View Full Version : Passages

Evil Dead Junkie
03-15-2011, 09:36 PM
Reading a book? Read something good in it? Write the passage down here. Think of this as the "lyrics" subsection for books.

Include Title and Author. Give Spoiler tags where applicable.

"He sold me to a man named Curly Hill. Those were dreadful times! My father, Solomon Ratner, was not an uneducated man but he was only a junior railway clerk and there were so many mouths to feed. And imagine, a midget in the house! Well Curly came to town with his animal show- He toured all the fairs. He saw me at the station and asked me how I would like to wear a cowboy suit and ride an Irish Wolfhound. He had a chimp named Bob doiing it at the time. I directed him to my father and they came to terms."

Norwood, Charles Portis.

03-15-2011, 09:46 PM
From memory, but:

"Step up to the bar of justice and be tried by his honor, or I'll blow your meager brains out."

Irving Stone, The President's Lady

03-15-2011, 10:19 PM
Two very different favorites that sprang to mind:
Swelter, as soon as saw who it was, stopped dead, and across his face little billows of flesh ran swiftly here and there until, as though they had determined to adhere to the same impulse, they swept up into both oceans of soft cheek, leaving between them a vacuum, a gaping segment like a slice cut from a melon. It was horrible. It was as though nature had lost control. As though the smile, as a concept, as a manifestation of pleasure, had been a mistake, for here on the face of Swelter the idea had been abused.

He never sleeps, he says. He says he'll never die. He bows to the fiddlers and sashays backwards and throws back his head and laughs deep in his throat and he is a great favorite, the judge. He wafts his hat and and the lunar dome of his skull passes palely under the lamps and the swings about and takes possession of one of the fiddles and he pirouettes and makes a pass, two passes, dancing and fiddling at once. His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says that he will never die. He dances in light and in shadow and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.

Figure Four
03-15-2011, 11:10 PM
From Ann Druyan's Introduction to Carl Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience:

In that same drawer where the transcript of these lectures was rediscovered, there was a sheaf of notes intended for a book we never had the chance to write. Its working title was Ethos, and it would have been our attempt to synthesize the spiritual perspectives we derived from the revelations of science. We collected filing cabinets' worth of notes and references on the subject. Among them was a quotation Carl had excerpted from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), the mathematical and philosophical genius, who had invented differential and integral calculus independently of Isaac Newton. Leibniz argued that God should be the wall that stopped all further questioning, as he famously wrote in this passage from Principles of Nature and Grace:

"Why does something exist rather than nothing? For 'nothing' is simpler than 'something.' Now this sufficient reason for the existence of the universe... which has no need of any other reason... must be a necessary being, else we should not have a sufficient reason with which we could stop."

And just beneath the typed quote, three small handwritten words in red pen, a message from Carl to Leibniz and to us: "So don't stop."

Pajaro Pete
03-15-2011, 11:11 PM
Dad and I caught up Mum and Kellyanne on the road. Well, Mum was suddenly smiling and singing out that it was about time we menfolk got back to mining, because she reckoned it wouldn't be too long before we found something. And me and Dad looked at each other and couldn't believe those words came out of her mouth. And as we came up to them, Mum turned the wheelchair around to show us that Kellyanne was smiling too. And Kellyanne Williamson smiled for the rest of her life.

But her life was short. A week later the whole population of Lightning Ridge came out to the cemetery again. My sister Kellyanne Williamson was buried with her imaginary friends, in the same grave, in the same place where millions of years ago there had been sea and creatures swimming cheerfuly around. And she took with he some Violet Crumbles, in case Pobby and Dingan had run out.

And although in the end everyone believed that Pobby and Dingan had really lived and were really dead, nobody at the Ridge could quite believe the funeral of Kellyanne Williamson was actually happening. And I, Ashmol, still can't believe that it did. I just can't. I can't believe it at all. Even now, one year later, it feels like she's still totally alive. And I find myself lying awake talking to her all the time. And I talk to her at school and when I am walking down Opal Stret, and Humph and I when we are out at the Moozeum talk to her together, and you will still see today if you go to Lightning Ridge people pause in the middle of doing whatever they are doing to stop and talk to Kellyanne Williamson just as they still pause and talk to Pobby and Dingan and to opal in their dreams. And the rest of the world thinks we are all total nutters, but they can go and talk to their backsides for all I care. Because they are all just fruit loops who don't know what it is to believe in something which is hard to see, or to keep looking for something which is totally hard to find.

Seeing as how it's the ending of the book, it really relies on context to have any impact at all.

03-16-2011, 12:11 AM
Once there were three tribes. The Optimists, whose patron saints were Drake and Sagan, believed in a universe crawling with gentle intelligence—spiritual brethren vaster and more enlightened than we, a great galactic siblinghood into whose ranks we would someday ascend. Surely, said the Optimists, space travel implies enlightenment, for it requires the control of great destructive energies. Any race which can't rise above its own brutal instincts will wipe itself out long before it learns to bridge the interstellar gulf.

Across from the Optimists sat the Pessimists, who genuflected before graven images of Saint Fermi and a host of lesser lightweights. The Pessimists envisioned a lonely universe full of dead rocks and prokaryotic slime. The odds are just too low, they insisted. Too many rogues, too much radiation, too much eccentricity in too many orbits. It is a surpassing miracle that even one Earth exists; to hope for many is to abandon reason and embrace religious mania. After all, the universe is fourteen billion years old: if the galaxy were alive with intelligence, wouldn't it be here by now?

Equidistant to the other two tribes sat the Historians. They didn't have too many thoughts on the probable prevalence of intelligent, spacefaring extraterrestrials— but if there are any, they said, they're not just going to be smart. They're going to be mean.

It might seem almost too obvious a conclusion. What is Human history, if not an ongoing succession of greater technologies grinding lesser ones beneath their boots? But the subject wasn't merely Human history, or the unfair advantage that tools gave to any given side; the oppressed snatch up advanced weaponry as readily as the oppressor, given half a chance. No, the real issue was how those tools got there in the first place. The real issue was what tools are for.

To the Historians, tools existed for only one reason: to force the universe into unnatural shapes. They treated nature as an enemy, they were by definition a rebellion against the way things were. Technology is a stunted thing in benign environments, it never thrived in any culture gripped by belief in natural harmony. Why invent fusion reactors if your climate is comfortable, if your food is abundant? Why build fortresses if you have no enemies? Why force change upon a world which poses no threat?

