A blog for the comprehensive understanding of Literature, Applied Linguistics and ELT

May 13, 2017

Katherine Mansfield Quick Facts

Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield, a New Zealand short story writer, who is regarded as a key figure in British modernism for developing modern short story.

Katherine Mansfield Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp
  • Married Name: Kathleen Mansfield Murry
  • Pseudonym: Katherine Mansfield
  • Date of Birth: October 14, 1888
  • Place of Birth: Wellington, New Zealand
  • Zodiac Sign: Libra
  • Death: January 9, 1923
  • Place of Death: Fontainebleau, France
  • Cause of Death: Tuberculosis
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: New Zealand
  • Place of Burial: Cimetiere d'Avon, Avon
  • Gravestone Inscription:
“KATHERINE MANSFIELD
WIFE OF
JOHN MIDDLETON MURRY
1988-1923
BORN AT WELLINGTON
NEW ZEALAND
DIED AT AVON”
  • Father: Harold Beauchamp (1858–1938)
  • Mother: Annie Burnell Beauchamp (1863–1818)
  • Siblings:
  1. Sister: Vera Margaret Bell (c. 1885–1974)
  2. Sister: Charlotte Mary Perkins (1887–1966)
  3. Sister: Gwedoline Burnell Beauchamp (1890–1891)
  4. Sister: Jeanne Worthington Renshaw (1892–1989)
  5. Brother: Leslie Heron Beauchamp (1894–1915)
  • Sexual Orientation: Bisexual
  • Spouse:
  1. George Bowden (m. Mar 2, 1909)
  2. John Middleton Murry (m. May 3, 1918)
  • Partner: Ida Constance Baker (1888–1978)
  • Children: 1 stillborn daughter
  • Alma Mater: Wellington Girls’ College; Queen's College
  • Known for: noted for her short stories with themes relating to women's lives and social hierarchies as well as her sense of wit and characterizations.
  • Criticized for: her bohemian lifestyle and libertinism, which entailed affairs with many men and two women.
  • Katherine Mansfield was Influenced by: Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), George Gurdjieff (1866–1949), and Beatrice Hastings (1879 –1943)
  • Mansfield’s Works Inspired: Christopher Isherwood (1904–1986), and Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)

Quotes

“Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. So suffering must become Love. This is the mystery. This is what I must do.”

Katherine Mansfield, The Journal of Katherine Mansfield (1927), Journal entry: 19 December 1920

Major Themes

  • The growth and self-consciousness of the female
  • The relation between men and women
  • Complexity of human emotion
  • Children’s innocence
  • Repressed sexuality
  • Bisexuality
  • Disappointment
  • Gender roles
  • The cruelty of the reality
  • Death

Notable Works

  • In a German Pension (1911)
  • "Prelude" (1918)
  • Bliss and Other Stories (1920)
  • The Garden Party and Other Stories (1922)
  • The Dove's Nest (1923)
  • Something Childish (1924)

Did You Know?

  • Katherine Mansfield was the third of the five children born to a financier and the chairman of the Bank of New Zealand, Harold Beauchamp.
  • She first published her stories in the Wellington Girls’ High School magazine and the High School Reporter.
  • Her short story "Prelude” was published by Woolf's Hogarth Press as a book in 1918.
  • Only three collections of her stories were published during her lifetime and most of her works remained unpublished till her death.
  • Most of Mansfield’s subjects were recollections of her family and her childhood spent in New Zealand.
  • Mansfield was an early practitioner of stream of consciousness technique.
  • When Mansfield settled in the United Kingdom, she became a friend of modernist writers such as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.
  • Mansfield is thought to have contracted tuberculosis from D.H. Lawrence.
  • Apart from her literary career Mansfield is widely remembered for her promiscuous relationships with both, men and women, which partly led to her downfall.
  • At the age of nineteen she fell in love with Garnet Trowell, a young violinist. When the affair collapsed, she rashly married G.C. Bowden, a singing teacher and then abandoned him the day after the wedding to live with Ida Baker. She resumed her relationship with Garnet, became pregnant, and eventually had a stillborn child.
  • It is alleged that she had a love affair with a young woman artist, Edith Bendall.
  • In 1910 she became seriously ill with the effects of untreated gonorrhoea. An operation left her unable to have children.
  • In 1912 Mansfield met John Middleton Murry and began living together that culminated in their marriage in 1918, although she left him twice, in 1911 and 1913.
  • Katherine Mansfield died from a haemorrhage on January 9, 1923 at eleven 11 pm soon after the arrival of her husband, John Middleton Murry.
  • Mansfield willed her manuscripts, notebooks and letters to Murry, who published many posthumously, and contributed to the growth of her international reputation.
  • Ida kept many of Mansfield’s belongings, and all the letters that she and Mansfield had exchanged after 1915.
  • After Mansfield’s demise Ida looked after Murry. However, although needing to be looked after, Murry did not want to live with Ida. So the relationship did not work and Ida made a dignified exit.

