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- Biography who have risen by their own exertions from poverty and obscurity to eminence and usefulness, is an inspiring and ennobling study. Its direct tendency is to reproduce the excellence.
- The great lesson of biography is to show what man can be and do at his best. A noble life put fairly on record acts like an inspiration to others.
- To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days.
- Biographies grasp the exteriors of lives and give what account they can of their interiors. These can be wholly different realities. (From the essay "Ruskin").