„Come away with me, he said, we will live on a desert island. I said, I am a desert island. It was not what he had in mind.“

Last update May 4, 2021. History
Margaret Atwood photo
Margaret Atwood347
Canadian writer 1939

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„The desert is not an island: the island is not enchanted: and the desert is no habitation for men.“

—  Peter Levi writer, archaeologist, sometime Jesuit priest 1931 - 2000

"To speak about the soul"

Neil Gaiman photo
Anne Morrow Lindbergh photo
M. C. Escher photo

„It is human nature to want to exchange ideas, and I believe that, at bottom, every artist wants no more than to tell the world what he has to say. I have sometimes heard painters say that they paint 'for themselves': but I think they would soon have painted their fill if they lived on a desert island.“

—  M. C. Escher Dutch graphic artist 1898 - 1972

1950's, On Being a Graphic Artist', 1953
Context: It is human nature to want to exchange ideas, and I believe that, at bottom, every artist wants no more than to tell the world what he has to say. I have sometimes heard painters say that they paint 'for themselves': but I think they would soon have painted their fill if they lived on a desert island. The primary purpose of all art forms, whether it's music, literature, or the visual arts, is to say something to the outside world; in other words, to make a personal thought, a striking idea, an inner emotion perceptible to other people’s senses in such a way that there is no uncertainty about the maker's intentions.

Karen Marie Moning photo

„Alone dwells every man and everyone mocks everyone else, and a deserted island is our pain.“

—  Albert Cohen Swiss writer 1895 - 1981

Le livre de ma mère [The Book of My Mother] (1954)

Czeslaw Milosz photo

„Now I am not ashamed of my defeat.
One murky island with its barking seals
Or a parched desert is enough
To make us say: yes, oui, si.“

—  Czeslaw Milosz Polish, poet, diplomat, prosaist, writer, and translator 1911 - 2004

"A Magic Mountain" (1975), trans. Czesław Miłosz and Lillian Vallee
Hymn of the Pearl (1981)

Max Beerbohm photo

„Zuleika, on a desert island, would have spent most of her time in looking for a man's footprint.“

—  Max Beerbohm English writer 1872 - 1956

Source: Zuleika Dobson http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext99/zdbsn11.txt (1911), Ch. II

George Bernard Shaw photo
Franz Kafka photo
Paul Simon photo

„I am a rock.
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries.“

—  Paul Simon American musician, songwriter and producer 1941

I Am a Rock
Song lyrics, Sounds of Silence (1966)
Source: Lyrics 1964-2008
Context: I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock.
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries.

Benito Mussolini photo

„I am not a collector of deserts!“

—  Benito Mussolini Duce and President of the Council of Ministers of Italy. Leader of the National Fascist Party and subsequent Republican… 1883 - 1945

Remark to Pierre Laval (Jan. 5, 1935) on a proposed Ethiopian border, quoted in Duce!: A Biography of Benito Mussolini (1971) by Richard Collier, p. 125
1930s

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry photo

„What makes the desert beautiful", said the little prince, "is that it hides, somewhere, a well.“

—  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, book The Little Prince

Ce qui embellit le désert, dit le petit prince, c'est qu'il cache un puits quelque part...
Le Petit Prince (1943)

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Glenn Gould photo

„I think that if I were required to spend the rest of my life on a desert island, and to listen to or play the music of any one composer during all that time, that composer would almost certainly be Bach.“

—  Glenn Gould Canadian pianist 1932 - 1982

Gramophone
Context: I think that if I were required to spend the rest of my life on a desert island, and to listen to or play the music of any one composer during all that time, that composer would almost certainly be Bach. I really can't think of any other music which is so all-encompassing, which moves me so deeply and so consistently, and which, to use a rather imprecise word, is valuable beyond all of its skill and brilliance for something more meaningful than that -- its humanity.

David Lloyd George photo

„[Lloyd George] said the Czar only got his deserts—he had ignored the just pleas of the peasants & had shot them down ruthlessly when they came unarmed to him in 1905.“

—  David Lloyd George Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1863 - 1945

Frances Stevenson's diary entry (7 February 1935), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 300
Later life

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