Memoir Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 66 quotes )
You cannot say to the sun, 'More sun,' or to the rain, 'Less rain.' To a man, geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of nightfall. And yet, to learn kindness after so much unkindness, to understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find her prayers were answered, can that not be called happiness? After all these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind.
From the essay "Twenty-five Things People Have a Shocking Capacity to Be Surprised by Over and Over Again"1. Journalists sometimes make things up.2. Journalists sometimes get things wrong.3. Almost all books that are published as memoirs were initially written as novels, and then the agent/editor said, This might work better as a memoir.6. Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.
The landscape of my days appears to be composed, like mountainous regions, of varied materials heaped up pell-mell. There I see my nature, itself composite, made up of equal parts of instinct and training. Here and there protrude the granite peaks of the inevitable, but all about is rubble from the landslips of chance. I strive to retrace my life to find in it some plan, following a vein of lead, or of gold, or the course of some subterranean stream, but such devices are only tricks of perspective in the memory." Memoirs of Hadrian
America is subsidizing what is left of the prestige and strength of the once mighty Britain. The sun has set forever on that monocled, pith-helmeted resident colonialist, sipping tea with his delicate lady in the non-white colonies being systematically robbed of every valuable resource. Britain's superfluous royalty and nobility now exist by charging tourists to inspect the once baronial castles, and by selling memoirs, perfumes, autographs, titles, and even themselves.
By journey's end the brides were much better acquainted with their grooms and more or less pleased with the matches. Sybil Bingham wrote in her diary, thanking God for answering her prayer for filling "the void" with a husband like Hiram, a "treasure rich and undeserved." Having read his insufferable memoir, "A Residence of Twenty-one Years in the Sandwich Islands", all I can say is: I'm happy for her?
Autobiography is not important. Authenticity is important. The writer must fire herself through the text, be the molten stuff that welds together disparate elements. I believe there is always exposure, vulnerability, in the writing process, which is not to say it is either confessional or memoir. Simply, it is real.
When Mr. William Faraday sat down to write his memoirs after fifty-eight years of blameless inactivity he found the work of inscribing the history of his life almost as tedious as living it had been, and so, possessing a natural invention coupled with a gift for locating the easier path, he began to prevaricate a little upon the second page, working his way up to downright lying on the sixth and subsequent folios.
[from Some words about 'War and Peace']In those days also people loved, envied, sought truth and virtue, and where carried away by passions; and there was the same complex mental and moral life among the upper classes, where were in some instances even more refined than now. If we have come to believe in the perversity and coarse violence of that period, that is only because the traditions, memoirs, stories, and novels that have been handed to us, record for the most part exceptional cases of violence and brutality. To suppose that the predominant characteristic of that period was turbulence, is as unjust as it would before a man, seeing nothing but the tops of trees beyond a hill, to conclude that there was nothing to be found in that locality but trees.
She would not say of any one in the world that they were this or were that. She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, far out to the sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day. Not that she thought herself clever, or much out of the ordinary. How she had got through life on the few twigs of knowledge Fraulein Daniels gave them she could not think. She knew nothing; no language, no history; she scarcely read a book now, except memoirs in bed; and yet to her it was absolutely absorbing; all this; the cabs passing; and she would not say of Peter, she would not say of herself, I am this, I am that.
... she ventured to recommend a larger allowance of prose in his daily study; and on being requested to particularise, mentioned such works by our best moralists, such collections of fine letters, such memoirs of characters of worth and suffering, as occurred to her at the moment as calculated to rouse and fortify the mind.
The life we led was a proof of man's capacity for adaptation. I think that even the condemned souls in purgatory after time develop a sort of homely routine. That is , by the way, why most prison memoirs are unreadable. The difficulty of conveying to the reader an idea of a nightmare world from which he has emerged makes the author depict the prisoner's state of mind as an uninterruped continuity of despair. He fears to appear frivolous or to spoil his effect by admitting that even in the depths of misery cheerfulness keeps breaking in.