Media Gallery

Katherine Mansfield in 1917

Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry in 1920

Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry in 1921

Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry

Katherine Mansfield's Family

 

 

References

" Katherine Mansfield.” Wikipedia. 2017. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 10 April 2017
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Mansfield>.
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May 12, 2017

Quotations by Jonathan Swift

JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745), AN ANGLO-IRISH SATIRIST AND POLITICAL PAMPHLETEER.

“Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind reception it meets with in the world, and that so very few are offended with it.”  ~ Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books, preface (1704)


“Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind reception it meets with in the world, and that so very few are offended with it.”
~ Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books, preface (1704)

“I cannot but conclude that the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

“Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

 “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies (1711-1726)

“I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies (1711-1726)

“Laws are like Cobwebs which may catch small Flies, but let Wasps and Hornets break through. But in Oratory the greatest Art is to hide Art.”
~ Jonathan Swift, A Tritical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind (1707)

“Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

“Undoubtedly, philosophers are in the right when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

“Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Letter to a Young Clergyman (January 9, 1720)

“Judges... are picked out from the most dextrous lawyers, who are grown old or lazy, and having been biased all their lives against truth or equity, are under such a fatal necessity of favoring fraud, perjury and oppression, that I have known several of them to refuse a large bribe from the side where justice lay, rather than injure the faculty by doing any thing unbecoming their nature in office.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

 “The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver's watch may be his god, because it is that which, he admits, he seldom does anything without consulting.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

“For, in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery: but in fact, eleven men well armed will certainly subdue one single man in his shirt.”
~ Jonathan Swift, The Drapier's Letters, letter iv (13 October, 1724)

“... a wife should be always a reasonable and agreeable companion, because she cannot always be young.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

“This made me reflect, how vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavor to do himself honor among those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

“The latter part of a wise man’s life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies (1711-1726)

“Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy is the best bred in the company.”
~ Jonathan Swift, A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding (1754)

“Poor Nations are hungry, and rich Nations are proud, and Pride and Hunger will ever be at Variance.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)
“The power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable; for the happy impute all their success to prudence or merit.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies (1711-1726)

“And surely one of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish had been left unsaid…”
~ Jonathan Swift, Hints Toward an Essay on Conversation (1709)

“A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.”
 ~ Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal (1729)

“It is impossible that any thing so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.”
~ Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Religion (1765)

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May 2, 2017

Quotations by E. M. Forster

E. M. FORSTER (1879-1970), ENGLISH NOVELIST AND ESSAYIST, WHOSE NOVELS EXPLORE THE ATTITUDES THAT CREATE BARRIERS BETWEEN PEOPLE.

