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Quotations about
Imagination & Creativity


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Imagination is the soul's happiest retreat. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


The imagination is a palette of bright colors. You can use it to touch up memories — or you can use it to paint dreams. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


When you find imagination tracing the outlines and reason filling in the details, there you have a man. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Imagination," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940


A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942, translated from the French by Lewis Galantière


I have frequently indulged in all sorts of fancies for hours together, and at times when people thought I was very busy. I am sensible how detrimental this is as regards loss of time; yet without some such "fantasy-cure," I should have never made it to this age. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), "The Character of a Person of my Acquaintance"  [Lichtenberg's unfinished "autopsychography" (Norman Alliston, 1908). A little altered. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Memory has thousands of eyes staring into the experiences of the past, while Imagination peers into every corner of the universe. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897


It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards... ~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, And What Alice Found There


Let your imagination take you wherever you want to be. ~Bob Ross, The Joy of Painting


More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
~William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, c.1595  [V, 1, Theseus]


The Possible's slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination!
~Emily Dickinson


[Y]ou can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~Mark Twain, "Chapter XLIII: The Battle of the Sand-Belt," A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, 1889


One is never happier than when a strong inclination determines one to live exclusively in this world. My misfortune is that I exist, never in this world, but in a number of possible concatenations and combinations created, with the help of conscience, by my imagination. And thus I lose a part of my time without reason being able to get the upper hand. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), "The Character of a Person of my Acquaintance"  [Lichtenberg's unfinished "autopsychography" (Norman Alliston, 1908). —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Far away in the land of "If and Perhaps"
The city of "Make-Believe" lies,
With its wonderful, beautiful towers and domes
And turrets that reach the skies;
'Tis peopled by fairies, pixies, and gnomes,
And nobles and ladies fair,
And the poorest gamin that walks the streets
Is a prince if he enters there...
~Cynthia M. McCague, "The City of Make-Believe," in The Outlook, 1898 March 12th


His faculty of imagination, his most faithful companion, never leaves him... ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), "Concerning a Person of My Acquaintance"  [Writing of himself. An unfinished work. Translated by Norman Alliston, 1908. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Sometimes imagination pounces; mostly it sleeps soundly in the corner, purring. ~Terri Guillemets


They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~Edgar Allan Poe


Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, 1871


In short, the earnest and affectionate observation of Nature endows you with Imagination and Intelligence, and these two are of infinite value to you. They are, for home consumption the best part of you, whoever you are, the best part, I mean, of your own individual self which your mother loved, and which those who divide it into mind and body don't love a bit. Imagination and Intelligence keep mind and body together, and keep them keeping each other bright. ~Walter Moxon, M.D., F.R.C.P. (1836–1886), "Nothing: Being a Protest Against Buttermilk," October 1876


In the realist you have the sorry sight of the five senses deprived of their imagination. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


I pluck roses out of the air and press them to my yearning breast. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing: XV," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Not "cribb'd in, cabin'd, and confin'd,"
By that small closet's bounds, his mind,
In winter's long dark night,
Unfolds its wings; and fancy flies
Where landscapes, under summer skies,
Bask in its sunshine bright.
~Bernard Barton, "Stanzas on the Approach of Winter" (stanza XIX), Napoleon and Other Poems, 1822


Trapped by reality, freed by imagination. ~Nicolas Manetta


To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores... ~William Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, c.1610  [IV, 4, Camillo]


The hardest thing about reality is returning to it after an hour inside your child's mind. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Man can lend himself to all the sallies of imagination; he consents to follow its adventurous bark through the narrowest and most perilous straights; but when once it has broken the tie that bound it to reality, he either ceases to follow it at all, or follows it without sympathy, with impatience, or anxiety. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)


Those who do not think outside the box are easily contained. ~Nicolas Manetta



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