12 Inspiring Steven Millhauser Quotes (Free List)

Steven Millhauser quotes are thought-provoking, memorable and inspiring. From views on society and politics to thoughts on love and life, Steven Millhauser has a lot to say. In this list we present the 12 best Steven Millhauser quotes, in no particular order. Let yourself get inspired!

(And check out our page with Steven Millhauser quotes per category if you only want to read quotes from a certain category, such as funny, life, love, politics, and more).

Steven Millhauser quotes

All words are masks and the lovelier they are, the more they are meant to conceal.

— Steven Millhauser


God pity the poor novelist.

— Steven Millhauser, Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright


That afternoon he told me that the difference between human beings and animals was that human beings were able to dream while awake. He said the purpose of books was to permit us to exercise that faculty. Art, he said, was a controlled madness… He said books weren’t made of themes, which you could write essays about, but of images that inserted themselves into your brain and replaced what you were seeing with your eyes.

— Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter


I had thought that words were instruments of precision. Now I know that they devour the world, leaving nothing in its place.

— Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter


Ennui had more distractions far more amusing than the automatons of a watchmaker in Mühlenberg.

— Steven Millhauser


But what struck me was the book-madness of the place–books lay scattered across the unmade bed and the top of a battered-looking desk, books stood in knee-high piles on the floor, books were crammed sideways and right side up in a narrow bookcase that rose higher than my head and leaned dangerously from the wall, books sat in stacks on top of a dingy dresser. The closet door was propped open by a pile of books, and from beneath the bed a book stuck out beside the toe of a maroon slipper.

— Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter


Art, he said, was a controlled madness…He said that books weren’t made of themes, which you could write essays about, but of images that inserted themselves into your brain and replaced what you were seeing with your eyes.

— Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter


The swirling lines of snow were composed of separate flakes, and each flake was a cluster of separate ice crystals–scientists had counted over a hundred of them in a single flake. Under the microscope each minuscule crystal, colorless and transparent, revealed a secret symmetry: six sides, the outward expression of an inward geometry of frozen molecules of water. But the real wonder was that no two crystals were precisely alike. In one of this father’s camera magazines he had seen a stunning display of photomicrographs, and what was most amazing about the enlarged crystals was that each contained in its center a whole world of intricate six-sided designs, caused by microscopic air pockets. For no conceivable reason, Nature in a kind of exuberance created an inexhaustible outpouring of variations on a single form. A snowstorm was a fall of jewels, a delirium of hexagons–clearly the work of a master animator.

— Steven Millhauser, Little Kingdoms


Stories, like conjuring tricks, are invented because history is inadequate for our dreams.

— Steven Millhauser


Others saw in the trend still another instance of a disturbing tendency in the American suburb: the longing for withdrawal, for self-enclosure, for expensive isolation.

— Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter


Franklin knew that the truth lay with the winter night: the world was silent and black-and-white.

— Steven Millhauser, Little Kingdoms


After all, we were young. We were fourteen and fifteen, scornful of childhood, remote from the world of stern and ludicrous adults. We were bored, we were restless, we longed to be seized by any whim or passion and follow it to the farthest reaches of our natures. We wanted to live – to die – to burst into flame – to be transformed into angels or explosions. Only the mundane offended us, as if we secretly feared it was our destiny . By late afternoon our muscles ached, our eyelids grew heavy with obscure desires. And so we dreamed and did nothing, for what was there to do, played ping-pong and went to the beach, loafed in backyards, slept late into the morning – and always we craved adventures so extreme we could never imagine them. In the long dusks of summer we walked the suburban streets through scents of maple and cut grass, waiting for something to happen.

— Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter


Was there a turn, a change in the atmosphere? To single out a particular moment is to distort the record, for it suggests a clear history of cause and effect that can only betray our sense of what really happened.

— Steven Millhauser, Voices in the Night: Stories