August 14, 2018

VICTOR HUGO (1802 –1885) A WELL-REGARDED FRENCH POET, NOVELIST, AND DRAMATIST.

“But secondly you say 'society must exact vengeance, and society must punish'. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.”  ~ Victor Hugo, The Last Day of a Condemned Man


“God manifests himself to us in the first degree through the life of the universe, and in the second degree through the thought of man. The second manifestation is not less holy than the first. The first is named Nature, the second is named Art.”
~ Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare (1864), Part I, Book II, Chapter I

“These two halves of God, the Pope and the emperor.”
~ Victor Hugo, Hernani (1830), Act IV, Scene II

“But secondly you say 'society must exact vengeance, and society must punish'. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Last Day of a Condemned Man

“I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

“He was fine; he, that orphan that foundling that outcast; he felt himself august and strong; he looked full in the face that society from which he was banished, and into which he had so powerfully intervened; that human justice from which he had snatched its prey; all those tigers whose jaws perforce remained empty; those myrmidons, those judges, those executioners, all that royal power which he, poor, insignificant being, had foiled with the power of God.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

“Never, even among animals, does the creature born to be a dove change into an osprey. That is only seen among men.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Let no one misunderstand our idea; we do not confound what are called 'political opinions' with that grand aspiration after progress with that sublime patriotic, democratic, and human faith, which, in our days, should be the very foundation of all generous intelligence.”

~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Marius and Cosette were in the dark in regard to each other. They did not speak, they did not bow, they were not acquainted; they saw each other; and, like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“The poor man shuddered, overflowed with an angelic joy; he declared in his transport that this would last through life; he said to himself that he really had not suffered enough to deserve such radiant happiness, and he thanked God, in the depths of his soul, for having permitted that he, a miserable man, should be so loved by this innocent being.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“During the years of suffering he reached the conclusion that life was war in which he was one of the defeated. Hatred was his only weapon, and he resolved to sharpen it in prison and carry it with him when he left.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“The book the reader has now before his eyes - from one end to the other, in its whole and in its details, whatever the omissions, the exceptions, or the faults - is the march from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from the false to the true, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from rottenness to life, from brutality to duty, from Hell to Heaven, from nothingness to God. Starting point: matter; goal: the soul. Hydra at the beginning, angel at the end.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“There, at a depth to which divers would find it difficult to descend, are caverns, haunts, and dusky mazes, where monstrous creatures multiply and destroy each other. Huge crabs devour fish and are devoured in their turn. Hideous shapes of living things, not created to be seen by human eyes wander in this twilight. Vague forms of antennae, tentacles, fins, open jaws, scales, and claws, float about there, quivering, growing larger, or decomposing and perishing in the gloom, while horrible swarms of swimming things prowl about seeking their prey.

To gaze into the depths of the sea is, in the imagination, like beholding the vast unknown, and from its most terrible point of view. The submarine gulf is analogous to the realm of night and dreams. There also is sleep, unconsciousness, or at least apparent unconsciousness, of creation. There in the awful silence and darkness, the rude first forms of life, phantomlike, demoniacal, pursue their horrible instincts.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Toilers of the Sea

“They had done him the honor to take him for a madman, but had set him free on discovering that he was only a poet.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Man Who Laughs (1869)


August 1, 2018

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850 –1894) WAS A PROMINENT SCOTTISH NOVELIST, ESSAYIST, AND POET WRITING TOWARDS THE END OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

“Hope is the boy, a blind, headlong, pleasant fellow, good to chase swallows with the salt; Faith is the grave, experienced, yet smiling man.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Virginibus Puerisque”, Ch. 2

“Fifteen men on the dead man's chest —
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest —
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883)

“Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage (1878)

“In every part and corner of our life, to lose oneself is to be a gainer; to forget oneself is to be happy.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Old Mortality (1884)

“So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, "Lay Morals" Ch. 4, in Lay Morals and Other Essays (1911)

“Not every man is so great a coward as he thinks he is — nor yet so good a Christian.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, The Master of Ballantrae. Mr. Mackellar's Journey (1889)

“Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail, in good spirits.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Complete Works, vol. 26, Reflections and Remarks on Human Life, section 4

“There is no foreign land; it is the traveller only that is foreign, and now and again, by a flash of recollection, lights up the contrasts of the ear.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters

“We do not go to cowards for tender dealing; there is nothing so cruel as panic; the man who has least fear for his own carcase, has most time to consider others.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Aes Triplex (1878)

“Hope is the boy, a blind, headlong, pleasant fellow, good to chase swallows with the salt; Faith is the grave, experienced, yet smiling man.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Virginibus Puerisque”, Ch. 2

“Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by catchwords; and the little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Virginibus Puerisque”, Ch. 2

“Falling in love is the one illogical adventure, the one thing of which we are tempted to think as supernatural, in our trite and reasonable world.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Virginibus Puerisque”, Ch. 3

“The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Truth of Intercourse”

“The time would fail me if I were to recite all the big names in history whose exploits are perfectly irrational and even shocking to the business mind. The incongruity is speaking; and I imagine it must engender among the mediocrities a very peculiar attitude, towards the nobler and showier sides of national life.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Crabbed Age and Youth”

“Age may have one side, but assuredly Youth has the other. There is nothing more certain than that both are right, except perhaps that both are wrong. Let them agree to differ; for who knows but what agreeing to differ may not be a form of agreement rather than a form of difference?”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Crabbed Age and Youth”

“A faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “An Apology for Idlers”.

“Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “An Apology for Idlers”.

July 8, 2018

In his groundbreaking work, Look Back in Anger (1956), John Osborne uses the bear and squirrel game scene to explore the ups and downs seen in any marriage. Despite its adolescent nature, the game is highly symbolic and serves an important dramatic purpose. The players of the game are Jimmy Porter and Alison Porter, to whom this game is not only an escape from the harsh realities of life but also from their loveless conjugal life. To be precise, the game is simply a device for distraction or a gateway into the fantasy.

