London goes beyond any boundary or convention.It contains every wish or word ever spoken, every action or gesture ever made, every harsh or noble statement ever expressed. It is illimitable. It is Infinite London.— Peter Ackroyd
The most remarkable Peter Ackroyd quotes that will inspire your inner self
There is no humiliation worse than the consciousness of a wasted life.
It stains the spirit, forestalls hope, and destroys any motive for action or change.
Every book for me is a chapter in the long book which will finally be closed on the day of my death.
It may seem unfashionable to say so, but historians should seize the imagination as well as the intellect. History is, in a sense, a story, a narrative of adventure and of vision, of character and of incident. It is also a portrait of the great general drama of the human spirit.
Rioting has always been a London tradition.
It has been since the early Middle Ages. There's hardly a spate of years that goes by without violent rioting of one kind or another. They happen so frequently that they are almost part of London's texture.
London' is a gallery of sensation of impressions.
It is a history of London in a thematic rather than a chronological sense with chapters of the history of smells, the history of silence, and the history of light. I have described the book as a labyrinth, and in that sense in complements my description of London itself.
The endless chatter of this journey had wearied me.
Thomas More's birth was noted by his father upon a blank page at the back of a copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'Historia Regum Britanniae'; for a lawyer John More was remarkably inexact in his references to that natal year, and the date has been moved from 1477 to 1478 and back again.
To be a writer was always my greatest aim.
I remember writing a play about Guy Fawkes when I was 10. I suppose it's significant, at least to me, that my first work should be about a historical figure.
All cities are impressive in their way, because they represent the aspiration of men to lead a common life; those people who wish to live agreeable lives, and in constant intercourse with one another, will build a city as beautiful as Paris.
What captivity has been to the Jews, exile has been to the Irish.
For us, the romance of our native land begins only after we have left home; it is really only with other people that we become Irishmen.
Murderers will try to recall the sequence of events, they will remember exactly what they did just before and just after. But they can never remember the actual moment of killing. This is why they will always leave a clue.
I have always believed that the material world is governed by nonmaterial sources, so that in that sense 'English Music' is an exercise in the spiritual as well as the material. I have always been attracted to the Gothic and spiritual imagination, and I've always been interested in visionaries.
And the smell of the library was always the same - the musty odour of old clothes mixed with the keener scent of unwashed bodies, creating what the chief librarian had once described as 'the steam of the social soup.'
The best years are when you know what you're doing.
The 16th-century theatre witnessed the particularly English manifestation of 'the history play.' There can be no doubt that Shakespeare's presentations of 'Henry V' and 'Richard III' have been incalculably more influential than any more sober historical study.
If I did only one thing at a time I'd think I was wasting my time.
If, for example, I only wrote novels I would feel like a charlatan and a fraud.
The English have always been greedy for news of times past, with that mixture of fatalism and melancholy which is part of the national character.
London has always provided the landscape for my imagination.
It becomes a character - a living being - within each of my books.
A triptych in which the presiding deities are Mother, England and Me.
Bigotry does not consort easily with free trade.
In London, I've always lived within 10 miles of where I was born.
You see, there is something called a spirit of place, and my place happens to be London, at least once a fortnight.
One can forgive Shakespeare anything, except one's own bad lines.
None of my books has been ever in my head;
after they're finished, they go. It's like being a sort of medium; you just grab it when it's there then just release it when it's time to go. There's a lot of instinct, not planning.
Sometimes the silences, the gaps, tell us more than anything else.
There are two types of people, you see.
One type keep their heads straight, and look around as they walk. The others look up - at the tops of houses, at the eaves and the lintels and the roofs, which can tell you when they were built - and I've always done that.
Only those with great ambitions know what great fears drive them forward.
People are much more interesting than people realise.
My great fear has always been complete and utter failure.
Hence, you see, all the dispossessed people in my fiction, and why I try to earn as much money as I can. It's a defense. I don't enjoy it or do anything with it.
And when I was young, did I ever tell you, I always wanted to get inside a book and never come out again? I loved reading so much I wanted to be a part of it, and there were some books I could have stayed in for ever.
Is it possible to be nostalgic about old fears?
I strike up conversations all the time and it is very interesting, finding out about things I know nothing about.
I can remember picking up weighty tomes on the history of science and the history of philosophy and reading those when I was small.
Under the force of the imagination, nature itself is changed.
You don't have to be brought up in a grand house to have a sense of the past, and I truly believe that there are certain people to whom or through whom the territory - the place, the past - speaks.
There is a word in Old English which belongs wholly to that civilization - "dustsceawung," meaning contemplation of dust. It is a true image of the Anglo-Saxon mind, or at least an echo of that consciousness which considered transcience and loss to be part of the human estate; it was a world in which life was uncertain and the principal diety was fate or destiny or "wyrd."
I don't believe necessarily the past is in the past. It's eternal, it's all around us.
It's only recently that we've discovered that the artist's inner self is somehow more important than the public world. I'm happier to create exterior pieces for the world rather than to express something I deeply feel or wish to say.
I enjoyed reading and learning at school, and at university I enjoyed extending my reading and learning. Once I left Cambridge, I went to Yale as a fellow. I spent two years there. After that, George Gale made me literary editor of 'The Spectator.
So do we discover, in the world, that our worst fears are unfulfilled;
yet we must fear, in order that we may feel delight.
Yet, like the sea and the gallows, London refuses nobody.
In so far as I have any beliefs, I suppose I'm like that old Peggy Lee song, 'Is That All There Is?' I want to believe there's something else going on, but what that something else is I don't pretend to know.
There are so many characters whizzing around inside my head, it's like Looney Tunes. But as soon as I've finished writing about them, I completely forget who they are.
In 'The Plato Papers' I wanted to get another perspective on the present moment by extrapolating into the distant future. So in that sense, there's a definite similarity of purpose between a book set in the future and a book set in the past.
It sometimes seems to me that the whole course of English history was one of accident, confusion, chance and unintended consequences - there's no real pattern.
I never read in bed, only in my study.
Why should a novelist not also be a historian? To force unnatural divisions within the English language is to work against its capacious and accommodating nature. To expect a writer to produce only novels, or only histories, is equivalent to demanding from a composer that he or she write only string quartets or piano sonatas.
Freud was just a novelist.
The world is a sea in which we all must surely drown.
I wanted to be a poet when I was 20; I had no interest in fiction or biography and precious little interest in history, but those three elements in my life have become the most important.