Karen Blixen Quotes

Enjoy the top 63 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Karen Blixen.

Karen Blixen Quotes

When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.
— Karen Blixen —

If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?

— Karen Blixen

Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.

— Karen Blixen

When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: God made the world round so we would
God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.

— Karen Blixen

People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the artist, who has no will, who is free of will. The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this: that there things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control. Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, rich and delicate colours, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of ...

— Karen Blixen

Write a little every day, without hope, without despair.

— Karen Blixen

Of all the idiots I have met in my life, and the Lord knows they have not been few or little, I think that I have been the biggest.

— Karen Blixen

It's an odd feeling-farewell-there is some envy in it. Men go off to be tested for courage and if we're tested at all, it's for patience, for doing without, for how well we can endure loneliness.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: Through all the world there goes one
Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me a chance to do my best.

— Karen Blixen

We must leave our mark on life while we have it in our power.

— Karen Blixen

A visitor is a friend, he brings news, good or bad, which is bread to the hungry minds in lonely places. A real friend who comes to the house is a heavenly messenger, who brings the panis angelorum.

— Karen Blixen

There is a particular hapiness in giving a man whom you like very much, good food that you have cooked yourself.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: When in the end the day came on which i
When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.

— Karen Blixen

The real difference between God and human beings, he thought, was that God cannot stand continuance. No sooner has he created a season of a year, or a time of the day, than he wishes for something quite different, and sweeps it all away. No sooner was one a young man, and happy at that, than the nature of things would rush one into marriage, martyrdom or old age. And human beings cleave to the existing state of things. All their lives they are striving to hold the moment fast ... Their art itself is nothing but the attempt to catch by all means the one particular moment, one light, the momentary beauty of one woman or one flower, and make it everlasting.

— Karen Blixen

Up in this air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.

— Karen Blixen

Our longing is our pledge, and blessed are the homesick, for they shall come home.

— Karen Blixen

I start with a tingle, a kind of feeling of the story I will write. Then come the characters, and they take over, they make the story.

— Karen Blixen

When you have caught the rhythm of Africa, you find out that it is the same in all her music.

— Karen Blixen

It is a sad hardship and slavery to people who live in towns, that in their movements they know of one dimension only; they walk along the line as if they were led on a string. The transition from the line to the plane into the two dimensions, when you wander across a field or through a wood, is a splendid liberation to the slaves, like the French Revolution. But in the air you are taken into the full freedom of the three dimensions; after long ages of exile and dreams the homesick heart throws itself into the arms of space.

— Karen Blixen

Through the loveliness and power of her dream world she was now, in her old frock and botched shoes, very likely the loveliest, mightiest and most dangerous person on earth

— Karen Blixen

I was young, and by instinct of self-preservation I had to collect my energy on something, if I were not to be whirled away with the dusk on the farm-roads, or the smoke on the plain. I begun in the evenings to write stories, fairy-tales, and romances, that would take my mind a long way off, to other countries and times.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: For really dreaming is the well mannered
For really, dreaming is the well-mannered people's way of committing suicide.

— Karen Blixen

There are things which cannot be carried through even with the good will of everybody concerned

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: Circumstances can have a motive force by
Circumstances can have a motive force by which they bring about events without aid of human imagination or apprehension. On such occasions you yourself keep in touch with what is going on by attentively following it from moment to moment, like a blind person who is being led, and who places one foot in front of the other cautiously but unwittingly. Things are happening to you, and you feel them happening, but except for this one fact, you have no connection with them, and no key to the cause or meaning of them. [ ... ] - a passage outside the range of imagination, but within the range of experience.

— Karen Blixen

The sky was rarely more than pale blue or violet, with a profusion of mighty, weightless, ever-changing clouds towering up and sailing on it, but it has blue vigour in it, and at a short distance it painted the ranges of hills and the woods a fresh deep blue.

— Karen Blixen

The views were immensely wide. Everything that you saw made for greatness and freedom, and unequealled nobility.

— Karen Blixen

I have conquered them all, but I am standing amongst graves

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: He conveyed a strange impression of
He conveyed a strange impression of being in safety, and completely secure. He had a courteous little manner with him, and smiled and nodded, as I pointed out the hills and the tall trees to him, as if he were interested in everything, and incapable of surprise at anything. I wondered if this consistency was produced by an entire ignorance of the evil of the world, or by a deep knowledge and acceptance of it.

— Karen Blixen

Still, we often talked on the farm of the Safaris that we had been on. Camping places fix themselves in your mind as if you had spent long periods of your life in them. You will remember a curve of your wagon track in the grass of the plain, like the features of a friend.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: Much which is unworthy in human life
Much which is unworthy in human life might be avoided if people would only accustom themselves to talking in verse

— Karen Blixen

Between the river in the mellow English landscape and the African mountain ridge, ran the path of this life ... The bowstring was released on the bridge at Eton, the arrow described its orbit, and hit the obelisk in the Ngong Hills.

— Karen Blixen

It is more than their land that you take away from the people whose native land you take. It is their past as well, their roots and their identity. If you take away the things that they have been used to see, and will be expecting to see, you may, in a way, as well take out their eyes.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: The barbarian loves his own pride and
The barbarian loves his own pride, and hates, or disbelieves in, the pride of others. I will be a civilized being, I will love the pride of my adversaries, of my servants, and my lover; and my house shall be, in all humility, in the wilderness a civilized place.