The subject couple could not form true feelings for each other in material life because of their discrete social gradation. Jimmy hails from a working class family while Alison from a middle class. Such class divergence creates a social barrier between the duos which always keeps them divided. However, the bear and squirrel game provides them the opportunity to overcome this class conflict since during the game they act like animal, whose only concern are food,  shelter and sex. Therefore, the game helps them to forget the marital agony, for it enables them to disregard their misunderstanding, and their maladjustment. In this way they momentarily transform into a romantic couple whereas they have fierce enmity in actual life.

The objects of the game, i.e., the stuffed teddy bear and the squirrel toys are kept on their dressing table or in the chest of drawers. In the bear and squirrel game Jimmy assumes the role of the bear while Alison of the squirrel. The large and ragged teddy bear which signifies the strength and arrogance of a real wild bear represents Jimmy's haughtiness. Contrariwise, the soft wooly small squirrel represents the feminine softness of Alison. The importance of the subject toys is first highlighted in Act II where Alison tells Helena about her bad experience after her marriage to Jimmy. Alison shares that she married Jimmy against her parents' consent as there was a huge gulf between their social statuses. She had subsequently found herself leading a very unsatisfactory life owing to Jimmy's unemployment, poverty, and above all his fiery temper. Jimmy always mocks about Alison's family and very rude to her. In short, the marriage, according to Alison's account, has come to nothing. The conjugal relationship between Alison and Jimmy is so unpleasant that Alison doesn't reveal her pregnancy to him. Alison then shows Helena the toy bear and the toy squirrel and explains the meaning of the game.  She goes on to say that this game was the only way in which she and Jimmy could escape from everything.

The couple is seen playing this game in Act I when Cliff goes out.  Jimmy affectionately calls Alison a "beautiful, great-eyed squirrel", a "Hoarding nut-munching squirrel", "With highly polished, gleaming fur, and an ostrich feather of a tail", etc. And this quasi-poetic description is so appealing to Alison that she produces the sound of a squirrel and calls Jimmy a "jolly super bear, too",  "A really marvelous bear". She jumps up and down in a state of excitement, making little "paw gestures". They are both very happy at this time and they lovingly embrace each other.  Alison thinks that everything just seems to be all right suddenly. Then, in that state of extreme bliss, she is about to tell Jimmy about her pregnancy when Cliff suddenly enters, and the dreamy world of the pair shatters.

Although Jimmy and Alison have played the game on certain occasions to have solace, now even that game seems to have lost its purpose.  In Jimmy's case the disillusionment stems from Alison's refusal to visit London to see dying Mrs. Tanner. Alison turned Jimmy down when he needed her most.  Her callousness shocked him so much that he suddenly feels solitary and forsaken. When Alison leaves with Helena for the church Jimmy picks up the teddy bear gently, looks at it, and then throws it on the floor realizing that it can't pacify him anymore. Contrariwise, being fed up with Jimmy’s rudeness Alison too is disillusioned from the fantasy world of animals. She decides to leave him for her parents' home. When Alison is packing up her things to go with her father, she picks up the toy squirrel from the chest of drawers and is about to put it in her suitcase when she changes her mind and puts it back. She realizes that now with a change in her relationship with Jimmy whom she has decided to leave the squirrel can have no meaning.

Towards the end of the play, however, Jimmy and Alison reunite. Their misunderstanding ends with a touching and romantic scene. Alison crawls and grovels at the feet of Jimmy. For a moment Jimmy stands rigid; then he bends and takes her trembling body in his embrace. He asks her not to cry, and tells her that he cannot bear see her in that condition. Jimmy also feels that he is not alone. He has somebody to cling to, somebody to lean on amidst the endless trials and tribulations of life. He then reminds her of the bear and squirrel game which they used to play, and says that they will again be the bear and the squirrel which they had previously imagined themselves to be. Like a bear and a squirrel they will live on honey and nuts; they will sing songs about themselves, about warm trees and cozy caves, and about sunlight. She will keep her big eyes on his fur, and she will keep his claws in proper order because he is a careless kind of bear. And he will see that she, the squirrel, keeps her soft and bushy tail shining as brightly as it should, because she is a very beautiful squirrel. At the same time, he points out that they have to be very careful because there will be cruel steel-traps lying about everywhere, just wanting to catch timid little animals. He then asks Alison if he is right, and she nods in agreement. He says in a pitying voice: "Poor squirrels!" At this she laughs a little, and looks at him very tenderly.

In fine, although initially the bear and squirrel game seems a trivial escape from the complexities found in any marriage,  at the end of the play the game becomes a statement of the nature of human love to share the pain and the pleasure of physical relationship.

The Significance of the Bear and Squirrel Game in Look Back in Anger


June 24, 2018

CHARLOTTE BRONTË (1816—1855) WAS A FAMOUS ENGLISH WOMEN NOVELIST AND POET OF THE VICTORIAN ERA.

“We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence.”  ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter - often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter - in the eye.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“What necessity is there to dwell on the Past, when the Present is so much surer-the Future so much brighter?”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“But life is a battle: may we all be enabled to fight it well!”
~ Charlotte Brontë, The Letters of Charlotte Brontë

“Wise people say it is folly to think anybody perfect; and as to likes and dislikes, we should be friendly to all, and worship none”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Villette

“It is not violence that best overcomes hate -- nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“His mind was indeed my library, and whenever it was opened to me, I entered bliss.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Villette

“All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour ... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I envy you your peace of mind, your clean conscience, your unpolluted memory. Little girl, a memory without blot of contamination must be an exquisite treasure-an inexhaustible source of pure refreshment: is it not?”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I am not an angel,' I asserted; 'and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me - for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! - I have as much soul as you, - and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you!”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;—
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Evening Solace

June 21, 2018

ANTHONY BURGESS (1917- 1993) WAS ONE OF THE LEADING BRITISH ACADEMICS AND MOST VENERATED AND PROLIFIC LITERARY FIGURES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.

