Virtue, my pet, is an abstract idea, varying in its manifestations with the surroundings. Virtue in Provence, in Constantinople, in London, and in Paris bears very different fruit, but is none the less virtue.
(Honoré De Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist. Louise de Chaulieu to Renée de l'Estorade in a letter, in Letters of Two Brides (Mémoires de Deux Jeunes Mariées), in La Presse (1841-1842), Souverain (1842), included in the Scènes de la Vie Privée in the Comédie humaine (1845, trans. by George Saintsbury, 1971).)
New York is what Paris was in the twenties ... the center of the art world. And we want to be in the center. It's the greatest place on earth.... I've got a lot of friends here and I even brought my own cash.
(John Lennon (1940-1980), British rock musician. The Tomorrow Show, April 1975, NBC-TV.
Lennon was finally given residency status in the U.S. the following year.)
Fashion understands itself; good-breeding and personal superiority of whatever country readily fraternize with those of every other. The chiefs of savage tribes have distinguished themselves in London and Paris, by the purity of their tournure.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Manners," Essays, Second Series (1844).)
We worship not the Graces, nor the Parcæ, but Fashion. She spins and weaves and cuts with full authority. The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller's cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 28, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
To be rich is to have a ticket of admission to the masterworks and chief men of each race. It is to have the sea, by voyaging; to visit the mountains, Niagara, the Nile, the desert, Rome, Paris, Constantinople: to see galleries, libraries, arsenals, manufactories.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).)
Write about winter in the summer. Describe Norway as Ibsen did, from a desk in Italy; describe Dublin as James Joyce did, from a desk in Paris. Willa Cather wrote her prairie novels in New York City; Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn in Hartford, Connecticut. Recently, scholars learned that Walt Whitman rarely left his room.
(Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 5 (1989).)