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Thread: Quotes from books that have lit you up

  1. #16
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    the tomorrow + tomorrow/sound + fury soliloquy from Macbeth, of course

    also Marlowe's "But that was in another country/and besides, the wench is dead"

    the "deserts of vast eternity line" from To His Coy Mistress has for whatever reason always stuck with me

  2. #17
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    This quote from a biography of Alexander the Great I read awhile back, describing prominent Greeks traveling to the Macedonian court for the wedding of Alexander's father Phillip (where Phillip would very famously be publicly murdered, likely at the behest of Alexander's mother for a complicated mix of personal/political reasons)

    "they would have seen no further into this land which they knew for its silver-fir forests, free-ranging horses, and kings who broke their word and never died a peaceful death"

    idk I think the combination of silver-fir forests and perfidious, precariously violent kings
    Last edited by padraig (u.s.); 14-10-2018 at 06:02 AM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    “It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice”
    recently read James Ellroy's L.A. Quartet and this is the epigraph of one of the books. The Big Nowhere I think, tho I'd have to check to be sure.

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    there is an astounding passage in The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, describing 1st-hand the conquistadors first sight of Tenochtitlan rising out of the mist

    it reads better in Spanish but this still gets it across

    "And when we saw all those cities and villages built in the water, and other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Mexico (i.e. Tenochtitlán), we were astounded. These great towns and temples and buildings rising from the water, all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision from the tale of Amadis. Indeed, some of our soldiers asked whether it was not all a dream. It is not surprising therefore that I should write in this vein. It was all so wonderful that I do not know how to describe this first glimpse of things never heard of, seen or dreamed of before..."

    you have to imagine these basically yokels - conquistadors were largely sons of minor gentry from dusty backwaters like Extremadura, the kind of people who'd travel into the unknown seeking fortune, and their retinues - coming on possibly the greatest city on Earth at that point, at (to them) the very edge of the world.

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    there are also some very gnarly passages later on about them entering into a conquered, devastated Tenochtitlan after they'd defeated the Aztecs in an apocalyptic war

    I'm talking rubble, piles of dead bodies, pack of feral dogs, survivors of plague and siege shuffling out hollow-eyed past the death of their civilization

    granted the Aztecs were pretty unpleasant themselves in many ways, but still, like touring Sodom after God smote it with brimstone etc

  6. #21
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    As the circumstances around you change and develop, if you don’t change and develop, you get stuck. You get left behind with yourself. You find that you’re in the company of somebody who’s not any longer very interesting. You maintain a kind of dummy interest by simply performing similar antics.
    prynne again.
    very important this particularly as you enter middle age. the world has a tendency to move on without you unless you are very vigilant and strict with yourself.

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  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    prynne again.
    very important this particularly as you enter middle age. the world has a tendency to move on without you unless you are very vigilant and strict with yourself.
    I feel like this is happening to me already, and I'm 33.

    Your personality is formed as a sort of protection against anxiety, it becomes as thick as a cocoon.

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  10. #23
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    I've felt like this a long time really. I suppose some ppl come up against their limitations earlier.

    It's why Wild Strawberries is my favourite film that hasn't got superheroes or talking animals in it.

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    theyre actually not limitations. it just means none of this stuff comes easily. you have to engage fail, try again, keep looking for the entry points. it's a case of getting inside not standing outside looking at it and wondering what the fuss is about. environments are for living in.

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    everything opens up if you direct your energy into it. but it's up to you.

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    Yeah I mean more like the defensive walls you've erected around your vulnerability, the force-field you've put up to keep emotion out, which becomes a prison.

    It all makes sense, when you're a child and growing up particulary life is like an emotional minefield.

    I'm talking about myself. Many people seek out adventure, danger, risk, on a daily basis. Which comes with its own costs ofc.

    This all translates into the intellectual sphere too. There are ideas I instinctively shy away from as threatening to my sense of stability.

  14. #27
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    all of us who have been in toxic environments round toxic people have had that problem. we make a fortress for self-preservation, and it's absolutely essential. we wouldnt have survived without it but then nothing can get in. like you say, we're walled up in there. we've kept some part of ourselves inviolate and unreachable but when the situation changes and we are safe we have to learn to open up again. it's not easy.

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    Joyce and Pynchon. There seems to be something on every page with those two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    Joyce and Pynchon. There seems to be something on every page with those two.
    Thinking about it, Gravity's Rainbow might be the book that's lit me up the most. It's been seven or eight years since I read it and I still think about it on an almost daily basis.

    It's been a prevalent notion. Fallen sparks. Fragments of vessels broken at the Creation. And someday, somehow, before the end, a gathering back to home. A messenger from the Kingdom, arriving at the last moment. But I tell you there is no such message, no such home — only the millions of last moments... nothing more. Our history is an aggregate of last moments.

    The angel appearing over Lübeck during the bombing raid is an image I often come back to:

    Basher St. Blaise’s angel, miles beyond designating, rising over
    Lübeck that Palm Sunday with the poison-green domes underneath its feet, an
    obsessive crossflow of red tiles rushing up and down a thousand peaked roofs
    as the bombers banked and dived, the Baltic already lost in a pall of incendiary
    smoke behind, here was the Angel: ice crystals swept hissing away from the back
    edges of wings perilously deep, opening as they were moved into new white
    abyss. . . . For half a minute radio silence broke apart. The traffic being:

    St. Blaise: Freakshow Two, did you see that, over.

    Wingman: This is Freakshow Two—affirmative.

    St. Blaise: Good.

    No one else on the mission seemed to’ve had radio communication. After
    the raid, St. Blaise checked over the equipment of those who got back to base
    and found nothing wrong: all the crystals on frequency, the power supplies
    rippleless as could be expected—but others remembered how, for the few
    moments the visitation lasted, even static vanished from the earphones. Some
    may have heard a high singing, like wind among masts, shrouds, bedspring or
    dish antennas of winter fleets down in the dockyards . . . but only Basher and
    his wingman saw it, droning across in front of the fiery leagues of face, the eyes,
    which went towering for miles, shifting to follow their flight, the irises red as
    embers fairing through yellow to white, as they jettisoned all their bombs in no
    particular pattern, the fussy Norden device, sweat drops in the air all around its
    rolling eyepiece, bewildered at their unannounced need to climb, to give up a
    strike at earth for a strike at heaven . . . .

  17. #30
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    at once the most correct and the most tragically depressing thing imaginable:

    Stuart: A kind of playfulness brings the continuum into being. It works
    as an acknowledgment of the contingency, of what cannot be closed,
    of what cannot be foreseen, of what will continue to move us on which
    is already present in this situation. Although it may not be in a complete,
    positive, affirmative voice, but the ironic thing is that there is already
    a negative presence already there which we can see around the corner
    of the formation that one is working within for the time being. That
    is extremely important because so many of the essentialist patriarchal
    forms of politics which are without this dimension of pleasure, irony
    and play, can’t see that it recapitulates its own forms of exclusion, but
    they always do. All of the movements that we have been involved in
    have come to that moment of seeing who is not within, of moving
    themselves on to those people who consciously have been excluded.
    That outside then comes back to trouble and disturb the settled form
    of the subject the politics were once engaged in. That happened profoundly
    in relation to race in feminism. It is race that is outside of the
    discourse. Then it comes back, and allows some people to be sufficiently
    troubled by its inclusion, to rethink where they are. The static nature
    of essentialist politics depends very much on excluding that modality.

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