Happy Birthday, Stacy Schiff, born 26 October 1961
- A woman can never be too rich or too thin, but until very, very recently, she could be too powerful, for which – if she wasn’t smart enough to camouflage herself – she generally paid the price.
- Women enjoyed rights in Egypt they would not again enjoy for more than 2,000 years. They owned ships, ran vineyards, filed lawsuits, practiced medicine. Their husbands supported them after divorce. Their power was unprecedented.
- It has always been preferable to attribute a woman’s success to her beauty rather to her brains, to reduce her to the sum of her sex life.
- Recently a study proved that working from a larger, less cluttered computer screen increases concentration. I could have told them that. And yes, I write first drafts with a mechanical pencil and a yellow legal pad.
- I don’t think there is ever objective biography. Our vision of our subject is always shaped by who we are. So I do, of course, think the biographer’s view is always something to keep in mind.
- As always, an educated woman was a dangerous woman.
- For a few thousand years, women had no history. Marriage was our calling, and meekness our virtue. Over the last century, in stuttering succession, we have gained a voice, a vote, a room, a playing field of our own. Decorously or defiantly, we now approach what surely qualifies as the final frontier.
- Non-fiction writers are the pack horses of literature. We’re meant to carry the story. If we can make it up and down the mountain by a reliable if not scenic route, we have delivered. Technique is optional.
- I’m a sucker for lost worlds. I was nostalgic even as a child. I was happiest in my hometown library in Adams, Mass., where nothing seemed to change.
- I can’t write a line without music – it provides just the right amount of distraction to keep me focused.
Stacy Schiff is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American nonfiction author and guest columnist for The New York Times. She is the author of Cleopatra: A Life.
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