“The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.”  ~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)


“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?”
~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

“The East would always present that calm face of faint astonishment, unmoved at the anger, not understanding the bitterness.”
~Anthony Burgess, Time for a Tiger (1956)

“It had, perhaps, not been a very edifying life. On the booze in England, in India, in Malaya… And then a couple of gins for breakfast and then the first beers of the day in a kedai … He had been driven out of that Eden…because of his sinful desire to taste what was forbidden.”
~Anthony Burgess, Time for a Tiger (1956)

“Her face was that of a boy gang-leader, smooth with the innocence of one who, by the same quirk as blinds a man to the mystery of whistling or riding a bicycle, has never mastered the art of affection or compassion or properly learned the moral dichotomy.”
~Anthony Burgess, The Enemy in the Blanket (1958)

“Trade and gambling and a woman occasionally - that was a man’s life.”
~Anthony Burgess, Beds in the East (1959)

“He seemed to lose interest in the subject of his daughter, glooming at a yellow card of ancient railway regulations on the wall. But when the harbingers of the coming train were audible – porters trundling, a scrambled gabble from the station announcer, frantic blowing on hot tea – he became eager again and was out swiftly on to the platform. I followed him. The train slid in. I saw the driver look down disdainful from his cosy hell, sharing – like soldier and auxiliary – a mystique with the tea-room woman. Passengers, disillusioned with arrival, got out greyly amid grey steam; passengers, hungry for the illusion of getting somewhere, jostled their way on.”
~Anthony Burgess, The Right to an Answer (1960)

“She was an appetising woman with a full-cheeked smile, about thirty, a Nordic blonde but not icy, though ice was suggested in its tamed winter-sport aspects : the flush after skating, log-fires and hot rum and butter, fine heavy thighs, that would warm your hand like a muff, under a skirt that had swirled in a rink waltz. Her beaver lamb coat was thrust back from a green suit : solid charms, thoroughly wholesome, were indicated.”
~Anthony Burgess, The Right to an Answer (1960)

“After all, what bit of money I’ve made has been made among mosquitoes and sand-flies, snakes in the bedroom, long monotonous damp heat, boredom, exasperation with native clerks. Who are these sweet stay-at-homes, sweet well-contents, to try and suck it out of me and feel aggrieved if they can’t have it?”
~Anthony Burgess, The Right to an Answer (1960)

“Love seems inevitable, necessary, as normal and as easy a process as respiration.”
~Anthony Burgess, The Right to an Answer (1960)

“The window opened gently and a still Autumn night entered cat-like. Edwin smelt freedom and London autumn – decay, smoke, cold, motor oil.”
~Anthony Burgess, The Doctor is Sick (1960)

“Edwin, so much himself a sham, felt a sort of kinship with the sham pleasures of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street as they travelled painfully towards Soho.”
~Anthony Burgess, The Doctor is Sick (1960)

“There was a silence. Outside, and most unfortunately, a boy could be heard calling to another boy: ‘Piss off, Cowie.’ Stern looks were fixed on Woolton.”
~Anthony Burgess, The Worm and the Ring (1960)

“There were…smiles of encouragement for Lydgate, and some smiles of sweet pity as well, as for the only leper present.”
~Anthony Burgess, Devil of a State (1961)

“I suppose the only real reason for travelling is to learn that all people are the same.”
~Anthony Burgess, One Hand Clapping (1961)

“My son, my son. When I had my son I would explain all that to him when he was starry enough to like understand. But then I knew he would not understand or would not want to understand at all and would do all the veshches [things] I had done...and I would not be able to really stop him. And nor would he be able to stop his own son, brothers. And so it would itty on to like the end of the world.”
~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

“There was no real need...of crasting any more pretty polly to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood while we counted the takings and divided by four, nor to do the ultra-violent on some shivering starry grey-haired ptitsa in a shop and go smecking off with the till’s guts.”
~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

“If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange—meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil.”
~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

“The Government cannot be concerned any longer with outmoded penological theories....Common criminals...can best be dealt with on a purely curative basis. Kill the criminal reflex, that’s all.”
~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

“The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.”
~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

“We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.”
~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

“A perverse nature can be stimulated by anything. Any book can be used as a pornographic instrument, even a great work of literature if the mind that so uses it is off-balance. I once found a small boy masturbating in the presence of the Victorian steel-engraving in a family Bible.”
~Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

June 20, 2018

MAXIM GORKY (1868-1936), A PROMINENT TWENTIETH CENTURY RUSSIAN WRITER.

“All that is called Destiny or Fate is none other than the result of our thoughtlessness and our mistrust of ourselves; we should know that all that is created on earth is created by its sole Master and Laborer -- Man.” ~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts


“The good qualities in our soul are most successfully and forcefully awakened by the power of art. Just as science is the intellect of the world, art is its soul.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“Everybody, my friend, everybody lives for something better to come. That's why we want to be considerate of every man — Who knows what's in him, why he was born and what he can do?”
~ Maxim Gorky, The Lower Depths

“One has to be able to count, if only so that at fifty one doesn't marry a girl of twenty.”
~ Maxim Gorky, The Zykovs

“You can't do without philosophy, since everything has its hidden meaning which we must know.”
~ Maxim Gorky, The Zykovs

 “Processing the human raw material is naturally more complicated than processing lumber.”
~ Maxim Gorky, The I.V.Stalin White Sea - Baltic Sea Canal (1934)

“Lies are the religion of slaves and masters. Truth is the god of the free man.”
~ Maxim Gorky,  The Lower Depths