“People have their own deaths as well as their own lives, and even if there is nothing beyond death, we shall differ in our nothingness.” ~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“People have their own deaths as well as their own lives, and even if there is nothing beyond death, we shall differ in our nothingness.”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“Adventures do occur, but not punctually. Life rarely gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

“Life is sometimes life and sometimes only a drama, and one must learn to distinguish tother from which…”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“To trust people is a luxury in which only the wealthy can indulge; the poor cannot afford it.”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“The past is devoid of meaning like the present, and a refuge for cowards.”
~ E.M. Forster, Maurice

“There is no harm in deceiving society as long as she does not find you out”
~ E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

“Those who prepare for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy.”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“At times our need for a sympathetic gesture is so great that we care not what exactly it signifies or how much we may have to pay for it afterwards.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“When love flies it is remembered not as love but as something else. Blessed are the uneducated, who forget it entirely, and are never conscious of folly or pruriency in the past, of long aimless conversations.”
~ E.M. Forster, Maurice

“The crime of suicide lies rather in its disregard for the feelings of those whom we leave behind.”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“Men were not gods after all, but as human and as clumsy as girls.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices, coming now too late, now too early, by which Society would register the quick motions of man.”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“We know that we come from the winds, and that we shall return to them; that all life is perhaps a knot, a tangle, a blemish in the eternal smoothness. But why should this make us unhappy? Let us love one another, and work and rejoice. I don't believe in this world sorrow.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“There's never any great risk as long as you have money.”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“All a child's life depends on the ideal it has of its parents. Destroy that and everything goes - morals, behavior, everything. Absolute trust in someone else is the essence of education.”
~ E.M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread

“Outside the arch, always there seemed another arch. And beyond the remotest echo, a silence.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

“The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world; it will accept those whom breeding and intellect and culture have alike rejected.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won't do harm - yes, choose a place where you won't do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“The tragedy of preparedness has scarcely been handled, save by the Greeks. Life is indeed dangerous, but not in the way morality would have us believe. It is indeed unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle. It is unmanageable because it is a romance, and its essence is romantic beauty.”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“It's not what people do to you, but what they mean, that hurts.”
~ E.M. Forster, The Longest Journey

“When I think of what life is, and how seldom love is answered by love; it is one of the moments for which the world was made.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room With A View

“This desire to govern a woman -- it lies very deep, and men and women must fight it together.... But I do love you surely in a better way then he does." He thought. "Yes -- really in a better way. I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths those thoughts that you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.”
~ E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy

“Passion should believe itself irresistible. It should forget civility and consideration and all the other curses of a refined nature. Above all, it should never ask for leave where there is a right of way.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“While her lips talked culture, her heart was planning to invite him to tea”
~ E.M. Forster, Howards End

“A happy ending was imperative. I shouldn't have bothered to write otherwise. I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows, and in this sense, Maurice and Alec still roam the greenwood.”
~ E.M. Forster, Maurice

“I seem fated to pass through the world without colliding with it or moving it — and I'm sure I can't tell you whether the fate's good or evil. I don't die — I don't fall in love. And if other people die or fall in love they always do it when I'm just not there.”
~ E.M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread

“She only felt that the candle would burn better, the packing go easier, the world be happier, if she could give and receive some human love.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

“He had awoken too late for happiness, but not for strength, and could feel an austere joy, as of a warrior who is homeless but stands fully armed.”
~ E.M. Forster, Maurice

“One touch of regret- not the canny substitute but the true regret from the heart- would have made him a different man, and the British Empire a different institution.”
~ E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

“How indeed is it possible for one human being to be sorry for all the sadness that meets him on the face of the earth, for the pain that is endured not only by men, but by animals and plants, and perhaps by the stones?”
~ E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

“Society is invincible - to a certain degree. But your real life is your own, and nothing can touch it. There is no power on earth that can prevent your criticizing and despising mediocrity - nothing that can stop you retreating into splendour and beauty - into the thoughts and beliefs that make the real life - the real you.”
~ E.M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread
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May 1, 2017

Riders to the Sea as a Tragedy

John Millington Synge
The formulaic tragedies are essentially tagged with the classical Greek plays of Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles. These plays exerted an enduring influence on the subsequent tragic plays. The classical tragedies were composed of strict observation of rules and regulations, ranging from plot, setting, tragic hero, style, diction, dialogue, catastrophe, cathartic appeal, etc. However, during the Renaissance period William Shakespeare deviated from the strict adherence to rules and tried to create an individualistic style. The majority of modernist playwrights also paid much attention to establish a new type of tragedy. However, in all traditions, whether classical, Shakespearean, or modern, the conflicting forces in human mind and the bitter human suffering constitute the essence of tragedy. The spectacle of man's suffering, caught by some mightier forces, brings the cathartic appeal which is the inevitable experience of a tragic play. So the difference between classical and modern tragedies then chiefly lies with the technique of presentation.

