(Continued from page 9)
"It is not enough to be the possessor of genius -- the time and the man must conjoin. An Alexander the Great, born into an age of profound peace, might scarce have troubled the world -- a Newton, grown up in a thieves' den, might have devised little but a new and ingenious picklock."
-- John Cleveland Cotton, Diversions of Historical Thought
"Nothing can permanently please which does not contain in itself the reason why it is so, and not otherwise."
-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"Finally, good sense is the body of poetic genius, fancy its drapery, motion its life, and imagination the soul that is everywhere and in each; and forms all into one graceful and intelligent whole."
-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, ch. XIV
"Too much of anything is the beginning of a mess."
-- Dorothy Draper, 365 Shortcuts to Home Decorating
"Tennyson and Browning are poets, and they think; but they do not feel their thought as immediately as the odour of a rose. A thought to Donne was an experience; it modified his sensibility."
-- T. S. Eliot, The Metaphysical Poets
"But while the language became more refined, the feeling became more crude. The feeling, the sensibility, expressed in the 'Country Churchyard' (to say nothing of Tennyson and Browning) is cruder than that in the 'Coy Mistress'. The second effect of the influence of Milton and Dryden followed from the first, and was therefore slow in manifestation. The sentimental age began early in the eighteenth century, and continued. The poets revolted against the ratiocinative, the descriptive; they thought and felt by fits, unbalanced; they reflected. In one or two passages of Shelley's 'Triumph of Life', in the second 'Hyperion' there are traces of a struggle toward unification of sensibility. But Keats and Shelley died, and Tennyson and Browning ruminated."
-- T. S. Eliot, The Metaphysical Poets
"You will notice how I insult neither of us by claiming this to be a voice from the defeated even, let alone from the dead. In fact, if I were a philosopher, I should deduce and derive a curious and apt commentary on the times and auger of the future from this letter which you now hold in your hands -- a sheet of notepaper with, as you can see, the best of French watermarks dated seventy years ago, salvaged (stolen, if you will) from the gutted mansion of a ruined aristocrat; and written upon in the best of stove polish manufactured not twelve months ago in a New England factory….And since because within this sheet of paper you now hold the best of the old South which is dead, and the words you read were written upon with the best (each box said, the very best) of the new North which has conquered and which, therefore, whether it likes it or not, will have to survive, I now believe that you and I are, strangely enough, included among those who are doomed to live."
--.William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
"For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is stll time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armstead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago.…"
-- William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust
"In Europe, being an artist is a form of behavior. In America, it's an excuse for a form of behavior."
-- William Faulkner, Mosquitoes
"What then is to be the lot of Rossetti's fame and influence? 'An amateur who failed in two arts', it is true; yet it hardly harms Rossetti or touches his standing. On the contrary, it defines both very brilliantly. The small word 'failed' is a small word and little more to artists who are forever going on until they give up over a game that must be lost. Every artist, when confronted by the immensities of art, which is life, must confess to failure. A failure is a thing very relative."
-- Ford Madox Ford, Memories and Impressions: A Study in Atmospheres (1911)
"When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands with the buttered side facing down. I propose to strap buttered toast to the back of a cat; the two will hover, spinning, inches above the ground. With a giant buttered-cat array, a high-speed monorail could easily link New York with Chicago."
-- John Frazee
"When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature."
-- Sigmund Freud
"The concern of the musician is to play the music. It is there demanding to be given sound to."
-- Robert Fripp
"Oh sir, think of them at home, walking in the acacia walk, and eating as many strawberries as they like, and having all the blinds down in the library; and here we are, without a breath of air, and must not eat anything."
-- George, John Ruskin's valet, on a tour of Italy in mid-June
" But the provincials of Rome, trained by a uniform, artificial foreign education, were engaged in a very unequal competition with those bold ancients, who by expressing their genuine feelings in their native tongue, had already occupied every place of honor. The name of 'poet' was almost forgotten, that of 'orator' was usurped by the sophist. A cloud of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of learning. And the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste."
-- Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire, volume 1
"Hold thy peace, dear little Pearl!" whispered her mother. "We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest."
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
"In a dilemma, it is helpful to change any variable, then reexamine the problem."
-- Robert Heinlein, Have Space Suit, Will Travel
"The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is; everything that ever will be, is -- and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue immobile and accessible; and, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but as something that is."
-- Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale
"Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier; I have seen worse sights than this."
-- Homer, The Iliad, 11
"No one ought to care if she keeps dogs or wears some jewelry, but we care in retrospect, because we see that the same frame of mind which leads her to such minor infractions leads her to participate unwittingly in something monstrous."
-- Donald Howard, on Chaucer's "The Prioress' Tale"
"The little candle that sheds its beams but a little way procures delightful chiaroscuro. Artists like Rembrandt did not dread the dark. Fancy if the Magi had been able to see the Christ Child clearly by the light of an electric bulb attached to the headstall of the manger in a stable which nowadays would have been more like a cheerful bathroom! Could the Raven have ejaculated his 'Nevermore!' with such awful incidence from the bust above the door if his listener could have studied the outlines of the ungainly fowl? No, dirt is a part of our Mother Earth, and a layer of it softens the harsh edge of things."
-- Violet Hunt, The Wife of Rossetti
"The first of my father's illusions was that bears could survive the life led by human beings; the second was that human beings could survive a life in hotels."
-- John Irving, Hotel New Hampshire
"It is a damned poor mind indeed that can't think of at least two ways of spelling any word."
-- Andrew Jackson
"The way they've got it set up, you can see God three times, do more than Marco Polo, and never eat anything weirder than a biryani."
-- Mark Jacobson, Higher Trail Through India [Rolling Stone, 10/15/1981]
"Mankind's common instinct for reality ... has always held the world to be essentially a theatre for heroism. In heroism, we feel, life's supreme mystery is hidden. We tolerate no one who has no capacity whatever for it in any direction. On the other hand, no matter what a man's frailties otherwise may be, if he be willing to risk death, and still more if he suffer it heroically, in the service he has chosen, the fact consecrates him forever."
-- William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902)
"The world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck."
-- William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience
"Whatever universe a professor believes in must at any rate be a universe that lends itself to lengthy discourse. A universe definable in two sentences is something for which the professorial intellect has no use."
-- William James, The Present Dilemma
(Continued on page 25)