Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.
“Hic et Ille”, p. 96
In societies with fewer opportunities for amusement, it was also easier to tell a mere wish from a real desire. If, in order to hear some music, a man has to wait for six months and then walk twenty miles, it is easy to tell whether the words, “I should like to hear some music,” mean what they appear to mean, or merely, “At this moment I should like to forget myself.” When all he has to do is press a switch, it is more difficult. He may easily come to believe that wishes can come true.
Interlude: West’s Disease”, p. 245
The surest sign that a man has a genuine taste of his own is that he is uncertain of it.
“Reading”, p. 6
The poet who writes “free” verse is like Robinson Crusoe on his desert island: he must do all his cooking, laundry and darning for himself. In a few exceptional cases, this manly independence produces something original and impressive, but more often the result is squalor — dirty sheets on the unmade bed and empty bottles on the unswept floor.
“Writing”, p. 22
A vice in common can be the ground of a friendship but not a virtue in common. X and Y may be friends because they are both drunkards or womanizers but, if they are both sober and chaste, they are friends for some other reason.
“Don Juan”, p. 403
No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.
“Notes on Music and Opera”, p. 472