“Truth doesn't always heal a wounded soul.”
~ Maxim Gorky, The Lower Depths

“Remembrance of the past kills all present energy and deadens all hope for the future”
~ Maxim Gorky, "Creatures that Once were Men”

“The illness of a doctor is always worse than the illnesses of his patients. The patients only feel, but the doctor, as well as feeling, has a pretty good idea of the destructive effect of the disease on his constitution. This is a case in which knowledge brings death nearer.”
~ Maxim Gorky,  Literary Portraits

“This fear is what is the ruin of us all. And some dominate us; they take advantage of our fear and frighten us still more. Mark this: as long as people are afraid, they will rot like the birches in the marsh. We must grow bold; it is time!”
~ Maxim Gorky,  The Mother

“Politics is something similar to the lower physiological functions, with the unpleasant difference that political functions are unavoidably carried out in public.”
~ Maxim Gorky,  Untimely Thoughts: Essays on Revolution, Culture, and the Bolsheviks, 1917-1918

“In the monotony of everyday existence grief comes as a holiday, and a fire is an entertainment. A scratch embellishes an empty face.”
~ Maxim Gorky,  My Childhood

“The more a human creature has tasted of bitter things the more it hungers after the sweet things of life.”
~ Maxim Gorky,  Her Lover

“Everywhere, within man and without, there is devastation, instability, chaos, and evidence of some prolonged rout.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“Politics is the soil in which the nettle of poisonous enmity, evil suspicions, shameless lies, slander, morbid ambitions, and disrespect for the individual grows rapidly and luxuriantly. Name anything bad in man and it is precisely in the soil of political struggle that it grows with particular liveliness and abundance.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“All that is called Destiny or Fate is none other than the result of our thoughtlessness and our mistrust of ourselves; we should know that all that is created on earth is created by its sole Master and Laborer -- Man.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“Let us not search for the guilty ones only among others, let us speak the bitter truth: we are all guilty ... each and every one of us.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“The poor are always rich in children, and in the dirt and ditches of this street there are groups of them from morning to night, hungry, naked and dirty. Children are the living flowers of the earth, but these had the appearance of flowers that have faded prematurely, because they grew in ground where there was no healthy nourishment.”
~ Maxim Gorky, "Creatures that Once were Men"

“Just think, reader, what will happen to you if the truth of a mad beast overpowers the sane truth of man?”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“Our most merciless enemy is our past.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“Our salvation is in work, but let us also take delight in that work.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“The revolution has overthrown the monarchy, true! But perhaps this means that the revolution simply has driven the skin disease inside the organism.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“To speak the truth is the most difficult of all arts, for in its "pure" form, not connected with the interests of individuals, groups, classes, or nations, truth is almost completely unsuitable for use by the Philistine and is unacceptable to him.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“Winter is approaching. Yes, it is approaching ... How to live?”
~ Maxim Gorky, “Creatures That Once Were Men”

 “When one loves somebody everything is clear— where to go, what to do— it all takes care of itself and one doesn't have to ask anybody about anything.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Jerry Dorsman's How to Achieve Peace of Mind

“Politics is something similar to the lower physiological functions, with the unpleasant difference that political functions are unavoidably carried out in public.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“Intellectual force is qualitatively the first and foremost productive force, and concern for its rapid growth should be the ardent concern of all classes.”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts

“In war it is necessary to kill as many people as possible -- such is the cynical logic of war. Brutality in a fight is unavoidable; have you seen how cruelly children fight in the streets?”
~ Maxim Gorky, Untimely Thoughts


June 14, 2018

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY (1821-1881) WAS A RUSSIAN NOVELIST, SHORT STORY WRITER, ESSAYIST, AND PHILOSOPHER.

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on Earth.” ~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)


“Neither a person nor a nation can exist without some higher idea. And there is only one higher idea on earth, and it is the idea of the immortality of the human soul, for all other "higher" ideas of life by which humans might live derive from that idea alone.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, A Writer's Diary, Volume 1: 1873-1876 (1994), p. 734

“Money is coined liberty, and so it is ten times dearer to the man who is deprived of freedom. If money is jingling in his pocket, he is half consoled, even though he cannot spend it. But money can always and everywhere be spent, and, moreover, forbidden fruit is sweetest of all.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The House of the Dead (1915), as translated by Constance Garnett, p. 16

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The House of the Dead (1862) as translated by Constance Garnett; as cited in The Yale Book of Quotations (2006) by Fred R. Shapiro, p. 210

“If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Insulted and the Injured (1861)

“Civilization has made man, if not always more bloodthirsty, at least more viciously, more horribly bloodthirsty.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground (1864), Part 1, Chapter 7 (page 23)

“The best definition of man is: a being that goes on two legs and is ungrateful.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground (1864), Part 1, Chapter 8 (page 28)

“To care only for well-being seems to me positively ill-bred. Whether it's good or bad, it is sometimes very pleasant, too, to smash things.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground (1864), Part 1, Chapter 9 (page 32)

“A gentleman, even if he loses everything he owns, must show no emotion. Money must be so far beneath a gentleman that it is hardly worth troubling about.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Gambler (1866)

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)

“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)

“Accept suffering and achieve atonement through it — that is what you must do.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on Earth.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)

“Lack of originality, everywhere, all over the world, from time immemorial, has always been considered the foremost quality and the recommendation of the active, efficient and practical man...”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot (1868–9)

“Inventors and geniuses have almost always been looked on as no better than fools at the beginning of their career, and very frequently at the end of it also.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot (1868–9)

“Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy. It's only that.”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Possessed (1872)

“There is no sin, and there can be no sin on all the earth, which the Lord will not forgive to the truly repentant! Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God. Can there be a sin which could exceed the love of God?”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880), Book II, ch. 3 (trans. Constance Garnett)

June 6, 2018

JACK LONDON (1876 - 1916), A PROMINENT AMERICAN NOVELIST AND JOURNALIST WHO IS BEST KNOWN FOR "CALL OF THE WILD” (1903) AND “THE SEA WOLF” (1904).

