as if the Value has been wrested from the House and all that remains will be mere scenery.

The sight of the One-Hundred-and-Ninety-Second Western Hall in the Moonlight made me see how ridiculous that is. The House is valuable because it is the House. It is enough in and of Itself. It is not the means to an end.

This thought led on to another. I realised that the Other’s description of the powers that the Knowledge will grant has always made me uneasy. For example: he says that we will have the power to control lesser minds. Well, to begin with there are no lesser minds; there are only him and me and we both have keen and lively intellects. But, supposing for a moment that a lesser mind existed, why would I want to control it?”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“the Theory of Other Worlds. Simply put, it said that when knowledge or power went out of this world it did two things: first, it created another place; and second, it left a hole, a door between this world where it had once existed and the new place it had made.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“had a long drink of water. It was delicious and refreshing (it had been a cloud only hours before).”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“The World feels Complete and Whole, and I, its Child, fit into it seamlessly. Nowhere is there any disjuncture where I ought to remember something but do not, where I ought to understand something but do not.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Suddenly I saw in front of me the Statue of the Faun, the Statue that I love above all others. There was his calm, faintly smiling face; there was his forefinger gently pressed to his lips. [...] Hush! he told me. Be comforted!”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“People call me a philosopher or a scientist or an anthropologist. I am none of those things. I am an anamnesiologist. I study what has been forgotten. I divine what has disappeared utterly. I work with absences, with silences, with curious gaps between things. I am really more of a magician than anything else.’ Laurence Arne-Sayles, interview in The Secret Garden, May 1976”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Our clothes were plastered to our bodies with wet. My hair - which is dark and curly - was as full of droplets as a Cloud. I rained every time I moved.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Several times Waves passed over our heads, but they fell back the next instant. We were drenched, we were numbed, we were blinded, we were deafened; but always we were saved.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Once, men and women were able to turn themselves into eagles and fly immense distances. They communed with rivers and mountains and received wisdom from them. They felt the turning of the stars inside their own minds.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“The beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“In accordance with the first system I have named two years 2011 and 2012. This strikes me as deeply pedestrian. Also I cannot remember what happened two thousand years ago which made me think that year a good starting point. According to the second system I have given the years names like ‘The Year I named the Constellations’ and ‘The Year I counted and named the Dead’. I like this much more. It gives each year a character of its own. This is the system I shall use going forward.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Abandoning the search for the Knowledge would free us to pursue a new sort of science. We could follow any path that the data suggested to us.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“Of all the billions of people in this world Raphael is the one I know best and love most. I understand much better now – better than Piranesi ever could – the magnificent thing she did in coming to find me, the magnitude of her courage. I know that she returns to the labyrinth often. Sometimes we go together; sometimes she goes alone. The quiet and the solitude attract her strongly. In them she hopes to find what she needs. It worries me. ‘Don’t disappear,’ I tell her sternly. ‘Do not disappear.’ She makes a rueful, amused face. ‘I won’t,’ she says. ‘We can’t keep rescuing each other,’ I say. ‘It’s ridiculous.’ She smiles. It is a smile with a little sadness in it. But she still wears the perfume – the first thing I ever knew of her – and it still makes me think of Sunlight and Happiness.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“This realisation – the realisation of the Insignificance of the Knowledge – came to me in the form of a Revelation. What I mean by this is that I knew it to be true before I understood why or what steps had led me there.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“In my mind are all the tides, their seasons, their ebbs and their flows.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
“This afternoon I walked through the city, making for a café where I was to meet Raphael. It was about half-past two on a day that had never really got light. It began to snow. The low clouds made a grey ceiling for the city; the snow muffled the noise of the cars until it became almost rhythmical; a steady, shushing noise, like the sound of tides beating endlessly on marble walls. I closed my eyes. I felt calm. There was a park. I entered it and followed a path through an avenue of tall, ancient trees with wide, dusky, grassy spaces on either side of them. The pale snow sifted down through bare winter branches. The lights of the cars on the distant road sparkled through the trees: red, yellow, white. It was very quiet. Though it was not yet twilight the streetlights shed a faint light. People were walking up and down on the path. An old man passed me. He looked sad and tired. He had broken veins on his cheeks and a bristly white beard. As he screwed up his eyes against the falling snow, I realised I knew him. He is depicted on the northern wall of the forty-eighth western hall. He is shown as a king with a little model of a walled city in one hand while the other hand he raises in blessing. I wanted to seize hold of him and say to him: In another world you are a king, noble and good! I have seen it! But I hesitated a moment too long and he disappeared into the crowd. A woman passed me with two children. One of the children had a wooden recorder in his hands. I knew them too. They are depicted in the twenty-seventh southern hall: a statue of two children laughing, one of them holding a flute. I came out of the park. The city streets rose up around me. There was a hotel with a courtyard with metal tables and chairs for people to sit in more clement weather. Today they were snow-strewn and forlorn. A lattice of wire was strung across the courtyard. Paper lanterns were hanging from the wires, spheres of vivid orange that blew and trembled in the snow and the thin wind; the sea-grey clouds raced across the sky and the orange lanterns shivered against them. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi

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