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Date: 1814, 1816, 1896

"When these resplendent Lights had thus display'd / The shapes and hues of all in Nature made; / The Fish were form'd, depicting Appetites, / And Fowls that soar aloft like Fancy's flights; / Beasts--useful Cattle--Insects--creeping Things-- / Which tread the soil, or soar on wavering wings-- / T...

— Woodhouse, James (bap. 1735, d. 1820)

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Date: 1820

"Then let winged Fancy wander / Through the thought still spread beyond her:"

— Keats, John (1795-1821)

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Date: 1820

"And we breathe, and sicken not, / The atmosphere of human thought: / Be it dim, and dank, and gray, / Like a storm-extinguished day, / Travelled o'er by dying gleams; / Be it bright as all between / Cloudless skies and windless streams, / Silent, liquid, and serene; / As the birds within the win...

— Shelley, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822)

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Date: January, 1884

"Our mental life, like a bird's life, seems to be made of an alternation of flights and perchings."

— James, William (1842-1910)

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Date: 1914

"I think with all his purity Emerson had within him the turbid stream of passion and desire; for all his hard-cut granite features he knew the instincts of the weakling and the slave; and for all his sweetness, he had the tiger and the jackal in his soul."

— de Cleyre, Voltairine (1866-1912)

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Date: 1992

"It was hard enough to rescue himself from the avalanche of his own feelings, without allowing the gloomy St Bernard of his attention to wander into other fields."

— Edward St. Aubyn (b. 1960)

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Date: 1999

"A soul was like a worm in an apple, my mother told me."

— Offill, Jenny (b. 1968)

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Date: 2006

"Weber still saw the rarest of butterflies, fluttering mind, its paired wings pinned to the film in obscene detail."

— Powers, Richard (b. 1957)

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Date: 2009, trans. 2012

"As all the thoughts and images of consciousness began to move in directions over which I had no control, and I seemed to be lying there watching them, like a kind of lazy sheepdog of the mind, I knew sleep was around the corner."

— Knausgaard, Karl Ove (b. 1968)

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Date: May 21, 2011

"My thoughts turn into the cowbirds wandering among the horses’ hooves."

— Klinkenbourg, Verlyn (b. 1952)

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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.