“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.” ~Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)


“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
~Jack London, The Bulletin, San Francisco, California, December 2, 1916, part 2, p. 1.

“Life achieves its summit when it does to the uttermost that which it was equipped to do.”
~Jack London, White Fang (1906)

“The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances.”
~Jack London, “To Build a Fire” published as a collection of short stories in the book Lost Face (1910)

“I do not live for what the world thinks of me, but for what I think of myself.”
~Jack London, Letter to Charles Warren Stoddard (21 August 1903)

“But I am I. And I won't subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind”
~Jack London, Martin Eden

“As one grows weaker one is less susceptible to suffering. There is less hurt because there is less to hurt.”
~Jack London, The Star Rover

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
~Jack London,"Confession" in Complete Works of Jack London, Delphi Classics, 2013

“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”
~Jack London,The Call of the Wild (1903)

“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.”
~Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)

“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.”
~Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)

“These women, capable of the most sublime emotions, of the tenderest sympathies, were openmouthed and screaming. They wanted to live, they were helpless, likes rats in a trap, and they screamed.”
~Jack London, The Sea-Wolf (1904)

“Do you know the only value life has is what life puts upon itself? And it is of course overestimated, for it is of necessity prejudiced in its own favour. Take that man I had aloft. He held on as if he were a precious thing, a treasure beyond diamonds of rubies. To you? No. To me? Not at all. To himself? Yes. But I do not accept his estimate. He sadly overrates himself. There is plenty more life demanding to be born. Had he fallen and dripped his brains upon the deck like honey from the comb, there would have been no loss to the world. The supply is too large.”
~Jack London, The Sea-Wolf (1904)

“The loneliness of the man is slowly being borne in upon me. There is not a man aboard but hates or fears him, nor is there a man whom he does not despise.”
~Jack London, The Sea-Wolf (1904)

“And through it all, calm and impassive, leaning on his elbow and gazing down, Wolf Larsen seemed lost in a great curiosity. This wild stirring of yeasty life, this terrific revolt and defiance of matter that moved, perplexed and interested him.”
~Jack London, The Sea-Wolf (1904)

“Men do not knowingly drink for the effect alcohol produces on the body. What they drink for is the brain-effect; and if it must come through the body, so much the worse for the body.”
~Jack London, John Barleycorn (1913)

“The fortunate man is the one who cannot take more than a couple of drinks without becoming intoxicated. The unfortunate wight is the one who can take many glasses without betraying a sign; who must take numerous glasses in order to get the kick.”
~Jack London, John Barleycorn (1913)

“There are things greater than our wisdom, beyond our justice. The right and wrong of this we cannot say, and it is not for us to judge.”
~Jack London, “An Odyssey of the North" in The Best Short Stories of Jack London (1962)


May 29, 2018

NOAM CHOMSKY (B. 1928) IS AN EMINENT AMERICAN LINGUIST, PHILOSOPHER, AND POLITICAL WRITER.

“Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.”  ~ Noam Chomsky

“The beauty of our system is that it isolates everybody. Each person is sitting alone in front of the tube, you know. It's very hard to have ideas or thoughts under those circumstances. You can't fight the world alone.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”
~ Noam Chomsky

 “The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum...”
~ Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

“That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“The war is simply an obscenity, a depraved act by weak and miserable men, including all of us who have allowed it to go on and on with endless fury and destruction - all of us who would have remained silent, had stability and order been secured.”
~ Noam Chomsky,  American Power and the New Mandarins, 1969

“Personally I'm in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level -- there's a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I'm opposed to political fascism, I'm opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it's pointless to talk about democracy.”
~ Noam Chomsky, "One Man's View : Noam Chomsky interviewed by an anonymous interviewer," Business Today, May 1973.

“In the American Jewish community, there is little willingness to face the fact that the Palestinian Arabs have suffered a monstrous historical injustice, whatever one may think of the competing claims. Until this is recognized, discussion of the Middle East crisis cannot even begin.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Peace in the Middle East? Reflections on Justice and Nationhood, 1974, p. 54.

“The Cold War ideology and the international communist conspiracy function in an important way as essentially a propaganda device to mobilize support at a particular historical moment for this long-time imperial enterprise. In fact, I believe that this is probably the main function of the Cold War: it serves as a useful device for the managers of American society and their counterparts in the Soviet Union to control their own populations and their own respective imperial systems.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Government in the Future, 1970, P. 143

“We may usefully think of the language faculty, the number faculty, and others as 'mental organs,' analogous to the heart or the visual system or the system of motor coordination and planning. There appears to be no clear demarcation line between physical organs, perceptual and motor systems and cognitive faculties in the respects in question.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Rules and Representations (1980), P. 4

“That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“It is quite possible--overwhelmingly probable, one might guess--that we will always learn more about human life and personality from novels than from scientific psychology”
~ Noam Chomsky

“Science is a bit like the joke about the drunk who is looking under a lamppost for a key that he has lost on the other side of the street, because that's where the light is. It has no other choice.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“Our ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries. When we face a problem, we may not know its solution, but we have insight, increasing knowledge, and an inkling of what we are looking for. When we face a mystery, however, we can only stare in wonder and bewilderment, not knowing what an explanation would even look like.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“The death penalty can be tolerated only by extreme statist reactionaries who demand a state that is so powerful that it has the right to kill.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“The key element of social control is the strategy of distraction that is to divert public attention from important issues and changes decided by political and economic elites, through the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“In summary, it is the diversity of human behavior, its appropriateness to new situations, and man’s capacity to innovate – the creative aspect of language use providing the principal indication of this –that leads Descartes to attribute possession of mind to other humans, since he regards this capacity as beyond the limitations of any imaginable mechanism.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics (3rd ed., 2009)