In the 20th Century John Millington Synge opted to write moving plays that reverberated the traditions of the Greek tragedies in a rather modern style. Even with the modified style Synge has been able to produce tragic plays that could arouse the audience’s the emotions. His critically acclaimed play Riders to the Sea is also a great tragedy in its representation of human suffering and cathartic appeal. However, the play is not merely a tragedy of an individual rather it is the tragedy of humanity, struggling for survival against the heavy odds of life.

In general there are two prevailing views on the tragic vision of life:
  1. Man is the helpless victim of fate: In Greek tragedies fate often plays a role in the downfall of a character. The tragic fate for the character is preordained and it's absolutely futile to try to outwit it. For example, Oedipus and Antigone confronts tragic end since they maintained overweening self confidence in their respective attitudes. Again, Agamemnon kills Iphigenia by divine command; Orestes kills his mother by Apollo's direction. In fine, in Greek tragedy, fate is the predominant force that leads the characters to their dooms.
  2. Character is destiny: This view is prevalent in Shakespearean tragedies wherein the role of fate is minimized and the focus is largely on human choice and moral accountability. It is the actions of each character that bring about their inevitable fate. For instance, Macbeth's downfall is engendered by unchecked ambition which entailed a desire for power and position; Othello’s tragedy is brought about by jealousy which flared at suspicion and rushed into action unchecked by calm common sense; Hamlet's inability to act brings about his tragedy.
Keeping the above context in mind we can find that in Riders to the Sea Synge Incorporates mostly Greek tragic vision of life. It's more a tragedy of fate than a tragedy of character. In this play, the characters confront their downfall without any hamartia or tragic flaw. Here destiny or the fate controls everything and none can change either its decree or direction. Hence, life means nothing but tragedy and unconditional surrender to the merciless fate.

The inhabitants of Aran Islands are dependent solely on the sea in order to support their family. They have been going to the sea from generation to generation fully aware of the danger of death. The cruel sea has devoured countless lives, but the struggle of the islanders never ceases as there are no other options for earning living. Thus here the sea assumes almost the role of fate and becomes instrumental to human suffering and death. It is rather the nemesis of human life that comes down to shatter human hopes and happiness.

Riders to the Sea is full of grim wherein we are informed that Maurya has already lost six loved ones to the ocean, her father-in-law, her husband, and four of her sons. In Maurya’s words:

“I've had a husband, and a husband's father, and six sons in this house – six fine men, though it was a hard birth I had with every one of them and they coming to the world– and some of them were found and some of them were not found, but they're gone now, the lot of them.... There were Stephen, and Shawn, were lost in the great wind, and found after in the Bay of Gregory of the Golden Mouth.”

Now her only surviving sons are the eldest Michael and the youngest Bartley. Unfortunately Michael has been missing for nine days and discovery of his dead body ultimately confirmed his demise. All these loved ones went to the sea being fully aware of the possible danger and faced what the destiny predetermined. They can’t be held liable for their decision, as it was an inevitable part of their living. Eventually, Bartley also walks in the same path and decides to go to the main land in order to sell a couple of horses at the cattle fair. He too, was conscious of the dangers but was determined to stick to his decision. In the end Bartley is thrown by his horse and swept out into sea, where he drowns. Thus Bartley falls a victim to fate without having any hamartia or whatsoever. Maurya’s speech also echoes that man is helpless against fate:

“In the big world the old people do be leaving things after them for their sons and children, but in this place it is the young men do be leaving things behind for them that do be old.”

Moreover, Maurya’s closing remark confirms that none can fight against the fate. So she admits the power of the fate and surrenders to fate saying:

“What more can we want than that? No man at all can be living for ever, and we must be satisfied.”

