The weight of the old world is stifling, and trying to shovel its weight off your life is tiring just to think about. The constant shuttling of opinions is tiring, and the shuffling of papers across desks, the chopping of logic and the trimming of attitudes. There must, somewhere, be a simpler, more violent world.
When men decided women could be educated - this is what I think - they educated them on the male plan; they put them into schools with mottoes and school songs and muddy team games, they made them were collars and ties. It was a way to concede the right to learning, yet remain safe; the products of the system would always be inferior to the original model. Women were forced to imitate men, and bound not to succeed at it.
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Law of Suspects. Suspects are those: who have in any way aided tyranny (royal tyranny, Brissotin tyranny...); who cannot show that they have performed their civic duties; who do not starve, and yet have no visible means of support; who have been refused certificates of citizenship by their Sections; who have been removed from public office by the Convention or its representatives; who belong to an aristocratic family, and have not given proof of constant and extraordinary revolutionary fervor; or who have emigrated.
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Some readers read a book as if it were an instruction manual, expecting to understand everything first time, but of course when you write, you put into every sentence an overflow of meaning, and you create in every sentence as many resonances and double meanings and ambiguities as you can possibly pack in there, so that people can read it again and get something new each time.
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The door was flung open. Maurice Duplay filled it; energetic master, shirt- sleeves rolled up. He threw out his arms, the good Jacobin Duplay, and formed a sentence totally original, something which had never been uttered in the history of the world: 'Camille, you have a son, and your wife is very well, and is asking you to be at home, right now.
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In the forest you may find yourself lost, without companions. You may come to a river which is not on a map. You may lose sight of your quarry, and forget why you are there. You may meet a dwarf, or the living Christ, or an old enemy of yours; or a new enemy, one you do not know until you see his face appear between the rustling leaves, and see the glint of his dagger. You may find a woman asleep in a bower of leaves. For a moment, before you don't recognise her, you will think she is someone you know.
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He looked the Prince up and down, like a hangman taking his measurements. 'Of course there will be a revolution, ' he said. 'You are making a nation of Cromwells. But we can go beyond Cromwell, I hope. In fifteen years you tyrants and parasites will be gone. We shall have set up a republic, on the purest Roman model.
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Your fear is, that if you marry Ade¨le, you will love her. If you have children, you will love them more than anything else in the world, more than patriotism, more than democracy. If your children grow up, and prove traitors to the people, will you be able to demand their deaths, as the Romans did? Perhaps you will, but perhaps you will not be able to do it. You're afraid that if you love people you may be deflected from your duty, but it's because of another kind of love, isn't it, that the duty is laid upon you?
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I aim to make the fiction flexible so that it bends itself around the facts as we have them. Otherwise I don't see the point. Nobody seems to understand that. Nobody seems to share my approach to historical fiction. I suppose if I have a maxim, it is that there isn't any necessary conflict between good history and good drama.
and I sometimes think that the fading out of the individual personality is what one should desire, not the status of a hero-a sort of effacement of oneself from history. The entire record of the human race has been falsified, it has been made up by bad governments to suit themselves, by kings and tyrants to make them look good. This idea of history as made by great men is quite nonsensical, when you look at it from the point of view of the people. The real heroes are those who have resisted tyrants, and it is in the nature of tyranny not only to kill those who oppose it but to wipe their names out of the record, to obliterate them, so that resistance seems impossible.
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The year now is 1774. Poseurs or not, it is time to grow up. It is time to enter the public realm, the world of public acts and public attitudes. Everything that happens now will happen in the light of history. It is not a midday luminary, but a corpse-candle to the intellect; at best, it is a secondhand lunar light, error-breeding, sand-blind and parched.
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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.
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In order not to make a liar out of Henry or Katherine, one or the other, the committee men think up circumstances in which the match may have been partly consummated, or somewhat consummated, and to do this they have to imagine every disaster and shame that can occur between a man and a woman alone in a room in the dark.
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.
He runs his eye along the row of knives in their racks, the cleavers for splitting bones. He picks one up, looks at its edge, decides it needs sharpening and says, "Do you think I look like a murderer? In your good opinion?" A silence. After a while, Thurston proffers, "At this moment, master, I would have to say...