“Cartesian linguistics was not concerned simply with descriptive grammar, in this sense, but rather with “grammaire générale,” that is, with the universal principles of language structure.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics (3rd ed., 2009)

“Despite these shortcomings, the insights into the organization of grammar that were achieved in Cartesian linguistics remain quite impressive, and a careful study of this work can hardly fail to prove rewarding to a linguist who approaches it without prejudice or preconceptions as to the a priori limitations on permitted linguistic investigation.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics (3rd ed., 2009)

Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world.
~ Noam Chomsky

“Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.”
~ Noam Chomsky


May 20, 2018

ALEXANDER PUSHKIN, A RUSSIAN POET, NOVELIST, AND PLAYWRIGHT, WHO IS WIDELY REGARDED BY MANY AS THE GREATEST POET OF ALL TIME.

11 best quotes by Alexander Pushkin: “Two fixed ideas can no more exist together in the moral world than two bodies can occupy one and the same place in the physical world.” ~ Alexander Pushkin, The Queen of Spades (1833)



“What grace could all your worldly power bring
To One whose crown of thorns has made him King,
The Christ who gave His body to the flails,
Who humbly bore the lance and piercing nails?
Or do you fear the rabble might disgrace The One.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Secular Power

“The heavy hanging chains shall fall,
The walls shall crumble at the word,
And Freedom greet you with the light
And brothers give you back the sword.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, The Decembrists

“Come purge my soul, Thou Master of my days,
Of vain and empty words, of idle ways,
Of base ambition and the urge to rule;
That hidden serpent that corrupts a fool;
and grant me, Lord, to see my sins alone.
That I not call my brother to atone;
Make chaste my heart and lend me from above
Thy fortitude, humility, and love.”
 ~ Alexander Pushkin, A Prayer

“‘Tis time, my friend, ‘tis time!
For rest the heart is aching;
Days follow days in flight, and every day is taking
Fragments of being, while together you and I
Make plans to live. Look, all is dust, and we shall die.”
~ Alexander Pushkin,  'Tis Time, My Friend, l. 1-5 (1834)

“Unforced, as conversation passed,
he had the talent of saluting
felicitously every theme,
of listening like a judge-supreme
while serious topics were disputing,
or, with an epigram-surprise,
of kindling smiles in ladies' eyes.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 1, st. 5.

“A man who's active and incisive
can yet keep nail-care much in mind:
why fight what's known to be decisive?
custom is despot of mankind.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 1, st. 25.

“The illness with which he'd been smitten
should have been analysed when caught,
something like spleen, that scourge of Britain,
or Russia's chondria, for short.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 1, st. 38.

“Love passed, the Muse appeared, the weather
of mind got clarity new-found;
now free, I once more weave together
emotion, thought, and magic sound.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 1, st. 59.

“The less we show our love to a woman,
Or please her less, and neglect our duty,
The more we trap and ruin her surely
In the flattering toils of philandery.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 4, st. 1.

“Sad that our finest aspiration
Our freshest dreams and meditations,
In swift succession should decay,
Like Autumn leaves that rot away.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 8, st. 11.

“And thus He mused: "From here, indeed
Shall we strike terror in the Swede?
And here a city by our labor
Founded, shall gall our haughty neighbor;
"Here cut" - so Nature gives command -
Your window through on Europe; stand
Firm-footed by the sea, unchanging!”
~ Alexander Pushkin, The Bronze Horseman (1833).

“Two fixed ideas can no more exist together in the moral world than two bodies can occupy one and the same place in the physical world.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, The Queen of Spades (1833)

May 5, 2018

ANTON CHEKHOV (1860 –1904) WAS A PROMINENT RUSSIAN PLAYWRIGHT AND SHORT-STORY WRITER.


“Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.” ~Anton Chekhov, Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya (1897) act 1


If I were asked to chose between execution and life in prison I would, of course, chose the latter. It’s better to live somehow than not at all.

~Anton Chekhov, The Bet (1889)

 “By poeticizing love, we imagine in those we love virtues that they often do not possess; this then becomes the source of constant mistakes and constant distress.”
~Anton Chekhov, Ariadne (1895)

 “Only during hard times do people come to understand how difficult it is to be master of their feelings and thoughts.”
~Anton Chekhov, Misfortune (1886)

“Death can only be profitable: there’s no need to eat, drink, pay taxes, offend people, and since a person lies in a grave for hundreds or thousands of years, if you count it up the profit turns out to be enormous.”
~Anton Chekhov, Rothschild’s Fiddle (1894)

 “When a person is born, he can embark on only one of three roads of life: if you go right, the wolves will eat you; if you go left, you’ll eat the wolves; if you go straight, you’ll eat yourself.”
~Anton Chekhov, Fatherlessness or Platonov, Act I, sc. xiv (1878)

“By nature servile, people attempt at first glance to find signs of good breeding in the appearance of those who occupy more exalted stations.”
~Anton Chekhov, A Futile Occurrence or A Trivial Incident (1886)

“In two or three hundred years life on earth will be unimaginably beautiful, astounding. Man needs such a life and if it hasn’t yet appeared, he should begin to anticipate it, wait for it, dream about it, prepare for it. To achieve this, he has to see and know more than did his grandfather and father.”
~Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters (1901)

“Once you’ve married, be strict but just with your wife, don’t allow her to forget herself, and when a misunderstanding arises, say: “Don’t forget that I made you happy.”
~Anton Chekhov, Guide for Those Wishing to Marry (1885)

“Probably nature itself gave man the ability to lie so that in difficult and tense moments he could protect his nest, just as do the vixen and wild duck.”