Human civilization had a lot of branches, not so long ago. Even into the twenty-first century, a few isolated tribes had barely developed stone tools. Some settled down with agriculture. Others weren't content until they had ended nature itself, still others until they'd built cities in space.

We all rested eventually, though. Each new technology trampled lesser ones, climbed to some complacent asymptote, and stopped—until my own mother packed herself away like a larva in honeycomb, softened by machinery, robbed of incentive by her own contentment.

But history never said that everyone had to stop where we did. It only suggested that those who had stopped no longer struggled for existence. There could be other, more hellish worlds where the best Human technology would crumble, where the environment was still the enemy, where the only survivors were those who fought back with sharper tools and stronger empires. The threats contained in those environments would not be simple ones. Harsh weather and natural disasters either kill you or they don't, and once conquered—or adapted to— they lose their relevance. No, the only environmental factors that continued to matter were those that fought back, that countered new strategies with newer ones, that forced their enemies to scale ever-greater heights just to stay alive. Ultimately, the only enemy that mattered was an intelligent one.

And if the best toys do end up in the hands of those who've never forgotten that life itself is an act of war against intelligent opponents, what does that say about a race whose machines travel between the stars?

Evil Dead Junkie
03-16-2011, 10:33 AM
You can look like a gorila or a dragon or a giant talking penis in the Metaverse. Spend five minutes walking down the street and you will see all of these.

Snow Crash, Neil Stephenson

03-16-2011, 10:48 AM
"Let us remain together a little, we who have loved each other so sadly, and have fought so long. I seem to remember only centuries of heroic war, in which you were always heroes -- epic on epic, iliad on iliad, and you always brothers in arms. Whether it was but recently (for time is nothing), or at the beginning of the world, I sent you out to war. I sat in the darkness, where there is not any created thing, and to you I was only a voice commanding valour and an unnatural virtue. You heard the voice in the dark, and you never heard it again. The sun in heaven denied it, the earth and sky denied it, all human wisdom denied it. And when I met you in the daylight I denied it myself."

G.K. Chesterson, The Man Who Was Thursday

03-16-2011, 10:57 AM
But I often think we talk way too much in this society, that we consider verbalization a panacea that it very often is not, and that we turn a blind eye to the sort of morbid self-absorption that becomes a predictable by-product of it.

03-17-2011, 05:50 AM
It often seems to me that of all the good things in the world, the only ones humanity can claim for itself are stories and music; the rest, mercy, beauty, sleep, clean water and hot food [...] are all the work of the Increate. Thus, stories are small things indeed in the scheme of the universe, but it is hard not to love best what is our own.

03-17-2011, 05:58 AM
G.K. Chesterson, The Man Who Was Thursday

Now this thread feels like Deus Ex.

Ample Vigour
03-17-2011, 06:16 AM
I just want to be loved

03-17-2011, 07:49 PM
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no loner be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

03-17-2011, 09:51 PM
"I've seen men land on the moon" he said. "I've seen students break into administration offices and shit in the dean's waste basket. I've even seen nuns in mini-skirts. But this international conspiracy existing for eight hundred years, it's like opening a door in your own house and finding James Bond and the President of the United States personally shooting it out with Fu Manchu and the five original Marx Brothers."

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour).

03-17-2011, 10:30 PM
One thing was for certain—no woman like that would have anything less than money. Lots of money. Money I could use to pay the rent, buy groceries, maybe even splurge a little and get a wheelbarrow to help with cleaning my apartment. I only hesitated for a heartbeat wondering if it was proper for a full-fledged Wizard of the White Council to be that interested in cash. I made up my mind fast.

Phenomenal cosmic powers be damned; I have a lease.

Evil Dead Junkie
03-19-2011, 09:33 PM
He felt he was being swept away, not just from his life but from God, the idea of God, or hope, or reason, the idea that things made sense, that cause followed effect, and it ought not to be like this, Ig felt, death ought not to be like this, even for sinners.

Horns, Joe Hill

03-21-2011, 05:05 PM
A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

It is too late. The Evacuation still proceeds, but it's all theatre. There are no lights inside the cars. No light anywhere. Above him lift girders old as an iron queen, and glass somewhere far above that would let the light of day through. But it's night. He's afraid of the way the glass will fall - soon - it will be a spectacle: the fall of a crystal palace. But coming down in total blackout, without one glint of light, only great invisible crashing.


Some wait alone, some share their invisible rooms with others. Invisible, yes, what do the furnishings matter, at this stage of things? Underfoot crunches the oldest of city dirt, last crystallisations of all the city had denied, threatened, lied to it's children. Each has been hearing a voice, one he thought was talking only to him, say, "You didn't really believe you'd be saved. Come, we all know who we are by now. No one was ever going to take the trouble to save you, old fellow..."

There is no way out. Lie and wait, lie still and be quiet. Screaming holds across the sky. When it comes, will it come in darkness, or will it bring it's own light? Will the light come before or after?

03-21-2011, 06:41 PM
Terry Prattchet, Hogfather

"You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable."
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little-?"
"So we can believe the big ones?"
"They're not the same at all!"
"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point-"

03-22-2011, 10:46 AM
Loose strands of his character—the very traits that had kept him dreaming and lonely among schoolboys and later among soldiers—these seemed suddenly to have coalesced into a substantial and attractive whole. For the first time in his life he was admired and the fact that girls could actually want to go to bed with him was only slightly more remarkable than his other concurrent discovery—that men, and intelligent men at that, could actually want to listen to him talk. His marks at school were seldom better than average, but there was nothing average about his performance in the beery, all-night talks that had begun to form around him—talks that would often end in a general murmur of agreement, accompanied by a significant tapping of temples, that old Wheeler really had it. All he would ever need, it was said, was the time and the freedom to find himself. Various ultimate careers were predicted for him, the consensus being that his work would lie somewhere “in the humanities” if not precisely in the arts—it would, at any rate, be something that called for a long and steadfast dedication—and that it would involve his early and permanent withdrawal to Europe, which he often described as the only part of the world worth living in. And Frank himself, walking the streets at daybreak after some of those talks, or lying and thinking on Bethune Street on nights when he had the use of the place but had no girl to use it with, hardly ever entertained a doubt of his own exceptional merit. Weren’t the biographies of all great men filled with this same kind of youthful groping, this same kind of rebellion against their fathers and their fathers’ ways? He could even be grateful in a sense that he had no particular area of interest: in avoiding specific goals he had avoided specific limitations. For the time being the world, life itself, could be his chosen field.

But as college wore on he began to be haunted by numberless small depressions, and these tended to increase in the weeks after college was over, when the other two men had taken to using their keys less and less frequently and he was staying alone in the Bethune Street place, taking odd jobs to buy his food while he thought things out.

Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road.

03-22-2011, 08:13 PM
So far, you have read about the deaths of 557,017 people-- one of whom was killed by a streetcar, one of whom died of bronchitis and one of whom died in a barn with her rabbits.

Evil Dead Junkie
03-25-2011, 01:09 AM
In January of 1826 the demure chronicle contends that the Dolphin a United States military ship, arrived in Honolulu. "Her commander expressed his regret at the existence of a law, prohibiting females from visiting ships on infamous errand." Learning of Hiram Bingham's influence and determined to procure female companionship for himself and his shipmates, the captain informed the high chiefs "that unless the law against prostitution was repelled, he would come and tear down the houses of the missionaries.

Six or seven members of the Dolphin's crew burst into a religious service Bingham was conducting at a chief's house and threatened him with clubs. Then they went off and broke the windows at the mission house. When the captain arrived on the scene, rather then apologize for his men's threats and vandalism he purported that "he had rather have his hands tied behind him or even cut off, and go home to the United States mutilated, than to have it said, that the privilege of having prostitutes on board his vessel denied to him."

Sarah Vowell, Unfamiliar Fishes

03-25-2011, 08:47 AM
If the rest of The Urth of the New Sun were nought but blank pages, I still would feel it justified by Severian's breakdown, after he realises that he's died - not once, but twice - and the subsequent cheering-up.
"Am I an eidolon? A ghost?" I looked at my hands, hoping to be reassured by their solidity. They were shaking; to quiet them I had to jam them against my thighs.

Barbatus said, "What you call eidolons are not ghosts, but beings maintained in existance by some external source of energy. What you call matter is all, in actuality, merely bound energy. The only difference is that some is held in material form by its own energy."

At that moment I wanted to cry more than I have ever wanted anything in my life. "Actuality? You think there's really any actuality?" The release of tears would have been nirvana; harsh training yet held, and no tears came. For an instant I wondered wildly whether eidolons could weep at all.

"You speak of what is real, Severian; thus do you hold to what is real still. A moment since we spoke of him who makes. Among your folk the simple call him God, and you, the lettered, name him Increate. What were you ever but his eidolon?"

Figure Four
03-26-2011, 01:28 PM
Don't be smart. Smart is only a polished version of dumb. Try intelligence. It will surely see you through.

Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals

04-01-2011, 10:22 AM
Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be - or to be indistinguishable from - self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.

Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

04-01-2011, 10:50 PM
I'm a sucker for evocative descriptions of places, so I'm going to share a few here.

When Wilson has squeezed his bulk up through the upper hatch, Captain Crozier lifts the lower hatch and descends to the hold deck.

Because the entire deck-space lies beneath the level of outside ice, the hold deck is almost as cold as the alien world beyond the hull. And darker, with no aurora, stars, or moon to relieve the ever-present blackness. The air is thick with coal dust and coal smoke — Crozier watches the black particles curl around his hissing lantern like a banshee’s claw — and it stinks of sewage and bilge. A scraping, sliding, scuttling noise comes from the darkness aft, but Crozier knows it’s just the coal being shoveled in the boiler room. Only the residual heat from that boiler keeps the three inches of filthy water sloshing at the foot of the ladder from turning to ice. Forward, where the bow dips deeper into the ice, there is almost a foot of icy water, despite men working the pumps six hours and more a day. The Terror, like any living thing, breathes out moisture through a score of vital functions, including Mr. Diggle’s ever-working stove, and while the lower deck is always damp and rimed with ice and the orlop deck frozen, the hold is a dungeon with ice hanging from every beam and meltwater sloshing above one’s ankles. The flat black sides of the twenty-one iron water tanks lining the hull on either side add to the chill. Filled with thirty-eight tons of fresh water when the expedition sailed, the tanks are now armored icebergs and to touch the iron is to lose skin.

Evil Dead Junkie
04-02-2011, 08:50 PM
Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass. With little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the sun was as dull and gray as everything else.

When Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun and wind had changed her. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gary; they had taken the red from her cheeks and lips, and they were gray also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smile, now. When the orphan, first came to her, Em had been so startled by the child's laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever the child's merry voice reached her ears; and she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to laugh at.

Henry never laughed. He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was.

Blood Meridian By Cormac McCarthey The Wizard Of Oz by Frank L. Baum.

Christ that's bleak.

Evil Dead Junkie
04-03-2011, 10:27 PM
Past the flannel plains and blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the A.M. heat: shattercane, lamb's-quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nut-grass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscadine, spine-cabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother's soft hand on your cheek. An arrow of starlings fired from the windbeak's thatch. The glitter of dew that stays where it is and steams all day. A sunflower, four more, one bowed, and horses in the distance standing rigid and still as toys. All nodding. Electric sounds of insects at their buisiness. Alecolored sunshine and pale sky and whorls of cirrus so high they cast no shadow. Insects all business all the time. Quartz and chert and schist and chondrite iron scabs in granite. Very old land. Look around. The horizon trembling shapeless. We are all of us brothers.

The Pale King, First Paragraph, David Foster Wallace.

04-04-2011, 08:19 AM
Man, only DFW can make what is probably someone's trip to the mailbox seem like science fiction.

Evil Dead Junkie
04-05-2011, 01:18 AM
-The Moviegoer, Walker Percy


Evil Dead Junkie
04-10-2011, 09:22 PM
The nun was reading Patricia Cornwell. She saw me glance at the cover, said, "I prefer Kathy Reichs."

There's no answer to this. No polite answer anyway.

The Guards, Ken Bruen

04-10-2011, 09:39 PM
God is alive. Magic is afoot.
God is alive. Magic is afoot.
God is afoot. Magic is alive. Alive is afoot.
Magic never died.
God never sickened.
Many poor men lied. Many sick men lied.
Magic never weakened. Magic never hid. Magic always ruled.
God is afoot. God never died.
God was ruler though his funeral lengthened.
Though his mourners thickened Magic never fled.
Though his shrouds were hoisted the naked God did live.
Though his words were twisted the naked Magic thrived.
Though his death was published round and round the world the heart did not believe.
Many hurt men wondered. Many struck men bled.
Magic never faltered. Magic always led.
Many stones were rolled but God would not lie down.
Many wild men lied. Many fat men listened.
Though they offered stones Magic still was fed.
Though they locked their coffers God was always served.
Magic is afoot. God rules.
Alive is afoot. Alive is in command.
Many weak men hungered. Many strong men thrived.
Though they boasted solitude God was at their side.
Nor the dreamer in his cell, nor the captain on the hill.
Magic is alive.
Though his death was pardoned round and round the world the heart would not believe.
Though laws were carved in marble they could not shelter men.
Though altars built in parliaments they could not order men.
Police arrested Magic and Magic went with them for Magic loves the hungry.
But Magic would not tarry.
It moves from arm to arm.
It would not stay with them.
Magic is afoot. It cannot come to harm.
It rests in an empty palm.
It spawns in an empty mind.
But Magic is no instrument.
Magic is the end.
Many men drove Magic but Magic stayed behind.
Many strong men lied.
They only passed through Magic and out the other side.
Many weak men lied.
They came to God in secret and though they left him nourished they would not tell who healed.
Though mountains danced before them they said that God was dead.
Though his shrouds were hoisted the naked God did live.
This I mean to whisper to my mind.
This I mean to laugh with in my mind.
This I mean my mind to serve till service is but Magic moving through the world, and mind itself is Magic coursing through the flesh, and flesh itself is Magic dancing on a clock, and time itself the Magic Length of God.

From Beautiful Losers, by Leonard Cohen

Figure Four
04-10-2011, 10:04 PM
Reality is created out of confusion and contradiction, and if you exclude those elements, you're no longer talking about reality. You might think that--by following language and logic that appears consistent--you're able to exclude that aspect of reality, but it will always be lying in wait for you, ready to take its revenge.

Underground, Haruki Murakami

04-12-2011, 02:11 PM
I enjoy playing with words, inventing new expressions. I believe there is much more wisdom in words than we normally assume.... Here is an example. One of my recent antagonists, Mancur Olson, uses the expression "logic of collective action" in order to demonstrate the illogic of collective action, that is, the virtual unlikelihood that collective action can ever happen. At some point I was thinking about the fundamental rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and that beautiful expression of American freedom as "the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'' I noted how, in addition to the pursuit of happiness, one might also underline the importance of the happiness of pursuit, which is precisely the felicity of taking part in collective action. I simply was happy when that play on words occurred to me.

Albert Hirschman (http://rajivsethi.blogspot.com/2011/04/self-subversion-of-albert-hirschman.html)

04-12-2011, 07:13 PM
The asphalt is damp, and I catch the scent of roses. I can't bring myself to her. She wears a white sweater, and in her right hand she holds a cisp white envelope lacking only a stamp. So: She's written somebody a letter, mayber spent the whole evening writing, to judge from the sleepy look in her eyes. The envelope could contain every secret she's ever had.

On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, Haruki Murakami

04-16-2011, 12:24 PM
Cruel jokes are a big part of life in any environment where speed freaks, work addicts and obsessive-compulsive political junkies are ripped to the tits day and night for thirteen straight months on their own adrenaline and swollen more and more each day with the kind of hubris that comes when you try to cross Innocence and Ambition all at once and you start seeing yourself on the front page of the New York Times in a photo with the next president getting off a jet plane in Texas or Boston or Washington, surrounded by a gang of hard-eyed U.S. Secret Service agents escorting you through a cheering crowd...

It's a rush that a lot of people will tell you is higher than any drug they've ever tried or even heard about, and maybe better than sex...which is a weird theory and often raises unsettling personal questions, but it is a theory nonetheless, and on some days I've even believed it myself.

But not really, and days like that are so rare that I usually can't even remember them... But when I do, it is like a nail in my eye. The pain goes away, but the wound stays forever. The scar never quite heals over- and whenever it seems like it's going to, I pick at it. I have some scars that go back 33 years, and I still remember how they happened, just like it was yesterday.

Hunter S. Thompson, Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie

Evil Dead Junkie
04-28-2011, 11:43 AM
All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event- in the living act, the undoubted deed- there, some unknown but still reasoning thing put forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there is naught beyond. But 'tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing which chiefly I hate; and be the white whale agent or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy for I would strike the sun if it insulted me.

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

I love the "he tasks me".

Evil Dead Junkie
05-04-2011, 10:45 PM
[QUOTE]The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far./QUOTE]

Call Of Cthulhu, HP Lovecraft

05-04-2011, 10:51 PM
The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

05-04-2011, 11:07 PM
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.

Call Of Cthulhu, HP Lovecraft

In this vein:

That is not dead which can eternal lie;
And with strange aeons, even death may die.

The Call Of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft.

Yes, it's a Metallica lyric, and yes, everyone knows it. I still like it.


Warring his life long upon the contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality.
Ulysses, James Joyce.

05-04-2011, 11:14 PM
Warring his life long upon the contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality. - Ulysses, James Joyce.

Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronnt uonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk
I love Joyce, I'm just being a bit of an ass anyways.

Edit: my above quote is one of Joyce's onomonopia words for thunder.

05-04-2011, 11:17 PM
I love Joyce, I'm just being a bit of an ass anyways.

Edit: my above quote is one of Joyce's onomonopia words for thunder.

Ahaha man, that just makes me want to read Finnegan's Wake even more.

05-04-2011, 11:25 PM
Ahaha man, that just makes me want to read Finnegan's Wake even more.

Read it aloud! The books as made to be done so, many jokes only really makes sense that way. Only read it straight through if you have a reading group to read it with aloud often and regularly. If not forget its a novel, that doesn't matter, instead treat it as book of poetry that works best read randomly. Flip to a page and start reading aloud. Tremendous fun.

Also it's Finnegans Wake no apostrophe (the book is, the song has the apostrophe).

05-04-2011, 11:35 PM
Read it aloud! The books as made to be done so, many jokes only really makes sense that way. Only read it straight through if you have a reading group to read it with aloud often and regularly. If not forget its a novel, that doesn't matter, instead treat it as book of poetry that works best read randomly. Flip to a page and start reading aloud. Tremendous fun.

Also it's Finnegans Wake no apostrophe (the book is, the song has the apostrophe).

Oh. James Joyce is a jerk then, for confusing my punctuation.

05-06-2011, 11:47 PM
This man had saved his life, which was something; but, further, he was the ideal master. Other men saw to the welfare of their dogs from a sense of duty and business expediency; he saw to the welfare of his as if they were his own children, because he could not help it. And he saw further. He never forgot a kindly greeting or a cheering word, and to sit down for a long talk with them ("gas" he called it) was as much his delight as theirs. He had a way of taking Buck's head roughly between his hands, and resting his own head upon Buck's, of shaking him back and forth, the while calling him ill names that to Buck were love names. Buck knew no greater joy than that rough embrace and the sound of murmured oaths, and at each jerk back and forth it seemed that his heart would be shaken out of his body so great was its ecstasy. And when, released, he sprang to his feet, his mouth laughing, his eyes eloquent, his throat vibrant with unuttered sound, and in that fashion remained without movement, John Thornton would reverently exclaim, "God! you can all but speak!"

Buck had a trick of love expression that was akin to hurt. He would often seize Thornton's hand in his mouth and close so fiercely that the flesh bore the impress of his teeth for some time afterward. And as Buck understood the oaths to be love words, so the man understood this feigned bite for a caress.

The Call of the Wild Jack London

Evil Dead Junkie
05-19-2011, 08:49 PM
The biggest problem with the world over there on the other side of the tough air membrane gliding around her, Eel gathered, was that it was both lunatic and poisonous... These faceless kings and queens, wilting girls, floating shirts, giant ranting warriors and the rest, these camels and dragons and curious pigs, failed to make sense because they were utterly incapable of logic or coherence. Rationality had no place in their world. They could not make sense. Sense was not in them. Meaning had come late to the world and they had no use for it.

Peter Straub, A Dark Matter

Evil Dead Junkie
05-22-2011, 11:04 AM
The ordinary aesthetic anarchist who sets out to feel everything freely gets knotted at lat in paradox that prevents him from feeling at all. He breaks away from home limits to follow poetry. But in ceasing to feel home limits he has ceased to feel the Odyssey." He is free from national prejudices and outside patriotism. But being outside patriotism he is outside "Henry V." Such a literary man is simply outside all literate: he is more of a prisoner than any bigot. For if there is a wall between you and the world, it makes little difference whether you describe yourself as locked in or locked out.

GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy

05-22-2011, 05:49 PM
But when I'm around strangers, I turn into a conversational Mount St. Helens. I'm dormant, dormant, quiet, quiet, old-guy loners build log cabins on the slopes of my silence and then, boom, it's 1980. Once I erupt, they'll be wiping my verbal ashes off their windshields as far away as North Dakota.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell.

05-23-2011, 10:38 AM
I just stared up helplessly at the great mirage of the peeling wall. The entire wall, from the ground to the roof, was now the color of pink stucco, dwarfing me. The scratching sounds weren't coming from that wall anymore. That wall had completed itself, I realized, and the peeling was now occurring elsewhere, around front. When I moved past the corner of the house, the scratching noises stopped, but only for a moment. They resumed the second I located the patch of pain above my office window that was starting to peel off. In the glare of the street lamps I could see the house actually scarring of its own accord. Nothing was helping it. The paint was simply peeling off in a fine white shower revealing more of the pink stucco underneath. It was doing this without any assistance. I became entranced by the flecks of paint sifting down onto the lawn, and I moved closer to the house, in awe of the widening salmon-hued paint that was revealing itself.

-Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park

Evil Dead Junkie
05-29-2011, 08:22 PM
All fantasy fiction is essentially about the concept of power; great fantasy fiction is about people who find it at great cost or lose it tragically; mediocre fantasy fiction is about people who have it and never lose it but simply wield it.

Stephen King, Danse Macabre

06-08-2011, 03:38 PM
That's a very insightful line, EDJ, and can I say that I'm really enjoying your Son of Danse Macabre articles?

And there would be time enough to murder Plovey later. Revenge--as others have noted--is a dish well worth eating even when cold.

Hugh Cook, The Walrus and the Warwolf

Evil Dead Junkie
06-09-2011, 12:08 PM
That's awful nice of you to say Loki.

In speaking of which a new one just went up today. (http://sonofdansemacabre.blogspot.com/2011/06/tales-of-hook-pt-2.html)

Figure Four
06-09-2011, 07:16 PM
She put her hand out to the machine. "I hope you will not have cause to regret this," she said, smiling.

It gripped her hand gently. "Regret is for humans," it said.

She laughed. "Really?"

The machine shrugged and let go of her hand. "Oh, no. It's just something we tell ourselves."

Iain M. Banks, Against a Dark Background

06-10-2011, 06:00 AM
You! You never hated because you never lived. I know what you are all of you, from first to last -- you are the people in power! You are the police -- the great fat, smiling men in blue and buttons! You are the Law, and you have never been broken. But is there a free soul alive that does not long to break you, only because you have never been broken? We in revolt talk all kind of nonsense doubtless about this crime or that crime of the Government. It is all folly! The only crime of the Government is that it governs. The unpardonable sin of the supreme power is that it is supreme. I do not curse you for being cruel. I do not curse you (though I might) for being kind. I curse you for being safe! You sit in your chairs of stone, and have never come down from them. You are the seven angels of heaven, and you have had no troubles. Oh, I could forgive you everything, you that rule all mankind, if I could feel for once that you had suffered for one hour a real agony such as I!

I see everything, everything that there is. Why does each thing on the earth war against each other thing? Why does each small thing in the world have to fight against the world itself? Why does a fly have to fight the whole universe? Why does a dandelion have to fight the whole universe? For the same reason that I had to be alone in the dreadful Council of the Days. So that each thing that obeys law may have the glory and isolation of the anarchist. So that each man fighting for order may be as brave and good a man as the dynamiter. So that the real lie of Satan may be flung back in the face of this blasphemer, so that by tears and torture we may earn the right to say to this man, 'You lie!' No agonies can be too great to buy the right to say to this accuser, 'We also have suffered.'

06-10-2011, 08:27 AM
"Because it's a brilliant Fim. It's funny, and violent, and it's got Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth in it, and everything. And a cracking sound track."

Maybe there's no comparison between Ian sleeping with Laura and Reservoir Dogs after all. Ian hasn't got Harvey Keitel and Tim Rith in him. And Ian's not funny. Or violent. And he's got a crap sound track, judging from what we used to hear through the ceiling. I've taken this as far as it will go.

Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Figure Four
06-12-2011, 02:20 AM
Sorry be damned, and all your plans. Fuck the faithful, fuck the committed, the dedicated, the true believers; fuck all the sure and certain people prepared to maim and kill whoever gets in their way; fuck every cause that ends in murder and a child screaming.

Against a Dark Background, Iain M. Banks

06-12-2011, 10:45 AM
So there they go, Jim running slower to stay with Will, Will running faster to stay with Jim, Jim breaking two windows in a haunted house because Will's along, Will breaking one window instead of none, because Jim's watching. God, how we get our fingers in each other's clay. That's friendship, each playing the potter to see what shape we can make of the other.
Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury

06-21-2011, 06:43 PM
When he said that he looked back over to Harding and Billy and made a face, but he left that hand in front of me, big as a dinner plate.

I remember real clear the way that hand looked: there was carbon under the fingernails where he'd once worked in a garage; there was an anchor tattooed back from the knuckles; there was a dirty Band-Aid on the middle knuckle, peeling up at the edge. All the rest of the knuckles were covered with scars and cuts, old and new. I remember the palm was callused, and the calluses were cracked, and dirt was worked in the cracks. A road map of his travels up and down the west. That palm made a scuffing sound against my hand. I remember the fingers were thick and strong closing over mine, and my hand commenced to feel peculiar and went to swelling up there on my stick of an arm, like he was transmitting his own blood into it. It rand with blood and power. It blowed up near as big as his, I remember...

It–everything else I see–looks like it sounded, like the inside of a tremendous dam. Huge brass tubes disappear upward in the dark. Wires run to transformers out of sight. Grease and cinders catch on everything, staining the couplings and motors and dynamos red and coal black

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey

Evil Dead Junkie
07-21-2011, 10:44 PM
He had grown up believing in America and the individual and it was a stronger faith than his faith in God. This was the land where no man had to bow. In this place at last a man cold stand up free of the past, free of tradition and blood ties and the curse of royalty and become what he wished to become. This was the first place on earth where the man mattered more than the state. True freedom had begun here and it would spread eventually over all the earth. But it had begun here. The fact of slavery upon this incredibly beautiful new clean earth was appalling, but even more than that was the horror of old Europe, the curse of nobility, which the South was transplanting to new soil. They were forming a new aristocracy, a new breed of glittering men, and Chamberlain had come to crush it.

But he was fighting for the dignity of man and in that way he was fighting for himself. If men were equal in America, all these former Poles and English and Czechs and Blacks, then they were equal everywhere, and there was really no such thing as a foreigner; there were only free men and slaves. And so it was not even patriotism but a new faith.

The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara

07-22-2011, 04:12 AM
The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one. He has an unfair advantage and an unfair disadvantage. He cannot sleep in his own skin; he cannot trust his own instincts. He is at once a creator moving miraculous hands and fingers and a kind of cripple. He is wrapped in artificial bandages called clothes; he is propped on artificial crutches called furniture. His mind has the same doubtful liberties and the same wild limitations. Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself. Alone among the animals he feels the need of averting his thought from the root realities of his own bodily being; of hiding them as in the presence of some higher possibility which creates the mystery of shame. Whether we praise these things as natural to man or abuse them as artificial in nature, they remain in the same sense unique.

G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Nice to see that a few others like Chesterton. When I was a kid, one of my favourite passages was this bit from Robert E. Howard's Almuric:

I was living the life of the most primitive savage; I had neither companionship, books, clothing, nor any of the things which go to make
up civilization. According to the cultured viewpoint, I should have been most miserable. I was not. I revelled in my existence. My being grew and expanded. I tell you, the natural life of mankind is a grim battle for existence against the forces of nature, and any other form of life is artificial and without realistic meaning.

My life was not empty; it was crowded with adventures calling on every ounce of intelligence and physical power. When I swung down from my chosen eyrie at dawn, I knew that I would see the sun set only through my personal craft and strength and speed. I came to read the meaning of every waving grass tuft, each masking bush, each towering boulder. On every hand lurked Death in a thousand forms. My vigilance could not be relaxed, even in sleep. When I closed my eyes at night it was with no assurance that I would open them at dawn. I was fully alive. That phrase has more meaning than appears on the surface. The average civilized man is never fully alive; he is burdened with masses of atrophied tissue and useless matter. Life flickers feebly in him; his senses are dull and torpid. In developing his intellect he has sacrificed far more than he realizes.

I realized that I, too, had been partly dead on my native planet. But now I was alive in every sense of the word; I tingled and burned and stung with life to the finger tips and the ends of my toes. Every sinew, vein, and springy bone was vibrant with the dynamic flood of singing, pulsing, humming life. My time was too much occupied with food-getting and preserving my skin to allow the developing of the morbid and intricate complexes and inhibitions which torment the civilized individual. To those highly complex persons who would complain that the psychology of such a life is over-simple, I can but reply that in my life at that time, violent and continual action and the necessity of action crowded out most of the gropings and soul-searchings common to those whose safety and daily meals are assured them by the toil of others. My life was primitively simple; I dwelt altogether in the present. My life on Earth already seemed like a dream, dim and far away.

It isn't quite as rousing for me now, though, as an aspiring academic. :p

07-25-2011, 09:08 PM
I could just say "the entirety of The Once and Future King, by T.H. White," but that would be cheating. So I'll pick a passage in particular that has stuck with me since I first read the book (nowhere near early enough in my life) in 2004. This one is easy to find for me. In my sadly falling-apart copy, it is bookmarked:

There is a thing called knowledge of the world, which people do not have until they are middle-aged. It is something which cannot be taught to younger people, because it is not logical and does not obey laws which are constant. It has no rules. Only, in the long years which bring women to the middle of life, a sense of balance develops. You can't teach a bby to walk by explaining the matter to her logically -- she has to learn the strange poise of walking by experience. In some way like that, you cannot teach a young woman to have knowledge of the world. She has to be left to the experience of the years. And then, when she is beginning to hate her used body, she suddenly finds that she can do it. She can go on living -- not by principle, not be deduction, not by knowledge of good and evil, but simply by a peculiar and shifting sense of balance which defies each of these things often. She no longer hopes to live by seeking the truth -- if women ever do hope this -- but continues henceforth under the guidance of a seventh sense. Balance was the sixth sense, which she won when she first learned to walk, and now she has the seventh one -- knowledge of the world.

The slow discovery of the seventh sense, by which both men and women contrive to ride the waves of a world in which there is war, adultery, compromise, fear, stultification and hypocrisy -- this discovery is not a matter for triumph. The baby, perhaps, cries out triumphantly: I have balance! But the seventh sense is recognized without a cry. We only carry on with our famous knowledge of the world, riding the queer waves in a habitual, petrifying way, because we have reached a stage of deadlock in which we can think of nothing else to do.

And at this stage we begin to forget that there ever was a time when we lacked the seventh sense. We begin to forget, as we go stolidly balancing along, that there could have been a time when we were young bodies flaming with the impetus of life. It is hardly consoling to remember such a feeling, and so it deadens in our minds.

But there was a time when each of us stood naked before the world, confronting life as a serious problem with which we were intimately and passionately concerned. There was a time when it was of vital interest to us to find out whether there was a God or not. Obviously the existence or otherwise of a future life must be of the very first importance to somebody who is going to live her present one, because her manner of living it must hinge on the problem. There was a time when Free Love versus Catholic Morality was a question of as much importance to our hot bodies as if a pistol had been clapped to our heads.

Further back, there were times when we wondered with all our souls what the world was, what love was, what we were ourselves.

All these problems and feelings fade away when we get the seventh sense. Middle-aged people can balance between believing in God and breaking all the commandments, without difficulty. The seventh sense, indeed, slowly kills all the other ones, so that at last there is no trouble about the commandments. We cannot see any more, or feel, or hear about them. The bodies which we loved, the truths which we sought, the Gods whom we questioned: we are deaf and blind to them now, safely and automatically balancing along toward the inevitable grave, under the protection of our last sense.

There seems to be a power of truth in it.

08-07-2011, 05:51 PM
It felt like being a child again, though it was not. Being a child is like nothing. It’s only being. Later, when we think about it, we make it into youth.

China Mieville, Embassytown

08-08-2011, 04:57 AM
Life is awfully important so if you've given it away you'd ought to think with all your mind in the last moments of your life about the thing you traded it for. So did all those kids die thinking of democracy and freedom and liberty and honor and the safety of the home and of stars and stripes forever?

You're goddamned right they didn't.

They died crying in their minds like little babies. They forgot the thing they were fighting for the things they were dying for. They thought about things a man can understand. They died yearning for the face of a friend. They died whimpering for the voice of a mother a father a wife a child. They died with their hearts sick for one more look at the place where they were born please god just one more look. They died moaning and sighing for life. They knew what was important. They knew that life was everything and they died with screams and sobs. They died with only one thought in their minds and that was I want to live I want to live I want to live.
Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun

08-11-2011, 07:32 PM
Ermengarde Stubbs was the beauteous blonde daughter of Hiram Stubbs, a poor but honest farmer-bootlegger of Hogton, Vt. Her name was originally Ethyl Ermengarde, but her father persuaded her to drop the praenomen after the passage of the 18th Amendment, averring that it made him thirsty by reminding him of ethyl alcohol, C2H5OH. His own products contained mostly methyl or wood alcohol, CH3OH. Ermengarde confessed to sixteen summers, and branded as mendacious all reports to the effect that she was thirty. She had large black eyes, a prominent Roman nose, light hair which was never dark at the roots except when the local drug store was short on supplies, and a beautiful but inexpensive complexion. She was about 5ft 5.33...in tall, weighed 115.47 lbs. on her father's copy scales - also off them - and was adjudged most lovely by all the village swains who admired her father's farm and liked his liquid crops.
H.P. Lovecraft (writing as Percy Simple), Sweet Ermengarde

I had no idea Lovecraft was capable of being funny. How odd.

09-06-2011, 11:35 PM
"Frank, listen. Try not to start talking until I finish, and just listen.” And in an oddly stifled voice, as if she’d rehearsed her speech several times without allowing for the fact that she’d have to breathe while delivering it, she told him of a girl in dramatic school who knew from first hand experience, an absolutely infallible way to induce a miscarriage. . .

Even as he filled his lungs for shouting he knew it wasn’t the idea itself that replled him—the idea itself, God knew, was more than a little attractive—it was that she had done all this on her own, in secret. . .that if she’d thought about him at all it was only a possible hitch in the scheme, a source of tiresome objections that would have to be cleared up and disposed of if the thing were to be carried out with maximum efficiency. That was the intolerable part of it; that was what enriched his voice with a tremor of outrage:

“Christ sake, don’t be an idiot. You want to kill yourself? I don’t even want to hear about it.”

She sighed patiently. “All right, Frank. In that case there’s certainly no need for you to hear about it. I only told you because I thought you might be willing to help me in this thing. Obviously, I should have known better.”

“Listen. Listen to me. You do this—you do this and I swear to God I’ll—“

“Oh, you’ll what? You’ll leave me? What’s that supposed to be—a threat or a promise?”

And the fight went on all night. It caused them to hiss and grapple and knock over a chair, it spilled outside and downstairs and into the street (“Get away from me! Get away from me!”); it washed them trembling up against the hire wire fence of a waterfront junkyard, until a waterfront drunk came to stare at them and make them waver home, and he could feel the panic and the shame of it even now. . .The next day, weeping in his arms, she had allowed herself to be dissuaded.

“Oh, I know I know,” she had whispered against his shirt, “I know you’re right. I’m sorry. I love you. We’ll name it Frank and we’ll send it to college and everything. I promise, promise.”

And it seemed to him now that no single moment of his life had ever contained a better proof of manhood than that, if any proof were needed: holding that tamed, submissive girl and saying “Oh, my lovely; oh my lovely,” while she promised she would bear his child. . .

And I didn’t even want a baby, he thought to the rhythm of his digging. Isn’t that the damnedest thing? I didn’t want a baby any more than she did. Wasn’t it true, then, that everything in his life from that point on had been a succession of things he hadn’t really wanted to do? Taking a hopelessly dull job to prove he could be as responsible as any other family man, moving to an overpriced, genteel apartment to prove his mature belief in the fundamentals of orderliness and good health, having another child to prove that the first one hadn’t been a mistake, buying a house in the country because that was the next logical step and he had to prove himself capable of taking it. Proving, proving; and for no other reason than that he was married to a woman who had somehow managed to put him forever on the defensive, who loved him when he was nice, who lived according to what she happened to feel like doing and who might at any time—this was the hell of it—who might at any time of day or night just happen to feel like leaving him. It was as ludicrous and as simple as that.

Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road.

Evil Dead Junkie
09-08-2011, 09:31 AM
We tell our children they're trapped like rats on a doomed, bankrupt, gangster haunted planet with dwindling resources, with nothing to look forward to but rising sea levels and imminent mass extinctions, then raise a disapproving eyebrow when, in response, they dress in black, cut themselves with razors, starve themselves, gorge themselves or kill one another.

Grant Morrison, Supergods

Evil Dead Junkie
10-18-2011, 12:05 AM
"In your world as in mine, is it not considered bad to take and use, without permission, an object that another man is currently using or depending on?"

"Yes, in our world we call this 'stealing,'" said John, "It is considered a greater crime, though, to unleash killer spiders on an unarmed crowd. We call it 'arachnicide'"

John Dies At The End, Dave Wong

03-08-2012, 07:52 PM
Coming to the end of Great Expectations, writing these out to imprint them more firmly in my soul.
I knew not how to answer, or how to comfort her. That she had done a grievous thing in taking an impressionable young child to mould into the form that her wild resentment, spurned affection, and wounded pride, found vengeance in, I knew full well. But that, in shutting out the light of day, she had shut out infinitely more; that, in seclusion, she had secluded herself from a thousand natural and healing influences; that, her mind, brooding solitary, had grown diseased, as all minds do and must and will that reverse the appointed order of their Maker; I knew equally well. And could I look upon her without compassion, seeing her punishment in the ruin she was, in her profound unfitness for this earth on which she was placed, in the vanity of sorrow which had become a master mania, like the vanity of penitence, the vanity of remorse, the vanity of unworthiness, and other monstrous vanities that have been curses in this world?
So much more palpably resonant than a random "revenge is an abyss!" line in any given Batman.
When the Sessions came round, Mr. Jaggers caused an application to be made for the postponement of his trial until the following Sessions. It was obviously made with the assurance that he could not live so long, and was refused. The trial came on at once, and, when he was put to the bar, he was seated in a chair. No objection was made to my getting close to the dock, on the outside of it, and holding the hand that he stretched forth to me.

The trial was very short and very clear. Such things as could be said for him, were said--how he had taken to industrious habits, and had thriven lawfully and reputably. But, nothing could unsay the fact that he had returned, and was there in presence of the Judge and Jury. It was impossible to try him for that, and do otherwise than find him Guilty.
The whole scene starts out again in the vivid colours of the moment, down to the drops of April rain on the windows of the court, glittering in the rays of April sun. Penned in the dock, as I again stood outside it at the corner with his hand in mine, were the two-and-thirty men and women; some defiant, some stricken with terror, some sobbing and weeping, some covering their faces, some staring gloomily about. There had been shrieks from among the women convicts, but they had been stilled, and a hush had succeeded.
Among the wretched creatures before him whom he must single out for special address, was one who almost from his infancy had been an offender against the laws; who, after repeated imprisonments and punishments, had been at length sentenced to exile for a term of years; and who, under circumstances of great violence and daring had made his escape and been re-sentenced to exile for life. That miserable man would seem for a time to have become convinced of his errors, when far removed from the scenes of his old offences, and to have lived a peaceable and honest life. But in a fatal moment, yielding to those propensities and passions, the indulgence of which had so long rendered him a scourge to society, he had quitted his haven of rest and repentance, and had come back to the country where he was proscribed . . . The appointed punishment for his return to the land that had cast him out, being Death, and his case being this aggravated case, he must prepare himself to Die.

It's a testament to the sublime ability of the public education system to nurture an absolute abhorrence of reading, that I read this book for the second time in the same year that I read Crime & Punishment for the first, with the result being:
Crime & Punishment, being a leisure reading that I alone out of my entire school, including teachers probably, read that year, sank itself and its details so deeply into me that I was able to recall most of the plot, character relations, and name pronunciations when I read it again years later.
Great Expectations had so thoroughly and successfully erased itself in every possible way from my memory by the time I took it up again a few months ago that the only things I remembered at all about it were 1) that it is a book by Charles Dickens and 2) that the main character has the most jovial and unexpected reunion with an old acquaintance when he first enters his furnished London apartment.
That's it. I literally couldn't even remember the main character's name is Pip, even though before re-reading the book I had just read that fact in Ebert's stonking review (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19990822/REVIEWS08/908220301/1023) of one of the book's adaptations! On the one hand, it was absolutely wonderful to encounter every plot twist as freshly as if I had never even heard the name "Dickens" until I opened this book. On the other: What the hell, high school English? I read the damn thing twice in two years and I couldn't even remember a three-letter name.

The sun was striking in at the great windows of the court, through the glittering drops of rain upon the glass, and it made a broad shaft of light between the two-and-thirty and the Judge, linking both together, and perhaps reminding some among the audience, how both were passing on, with absolute equality, to the greater Judgment that knoweth all things and cannot err.
yes it's literally the next sentence after my last quote what of it
And I desperately want to get this one in before I lose the moment of it:
Our oarsmen were so fresh, by dint of having occasionally let her drive with the tide for a minute or two, that a quarter of an hour's rest proved full as much as they wanted. We got ashore among some slippery stones while we ate and drank what we had with us, and looked about. It was like my own marsh country, flat and monotonous, and with a dim horizon; while the winding river turned and turned, and the great floating buoys upon it turned and turned, and everything else seemed stranded and still. For, now, the last of the fleet of ships was round the last low point we had headed; and the last green barge, straw-laden, with a brown sail, had followed; and some ballast-lighters, shaped like a child's first rude imitation of a boat, lay low in the mud; and a little squat shoal-lighthouse on open piles, stood crippled in the mud on stilts and crutches; and slimy stakes stuck out of the mud, and slimy stones stuck out of the mud, and red landmarks and tidemarks stuck out of the mud, and an old landing-stage and an old roofless building slipped into the mud, and all about us was stagnation and mud.

01-09-2016, 04:16 PM
Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honors that are heaped on Caesar.

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar—what should be in that “Caesar”?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?