To conclude, Riders to the Sea is a great modern tragedy having Greek dramatic qualities. Here Synge did an excellent job by representing fate symbolically, however along with its age-old relentless nature. Through the cruelty of the fate Synge universalized the theme of human suffering and loss.
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April 27, 2017

Quotations by Anita Desai

ANITA DESAI (B. 1937), AN INDIAN NOVELIST AND SHORT STORY WRITER, ESPECIALLY NOTED FOR HER SENSITIVE PORTRAYAL OF THE INNER LIFE OF HER FEMALE CHARACTERS.

“Isn't it strange how life won't flow, like a river, but moves in jumps, as if it were held back by locks that are opened now and then to let it jump forwards in a kind of flood?” ~ Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

“Isn't it strange how life won't flow, like a river, but moves in jumps, as if it were held back by locks that are opened now and then to let it jump forwards in a kind of flood?”
~ Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

“Do you know anyone who would — secretly, sincerely, in his innermost self — really prefer to return to childhood? “
~ Anita Desai, The Clear Light of Day

“They never looked at anyone else, only at each other, with an expression that halted me. It was tender, loving, yes, but in an inhuman way, so intense. Divine, I felt. Or insane.”
~ Anita Desai, Studies in the Park

“Even though his cigarette stank — it was a local one, wrapped in a tendu leaf, fierce enough to make his head swim — he could smell the distinctive Indian odour — of dung, both of cattle and men, of smoke from the village hearts, of cattle food and cattle urine, of dust, of pungent food cooking, of old ragged clothes washed without soap and put out to dry, the aroma of poverty.”
~ Anita Desai, Baumgartner's Bombay

“It seemed to her that the dullness and the boredom of her childhood, her youth, were stored here in the room under the worn dusty red rugs, in the bloated brassware, amongst the dried grasses in the swollen vases, behind the yellowed photographs in the oval frames-everything, everything that she had so hated as a child and that was still preserved here as if this were the storeroom of some dull, uninviting provincial museum.”
~ Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

 “At first she mistook them for sheets of pink crepe paper that someone had crumpled and carelessly flung down the hillside, perhaps after another astonishing party at the club. A moment later she remembered her great-grandmother's words and saw that they were hosts of wild pink zephyranthes that had come up in the night after the first fall of rain.”
~ Anita Desai, Fire on the Mountain

“Although it was shadowy and dark, Bim could see as well as by the clear light of day that she felt only love and yearning for them all, and if there were hurts, these gashes in her side that bled, then it was only because her love was imperfect and did not encompass them thoroughly enough, and because it had flaws and inadequacies and did not extend to all equally.”
~ Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

“They should be sitting together in the moonlight, looking together at  the moon that hung over the garden like some great priceless pearl, flawed and blemished with grey shadowy ridges as only a very great beauty can risk being.”
~ Anita Desai, Clear light of Day

“Greenness hangs, drips and sways from every branch and twig and frond in the surging luxuriance of July.”
~ Anita Desai, Fasting, Feasting

“Only their efforts to make him talk failed. he would say one word at a time, if pressed, but seemed happier not to and could not be made to repeat a whole line. Gradually, as his family learnt how to anticipate his few needs and how to respond, they ceased to notice his silence -his manner of communication seemed full and rich enough to them: he no more needed to converse than Aunt Mira's cat did.”
~ Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

“The room rang with her voice, then with silence. In the shaded darkness, silence had the quality of a looming dragon. It seemed to roar and the roar to reverberate, to dominate. To escape from it would require a burst of recklessness, even cruelty.”
~ Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

“Quick, nervy and jumpy -yet to the children she was as constant as a staff, a tree that can be counted on not to pull up its root and shift in the night. She was the tree that grew in the centre of their lives and in whose shade they lived.”
~ Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

“The wheel turns and turns and turns: it never stops and stands still.”
~ Anita Desai, The Village by the Sea

“The scent of earth receiving water, slaking its thirst in great gulps and releasing that green scent of freshness, coolness.”
~ Anita Desai, Games at Twilight

“It took them a minute to grasp what he was saying, even who he was. They had quite forgotten him.”
~ Anita Desai, Games at Twilight
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Quotations by John Millington Synge

JOHN MILLINGTON SYNGE (1871-1909), IRISH PLAYWRIGHT, POET, PROSE WRITER, TRAVEL WRITER AND COLLECTOR OF FOLKLORE.

 “The absence of the heavy boot of Europe has preserved to these people the agile walk of the wild animal, while the general simplicity of their lives has given them many other points of physical perfection.” ~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

 “The absence of the heavy boot of Europe has preserved to these people the agile walk of the wild animal, while the general simplicity of their lives has given them many other points of physical perfection.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

“At first I threw my weight upon my heels, as one does naturally in a boot, and was a good deal bruised, but after a few hours I learned the natural walk of man, and could follow my guide in any portion of the island.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

“What is the price of a thousand horses against a son where there is one son only?”
~ John Millington Synge, Riders to the Sea

“A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, he said, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we do only be drownded now and again.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

“A low line of shore was visible at first on the right between the movement of the waves and fog, but when we came further it was lost sight of, and nothing could be seen but the mist curling in the rigging, and a small circle of foam.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

“A translation is no translation, he said, unless it will give you the music of a poem along with the words of it.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

“A week of sweeping fogs has passed over and given me a strange sense of exile and desolation. I walk round the island nearly every day, yet I can see nothing anywhere but a mass of wet rock, a strip of surf, and then a tumult of waves.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

“In a good play every speech should be as fully flavoured as a nut or apple.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Playboy of the Western World

“In the middle classes the gifted son of a family is always the poorest — usually a writer or artist with no sense for speculation — and in a family of peasants, where the average comfort is just over penury, the gifted son sinks also, and is soon a tramp on the roadside.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Vagrants of Wicklow

“In this cry of pain the inner consciousness of the people seems to lay itself bare for an instant, and to reveal the mood of beings who feel their isolation in the face of a universe that wars on them with winds and seas.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

“It gave me a moment of exquisite satisfaction to find myself moving away from civilisation in this rude canvas canoe of a model that has served primitive races since men first went to sea.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

“I knew the stars, the flowers, and the birds,
The gray and wintry sides of many glens,
And did but half remember human words,
In converse with the mountains, moors, and fens.”
~ John Millington Synge, Prelude

“In the middle classes the gifted son of a family is always the poorest—usually a writer or artist with no sense for speculation—and in a family of peasants, where the average comfort is just over penury, the gifted son sinks also, and is soon a tramp on the roadside.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Vagrants of Wicklow

“The grief of the keen is no personal complaint for the death of one woman over eighty years, but seems to contain the whole passionate rage that lurks somewhere in every native of the island. In this cry of pain the inner consciousness of the people seems to lay itself bare for an instant, and to reveal the mood of beings who feel their isolation in the face of a universe that wars on them with winds and seas.”
~ John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands
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April 25, 2017

Quotations by Joseph Conrad

JOSEPH CONRAD (1857-1924), POLISH-BORN ENGLISH AUTHOR AND MASTER MARINER WHO IS BEST NOTED FOR HEART OF DARKNESS (1902)

18 best quotations by Joseph Conrad on dream, life, women, evil, civilization, human nature, and savagery. “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” ~ Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

“All that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“We live in the flicker -- may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream--alone.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“I have a voice, too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“The mind of man is capable of anything--because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valor, rage--who can tell?—but truth—truth stripped of its cloak of time.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“He struggled with himself, too. I saw it — I heard it. I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Chance

“But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself and, by heavens I tell you, it had gone mad.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness


“Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appals me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies - which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world - what I want to forget.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“A woman's true tenderness, like the true virility of man, is expressed in action of a conquering kind.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Nostromo

“They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force—nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

“A writing may be lost; a lie may be written; but what the eye has seen is truth and remains in the mind!”
~ Joseph Conrad, The Lagoon

“I couldn't have felt more of lonely desolation somehow, had I been robbed of a belief or had missed my destiny in life...”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies - which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world - what I want to forget.”
~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
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