~Anton Chekhov, Difficult People (1886)

“Watching a woman make Russian pancakes, you might think that she was calling on the spirits or extracting from the batter the philosopher’s stone.”
~Anton Chekhov, Russian Pancakes or Bliny (1886)

“Silence accompanies the most significant expressions of happiness and unhappiness: those in love understand one another best when silent, while the most heated and impassioned speech at a graveside touches only outsiders, but seems cold and inconsequential to the widow and children of the deceased.”
~Anton Chekhov, Enemies (1887)

“Not everyone knows when to be silent and when to go. It not infrequently happens that even diplomatic persons of good worldly breeding fail to observe that their presence is arousing a feeling akin to hatred in their exhausted or busy host, and that this feeling is being concealed with an effort and disguised with a lie.”
~Anton Chekhov, The Letter (1887)

“No matter how corrupt and unjust a convict may be, he loves fairness more than anything else. If the people placed over him are unfair, from year to year he lapses into an embittered state characterized by an extreme lack of faith.”
~Anton Chekhov, A Journey to Sakhalin

“All of life and human relations have become so incomprehensibly complex that, when you think about it, it becomes terrifying and your heart stands still.”
~Anton Chekhov, In the Cart or A Journey by Cart or The Schoolmistress (1897)

“Do you know when you may concede your insignificance? Before God or, perhaps, before the intellect, beauty, or nature, but not before people. Among people, one must be conscious of one’s dignity.”
~Anton Chekhov, Letter to his brother, M.P. Chekhov (April 1879)

“An artist must pass judgment only on what he understands; his range is limited as that of any other specialist—that's what I keep repeating and insisting upon. Anyone who says that the artist's field is all answers and no questions has never done any writing or had any dealings with imagery. An artist observes, selects, guesses and synthesizes.”
~Anton Chekhov, Letter to A.S. Suvorin (October 27, 1888)

“A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe.... What a terrible future!”
~Anton Chekhov, Letter to A.S. Suvorin (October 18, 1888)

“Although you may tell lies, people will believe you, if only you speak with authority.”
~Anton Chekhov, Note-Book of Anton Chekhov (1921)

Death is terrible, but still more terrible is the feeling that you might live for ever and never die.
~Anton Chekhov, Note-Book of Anton Chekhov (1921)

It is unfortunate that we try to solve the simplest questions cleverly, and therefore make them unusually complicated. We should seek a simple solution.
~Anton Chekhov, Note-Book of Anton Chekhov (1921)

“Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.”
~Anton Chekhov, Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya (1897) act 1

May 1, 2018

LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910), RUSSIAN NOVELIST AND MORAL PHILOSOPHER, STANDS AMONGST BEST WRITERS OF ALL TIME.


“Quite often a man goes on for years imagining that the religious teaching that had been imparted to him since childhood is still intact, while all the time there is not a trace of it left in him.” ~ Leo Tolstoy, Confession (1882), Pt. I, ch. 1


 “Error is the force that welds men together; truth is communicated to men only by deeds of truth.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, My Religion (1884), Ch. 12

“The hero of my tale, whom I love with all the power of my soul, whom I have tried to portray in all his beauty, who has been, is, and will be beautiful, is Truth.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Sevastopol in May (1855), Ch. 16

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Writings on Civil Disobedience and Nonviolence (1886)

“All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do. “
~ Leo Tolstoy, The Law of Love and the Law of Violence (1908)

“We acknowledge God only when we are conscious of His manifestation in us. All conclusions and guidelines based on this consciousness should fully satisfy both our desire to know God as such as well as our desire to live a life based on this recognition.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Entry in Tolstoy's Diary (1 November 1910)

“Men think it right to eat animals, because they are led to believe that God sanctions it. This is untrue. No matter in what books it may be written that it is not sinful to slay animals and to eat them, it is more clearly written in the heart of man than in any books that animals are to be pitied and should not be slain any more than human beings. We all know this if we do not choke the voice of our conscience.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, The Pathway of Life: Teaching Love and Wisdom (posthumous), Part I, International Book Publishing Company, New York, 1919, p. 68

“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869), Book IV, ch. 11

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869), Bk. X, ch. 16

“War is not a courtesy but the most horrible thing in life; and we ought to understand that, and not play at war. We ought to accept this terrible necessity sternly and seriously. It all lies in that: get rid of falsehood and let war be war and not a game. As it is now, war is the favourite pastime of the idle and frivolous.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869), Bk. X, ch. 25

“Love hinders death. Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869),  Thoughts of Prince Andrew Bk XII, Ch. 16

“To love life is to love God. Harder and more blessed than all else is to love this life in one's sufferings, in undeserved sufferings.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869), Bk. XIV, ch. 15

“History is the life of nations and of humanity. To seize and put into words, to describe directly the life of humanity or even of a single nation, appears impossible.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869),  Epilogue II, ch. 1

“The peculiar and amusing nature of those answers stems from the fact that modern history is like a deaf person who is in the habit of answering questions that no one has put to them.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869),  Vol 2, pt 5, p 236 — Selected Works, Moscow, 1869

“My reason will still not understand why I pray, but I shall still pray, and my life, my whole life, independently of anything that may happen to me, is every moment of it no longer meaningless as it was before, but has an unquestionable meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1875–1877; 1878), Pt. VIII, ch. 19

“Go — take the mother's soul, and learn three truths: Learn What dwells in man, What is not given to man, and What men live by. When thou hast learnt these things, thou shalt return to heaven.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, What Men Live By (1881), Ch. IV

“Quite often a man goes on for years imagining that the religious teaching that had been imparted to him since childhood is still intact, while all the time there is not a trace of it left in him.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Confession (1882), Pt. I, ch. 1

“Science has adapted itself entirely to the wealthy classes and accordingly has set itself to heal those who can afford everything, and it prescribes the same methods for those who have nothing to spare.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, What then must we do? (1886)

“The only significance of life consists in helping to establish the kingdom of God; and this can be done only by means of the acknowledgment and profession of the truth by each one of us.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894)

“Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, What is Art? (1897), Ch. 8


April 25, 2018

OSCAR WILDE (1854 –1900), AN IRISH ESSAYIST, NOVELIST, PLAYWRIGHT AND POET.

