Simon Schama

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Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
Howard Aiken
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Simon Schama (born 1945-02-13), is a British historian and art critic.


  • Historians are left forever chasing shadows, painfully aware of their inability ever to reconstruct a dead world in its completeness however thorough or revealing their documentation. We are doomed to be forever hailing someone who has just gone around the corner and out of earshot.
    • Dead Certainties (Unwarranted Speculations) p. 320 (1991)


  • My father read Dickens out loud. My mother would say 'We're going to the workhouse'. This to me was real. I was headed for the gruel.
  • Walking on camera is damn hard. It's a Jewish problem. The rangy stride across the blasted moor is not really a Jewish thing.
  • It was a conscious decision by (Sir Robert) Walpole and others to replace religion with making money. Elections replaced battles, and the fights were over party politics.
  • But it struck me that the extreme violence and cruelty of the English Civil War had gone understated.
  • We find a way (in each country) to contain our differences of opinion without annihilating one another.
  • History ought never to be confused with nostalgia; it’s written not to revere the dead, but to inspire the living. It’s our cultural bloodstream, the secret of who we are. And it tells us to let go of the past, even as we honor it; to lament what ought to be lamented, to celebrate what should be celebrated.

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