Of course I wrote most of the Constitution myself. I remember hesitating for a long time over the US presidential system. But it wouldn't have done - we were too trained in English democracy to sit down under a dictatorship which is what the American system really is.
The best books are not read even by those who are called good readers. What does our Concord culture amount to? There is in this town, with a very few exceptions, no taste for the best or for very good books even in English literature, whose words all can read and spell.
It is curious for one who studies the action and reaction of national literature on each other, to see the humor of Swift and Sterne and Fielding, after filtering through Richter, reappear in Carlyle with a tinge of Germanism that makes it novel, alien, or even displeasing, as the case may be, to the English mind.
The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling;the comic and the witty story upon the matter.
Among those today who believe that modern poetry must do without rhyme or metre, there is an assumption that the alternative to free verse is a crash course in villanelles, sestinas and other such fixed forms. But most...are rare in English poetry. Few poets have written a villanelle worth reading, or indeed regret not having done so.
The English love for privacy is proverbial, and has not been exaggerated. A stranger who strikes up a conversation is looked upon with suspicion - unless he happens to be an American, when his ignorance of good manners is indulged.
I have never been particularly good with languages. Despite a dozen years of Hebrew school and a lifetime of praying in the language, I'm ashamed to admit that I still can't read an Israeli newspaper. Besides English, the only language I speak with any degree of fluency is Spanish.
I didn't want to do a costume drama. It's a great thing to do, but I've done them, and I didn't want to do the same thing again. Of course, costume dramas can be from all different eras, but at the time, I just felt very sure that I didn't want to be boxed in as an English actress. I wanted to be an actress, rather than an English actress.