“The true birthplace is that wherein for the first time one looks intelligently upon oneself; my first homelands have been books, and to a lesser degree schools.”

“Our great mistake is to try to exact from each person virtues which he does not possess, and to neglect the cultivation of those which he has.”

“He had reached that moment in life, different for each one of us, when a man abandonds himself to his demon or to his genius, following a mysterious law which bids him either to destroy or outdo himself.”

“There are books which one should not attempt before having passed the age of forty.”

Extracts from Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar