10 fragments by other people
Sentences which are good because they lift the veil, as Schopenhauer says, and remind us of knowledge we didn't know we had, as Plato says, and access reality through imagination, as Murdoch says
Even that night as he stumbled homewards along Jones’s Road he had felt that some power was divesting him of that suddenwoven anger as easily as a fruit is divested of its soft ripe peel.
From James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
Stephen Dedalus (in free indirect discourse) captures the buoyant freedom which forgiveness can bring all of a sudden.
We are on that verge where words abandon us, and what wonder if we grow dizzy to look down the dark abyss of — how little we know!
From Percy Shelley’s essay ‘On Life’ (1819)
Shelley puts words to unknowing — or, words don’t abandon Shelley.
And I will look down to see my murmuring bones and the deep water like wind, like a roof of wind, and after a long time they cannot distinguish even bones upon the lonely and inviolate sand.
From William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)
That’s Quentin Compson imagining the wreckage of his drowned body.
The wind seemed to be rising. I saw the Ghost wring its hand and put its thumb into its mouth — cruelly pinched, I doubt not, between two stems of the lilies when the breeze swayed them.
From C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (1945)
Lewis pains the reader with a reminder of the atavistic, childlike wretchedness of the whimpering Ghost.
For the poet is condemned to learn his profoundest yearnings through an awareness of other selves. The poem is within him, yet he experiences the shame and splendour of being found by poems — great poems — outside him. To lose freedom in this centre is never to forgive, and to learn the dread of threatened autonomy forever.
From Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence (1973)
I like how much Bloom feels, how much he wrings his hands over, the anxiety he describes - imputes?
But this terrestrial phenomenon of the early morn cannot be better delineated than by the name given of it by the shepherd boys, "The little wee ghost of the rainbow."
From James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
The narrator describes the sublunary rainbow at the top of Arthur’s Seat, where frequent sightings of a Brocken Spectre occur, in the shepherds’ language.
A ray of sunshine full of dust specks lit up the malicious monkeys. He knelt down. ‘Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae'.
From Giuseppe di Lampedusa, The Leopard (1958) trans. Archibald Colquhoun
It’s quintessential The Leopard. I might just like this so much because I distinctly remember the moment I first read it.
Easy now, Jamesy! Did you never walk the streets of Dublin at night sobbing another name?
From James Joyce, Giacomo Joyce (written 1914)
At times it feels uncomfortable to be listening in on Joyce talking to himself, especially like this.
It is true that had his gifts, such as they were, been acknowledged in his lifetime, he would never have made the bargain I saw him make - that strange bargain whose results have kept him always in the foreground of my memory.
From Max Beerbohm, Seven Men and Two Others (1919)
Oddly poignant in the context of this humorous vignette, Beerbohm sets out to remedy the insignificance of his made-up writer, Enoch Soames.
To be sure, he [Benjamin Franklin] said a great many wise things, and I don’t feel sure he didn’t borrow this — but he speaks as if it were old. But then he applied it so neatly! “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
From Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (1906)
From where did the old maxim come? The whole framing of this draws out the essence of inherited wisdom and the mystical authority of unattributed aphorisms.