Writing Quotations


A well-built sentence, in the rapidity and force with which it works, may be compared to a modern corn planter, which furrows out, drops the seed, and covers it up at one movement.—Journal, 5 January 1842.
A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself.—Walden
As for style of writing—if one has any thing to say, it drops from him simply & directly, as stone falls to the ground.—Thoreau to Daniel Ricketson, 18 August 1857
For my part, I could easily do without the post-office. I think that there are very few important communications made through it. To speak critically, I never received more than one or two letters in my life—I wrote this some years ago—that were worth the postage.—Walden
His humor is always subordinate to a serious purpose, though often the real charm for the reader is not so much in the essential progress and final upshot of this chapter, as in this indirect side-light illustration of every hue.—"Thomas Carlyle and His Works"
Homer has never yet been printed in English, nor Æschylus, nor Virgil even—works as refined, as solidly done, and as beautiful almost as the morning itself; for later writers, say what we will of their genius, have rarely, if ever, equalled the elaborate beauty and finish and the lifelong and heroic literary labors of the ancients.—Walden
However much we may admire the orator's occasional bursts of eloquence, the noblest written words are commonly as far behind or above the fleeting spoken language as the firmament with its stars is behind the clouds.—Walden
I am glad to hear that any words of mine, though spoken so long ago that I can hardly claim identity with their author, have reached you. It gives me pleasure, because I have therefore reason to suppose that I have uttered what concerns men, and that it is not in vain that man speaks to man. This is the value of literature.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 27 March 1848
I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me.—Walden
Men write in a florid style only because they would match the simple beauties of the plainest speech. They prefer to be misunderstood, rather than come short of its exuberance.—Journal, 23 March 1842
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