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Old 05-20-2008   #71
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
It's interesting to look back through books I read in the past and see which passages my younger self (dumber or smarter?) chose to pencil-mark for some reason or other.
I've been doing the same thing: flicking through old books of mine and looking for the passages that my younger self underlined in pencil (people who underline in pen should be charged with assault). Dumber or smarter? Most of the underlinings thus far have made no sense to me whatsoever.

Yesterday I went to my local library with the intention of borrowing Wilkins' translation of The Man Without Qualities, which I had located on their online catalogue. The book, miracle of miracles, was on the shelf, where it was supposed to be... alas I left it there. The reason: thicker than a phone book and requiring more strength than I have at the moment--the strength both to carry it home and to read it when I'm there. Instead I borrowed Ian McEwan's thin collection of short stories In Between the Sheets. Yes, yes, I know, I ranted and raved against McEwan in a previous thread, but I'm willing to give the Englishman another go. I also borrowed Tanizaki's novel Quicksand. The back cover promises: "A rivetting tale of malevolent corruption masked by a terrible and deceptive beauty."

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz

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Old 05-21-2008   #72
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Here is one of those "passages underlined in pencil." I must have been sixteen or seventeen, and I had just discovered the Marquis de Sade. The following quotation, shakily underlined, as if I were gripped by a fever, comes from the Grove Press edition of Justine:

"Oh Therese, is there any crime here? Is this the name with which to designate what serves Nature? Is it in man's power to commit crimes? And when, preferring his own happiness to that of others, he overthrows or destroys whatever he finds in his path, has he done anything but serve Nature whose primary and most imperious inspirations enjoin him to pursue his happiness at no matter whose expense? The doctrine of brotherly love is a fiction we owe to Christianity and not to Nature; the exponent of the Nazarene's cult, tormented, wretched and consequently in an enfeebled state which prompted him to cry out for tolerance and compassion, had no choice but to allege his fabulous relationship between one person and another; by gaining acceptance for the notion he was able to save his life. But the philosopher does not acknowledge these gigantic rapports; to his consideration, he is alone in the universe, he judges everything subjectively, he only is of importance. If he is thoughtful of or caresses another for an instant, it is never but in strait connection with what profit he thinks to draw from the business; when he is no longer in need of others, when he can forcefully assert his empire, he then abjures forever those pretty humanitarian doctrines of doing good deeds to which he only submitted himself for reasons of policy; he no longer fears to be selfish, to reduce everyone around him, and he sates his appetites without inquiring to know what his enjoyments may cost others, and without remorse."

"But the man you describe is a monster."

"The man I describe is in tune with Nature."

"He is a savage beast."

"Why, is not the tiger or the leopard, of whom this man is, if you wish, a replica, like man created by Nature and created to prosecute nature's intentions? [...] Wolves which batten upon lambs, lambs consumed by wolves, the strong who immolate the weak, the weak victims of the strong: there you have Nature, there you have her intentions, there you have her scheme [...]"

Apparently at the age of 17 I wanted to be a libertine... I suspect that I just really needed a girlfriend.

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-21-2008   #73
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Here's something I found a few minutes ago:

http://thereaderonline.co.uk/?p=396
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Old 05-22-2008   #74
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"Song for a Dead Time" by Michael Gira

"Now the past is untrue, and this breath is a lie, and the sun is an emptiness, that burns through the sky. And this ground it'll slide down, down into the sea, and when this body dies, no man will breathe one word, of ignorance, for me... So bury your trust beneath the ground with me, and lay your loneliness down for the sun to consume... Now the earth bleeds cold water, in my open hands, but their bodies bleed poison, and they swallow the sand. And we'll walk to the river, where we'll die of a thirst, and my fate, it's no question: every fool he is broken beneath the same, unholy curse... So bury your love beneath the ground with me, and lay your loneliness down for the sun to burn, to sand..."

from the liner notes of Swans, Various Failures (Young God Records)

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-25-2008   #75
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"We are so used to disguising ourselves from others that we end by disguising ourselves from ourselves." -- La Rochefoucauld, Maxims

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-25-2008   #76
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"We have to accept the reality as it is imposed on us by the culture, by society or whatever you want to call it, and at the same time understand that there is nothing that we can do to experience the reality of anything." U. G. Krishnamurti

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-25-2008   #77
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"Cheerfulness is the religion of the little. The low hills are a-smirk with flowers and greenery; the dominating peaks, austere and desolate, holding a prophecy of doom." -- Ambrose Bierce, Epigrams

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-25-2008   #78
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher." -- Ambrose Bierce, Epigrams

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-25-2008   #79
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

In spiritual matters material aids are not to be despised: by the use of an organ and a painted window an artistic emotion can be made to seem a religious ecstasy." -- Ambrose Bierce, Epigrams

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz

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Old 05-25-2008   #80
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"It's not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late." -- Emile Cioran, The Trouble with Being Born

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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