17 famous quotes by Oscar Wilde about art, life, death, politics and many more. “As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.” ~ Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist


One can survive everything nowadays except death.
 ~ Oscar Wilde, "Oscariana" (1907)

“People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely because chickens run about so absurdly that it's impossible to count them accurately.”
~ Oscar Wilde, Letter from Paris (May 1900)

“It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Mr. W. H. (1889)

“The more we study Art, the less we care for Nature. What Art really reveals to us is Nature's lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition.”
~ Oscar Wilde, Intentions (1891)

“Art finds her own perfection within, and not outside of herself. She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance. She is a veil, rather than a mirror.”
~ Oscar Wilde, Intentions (1891)

“He is really not so ugly after all, provided, of course, that one shuts one's eyes, and does not look at him.”
~ Oscar Wilde, "The Birthday of the Infanta", The House of Pomegranates (1892)

‘Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.”
~ Oscar Wilde,"A New Calendar," The Pall Mall Gazette (February 17, 1887)

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Epigrams of Oscar Wilde, edited by Alvin Redman (1954)

“Starvation, and not sin, is the parent of modern crime.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Epigrams of Oscar Wilde, edited by Alvin Redman (1954)

“To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist – the problem is so entirely the same in both cases. To know exactly how much oil one must put with one's vinegar.”
~ Oscar Wilde, Vera; or, The Nihilists (1880)

“To drift with every passion till my soul
Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient wisdom, and austere control?
Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday
With idle songs for pipe and virelay,
Which do but mar the secret of the whole.”
~ Oscar Wilde, "Hélas" (1881)

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying (1889)

“The final revelation is that Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art.”
~ Oscar Wilde,The Decay of Lying (1889)

“There is no mode of action, no form of emotion, that we do not share with the lower animals. It is only by language that we rise above them, or above each other—by language, which is the parent, and not the child, of thought.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist (1891)

“I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist (1891)

“As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.”
~ Oscar Wilde,The Critic as Artist (1891)

“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost (1887)


April 22, 2018

MARK TWAIN (1835—1910), AN  AMERICAN HUMORIST, JOURNALIST, LECTURER, AND NOVELIST WHO IS NOTED FOR HIS ADVENTURE STORIES : THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (1876) AND ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1885).

Quotations by Mark Twain


“Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all — the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved.”
~ Mark Twain, Mark Twain's Notebook (1935)

“Surely the test of a novel's characters is that you feel a strong interest in them and their affairs—the good to be successful, the bad to suffer failure. Well, in John Ward, you feel no divided interest, no discriminating interest—you want them all to land in hell together, and right away.”
~ Mark Twain, Mark Twain's Notebook (1935)

“I used to worship the mighty genius of Michael Angelo — that man who was great in poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture — great in every thing he undertook. But I do not want Michael Angelo for breakfast — for luncheon — for dinner — for tea — for supper — for between meals. I like a change, occasionally.”
~ Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)

“I wish Europe would let Russia annihilate Turkey a little--not much, but enough to make it difficult to find the place again without a divining-rod or a diving-bell.”
~ Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)

  “Virtue never has been as respectable as money.”
~ Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)

“The people of those foreign countries are very, very ignorant. They looked curiously at the costumes we had brought from the wilds of America. They observed that we talked loudly at table sometimes. They noticed that we looked out for expenses and got what we conveniently could out of a franc, and wondered where in the mischief we came from. In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.”
~ Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
~ Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)

 “All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the "elect" have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so "slow," so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle — keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason.”
~ Mark Twain, Roughing It (1872)

“No California gentleman or lady ever abuses or oppresses a Chinaman, under any circumstances, an explanation that seems to be much needed in the east. Only the scum of the population do it; they and their children. They, and, naturally and consistently, the policemen and politicians, likewise, for these are the dust-licking pimps and slaves of the scum, there as well as elsewhere in America.”
~ Mark Twain, Roughing It (1872)

“She makes me get up just at the same time every morning; she makes me wash, they comb me all to thunder; she won't let me sleep in the woodshed; I got to wear them blamed clothes that just smothers me, Tom; they don't seem to let any air git through 'em, somehow; and they're so rotten nice that I can't set down, nor lay down, nor roll around anywher's; I hain't slid on a cellar-door for — well, it 'pears to be years; I got to go to church and sweat and sweat — I hate them ornery sermons! I can't ketch a fly in there, I can't chaw. I got to wear shoes all Sunday. The widder eats by a bell; she goes to bed by a bell; she gits up by a bell — everything's so awful reg'lar a body can't stand it.”
~ Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)

“There was no getting around the stubborn fact that taking sweetmeats was only "hooking," while taking bacon and hams and such valuables was plain simple stealing — and there was a command against that in the Bible. So they inwardly resolved that so long as they remained in the business, their piracies should not again be sullied with the crime of stealing.”
~ Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)

“You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.”
~ Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

“There warn't anybody at the church, except maybe a hog or two, for there warn't any lock on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in summer-time because it's cool. If you notice, most folks don't go to church only when they've got to; but a hog is different.”
~ Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

So there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I'd a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn't a tackled it and aint't agoing to no more. But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can't stand it. I been there before.
~ Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

“The citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth's political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal, he is a traitor. That he may be the only one who thinks he sees this decay, does not excuse him: it is his duty to agitate anyway, and it is the duty of others to vote him down if they do not see the matter as he does.”
~ Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)

“Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion — several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight.”
~ Mark Twain,Man's Place in the Animal World" (1869)



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