--Rainer Maria Rilke, letter to Clara Rilke, October 13, 1907
Shall I tell you what they, my father and all of them are doing at this moment? Sprawling on the floor looking at a new rat-trap. Two pounds of butter vanished the other night out of the dairy; they had been put in a shallow pan with the water in it, and it is averred the rats ate it, and Peggy Tuite, the dairymaid, to make the thing more credible, gives the following reason for the rats' conduct. "Troth, ma'am, they were affronted at the new rat-trap, they only licked the milk off of it, and that occasioned them to run off with the butter!"
--Maria Edgeworth, letter to Mrs. Ruxton, October 13, 1814
You asked me recently why I maintain that I am afraid of you. As usual I was unable to think of any answer to your question, partly for the very reason that I am afraid of you, and partly because an explanation of the grounds for this fear would mean going into far more details than I could even approximately keep in mind while talking. And if I now try to give you an answer in writing, it will still be very incomplete, because, even in writing, this fear and its consequences hamper me in relation to you and because the magnitude of the subject goes far beyond the scope of my memory and power of reasoning.
--Franz Kafka, undelivered letter to Hermann Kafka, November 1919
Everything in your eyes is diminished and uglified. . . . You always focus on the faults, on what can be satirized. . . . To see only ugliness, that is what people do when they do not love. . . . You are not aware that when you paint only cruelly, underlining only faults or weaknesses, you are the loser.
---Anais Nin, letter to Gore Vidal, winter 1948