— Karen Blixen

The ideas of justice of Europe and Africa are not the same and those of the one world are unbearable to the other. To the African there is but one way of counter-balancing the catastrophes of existence, it shall be done by replacement; he does not look for the motive of an action. Whether you lie in wait for your enemy and cut his throat in the dark; or you fell a tree, and a thoughtless stranger passes by and is killed; so far as punishment goes, to the Native mind, it is the same thing. A loss has been brought upon the community and must be made up for, somewhere, by somebody. The Native will not give time or thought to the weighing of guilt or desert; either he fears that this may lead him too far, or he reasons that such things are no concerns of his. But he will devote himself, in endless speculations, to the method by which crime or disaster shall be weighed up in sheep and goats - time does not count to him; he leads you solemnly into a sacred maze of sophistry.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: We fish rest quietly on all sides
We fish rest quietly, on all sides supported, within an element which all the time accurately and unfailingly evens itself out. An element which may be said to have taken over our personal experience, in as much as, regardless of individual shape and whether we be flat fish or round fish, our weight and body and calculated according to the quantity of our surroundings which we displace ... We run no risks. For our changing of place in existence never creates, or leaves after it, what man calls a way, upon which phenomenon - in reality no phenomenon but an illusion - he will waste inexplicable passionate deliberation. Man, in the end, is alarmed by the idea of time, and unbalanced by incessant wanderings between past and future.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: Within this enclosed womens world so to
Within this enclosed women's world, so to say, behind the walls and fortifications of it, I felt the presence of a great ideal, without which the garrison would not have carried on so gallantly; the idea of a Millennium when women were to reign supreme in the world. The old mother at such times would take on a new shape, and sit enthroned as a massive dark symbol of that mighty female deity who had existed in old ages, before the time of the prophet's God. Of her they never lost sight, but they were, before all, practical people with an eye on the needs of the moment and with infinite readiness of resource.

— Karen Blixen

Where, My Lord, is music bred-upon the instrument or within the ear that listens? The loveliness of woman is created in the eye of man.

— Karen Blixen

I turned to the animal world from the world of men; my heart was heavy with the tragedy of the night.

— Karen Blixen

Love the pride of the conquered nations, and leave them to honour their father and their mother.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: Come now and let us go and risk our
Come now and let us go and risk our lives unnecessarily. For if they have got any value at all it is this that they gave got none. Frei lebt wer sterben kann.

— Karen Blixen

The young (Somali) women were very inquisitive as to European customs, and listened attentively to descriptions of the manners, education, and clothes of white ladies, as if out to complete their strategic education with the knowledge of how the males of an alien race were conquered and subdued.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: The relation between the white and black
The relation between the white and black races in Africa in many ways resembles the relation between the two sexes.
If the one of the two sexes were told that they did not play any greater part in the life of the other sex than this other sex plays within their own existence, they would be shocked and hurt.
[ ... ]
If they (white people) had been told that they played no more important part in the lives of the Natives than the Natives played in their own lives, they would have been highly indignant and ill at ease.
If you had told the Natives that they played no greater part in the life of the white people than the white people played in their lives, they would never have believed you, but would have laughed at you. Probably in Natives circles, stories are passing about, and being repeated, which prove the all-absorbing interest of the white people in the Kikuyu or Kavirondo, and their complete dependence upon them.

— Karen Blixen

The table was prettily decorated with camellias from the orangery, and upon the snow-white tablecloth, amongst the clear crystal glasses, the old green wineglasses threw delicate little shadows, like the spirit of a pine forest in summer. The Prioress had on a grey taffeta frock with a very rare lace, a white lace cap with streamers, and her old diamond eardrops and brooches. The heroic strength of soul of old women, Boris thought, who with great taste and trouble make themselves beautiful - more beautiful, perhaps, than they have ever been as young women - and who still can hold no hope of awakening any desire in the hearts of men, is like a righteous man working at his good deeds even after he has abandoned his faith in a heavenly reward.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: Eros colpisce come il fabbro con il
Eros colpisce come il fabbro con il martello
sprizzando scintille dalla sfida.
Hai spento il mio cuore tra lacrime e lamenti,
come si spegne un fuoco incandescente del ruscello.

— Karen Blixen

A medal is an inconvenient thing to give to a naked man, because he has got no place to fix it on to.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: And i had by now become used to the idea
And I had by now become used to the idea of witchcraft, it seemed a reasonable thing, so many things are about, at night, in Africa.

— Karen Blixen

To die for the one you loved was an effort too sweet for words.

— Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen Quotes: There is hardly any other sphere in
There is hardly any other sphere in which prejudice and superstition of the most horrific kind have been retained so long as in that of women, and just as it must have been an inexpressable relief for humanity when it shook off the burden of religious prejudice and superstition, I think it will be truly glorious when women become real people and have the whole world open before them.

— Karen Blixen

Msabu's bleeding. She does not have this ox. This lion is hungry. He does not have this ox. This wagon is heavy. It doesn't have this ox. God is happy, msabu. He plays with us.

— Karen Blixen

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