Readings

You’re not astride the donkey yet and there you go swinging your legs. — Ivan Vazov, Under the Yoke (1889)

That gentle devoted creature was made happy by another’s joy.  Nature, who had taken everything from him, had left him this gift as a consolation. — Ivan Vazov, Under the Yoke (1889)

Who, having the right to ban wrongdoing, bans it not, commands it.— Seneca, The Trojan Women (1st century A.D.)

Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love . . . — George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860)

It is doubtful whether our soldiers would be maintained if there were not pacific people at home who like to fancy themselves soldiers.  War, like other dramatic spectacles, might possibly cease for want of a ‘public’. — George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860)

Jim said bees wouldn’t sting idiots; but I didn’t believe that, because I had tried them lots of times myself, and they wouldn’t sting me. — Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)

‘I have your word and honour, sir?’

‘My good fellow,’ retorted Mr. Boffin, ‘you have my word; and how you can have that, without my honour  too, I don’t know.  I’ve sorted a lot of dust in my time, but I never knew the two things go into separate heaps.’ — Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1865) (Book the Third, chap.XIV)

I was standing outside the car, staring at the dashboard and its, to me, complicated dials, when I noticed to my horror that one of them registered 1560.  I pointed a shaking finger at it and said to the mechanic, ‘That dial shouldn’t be registering  as high as all that, should it?’  He gave me the same look I had got from the man in England.  ‘That’s your radio dial, Mac,’ he said.  ‘You got her set at WQXR.’ — James Thurber, Recollections of the Gas Buggy (before 1931)

And some day we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddamn steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. — Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1950)

‘his whole life is money and gain, but I burned up my money in the stove.  I don’t need money, or land, or sheep, and I don’t need to be feared and have people take their hats off when I drive by.  Meaning I’m smarter than your Varlamov, and more like a human being!’ — Anton Chekhov,  The Steppe (1887)

As for me, my sense of propriety was completely bewildered.  I was so painfully uncertain whether it was my first duty to close my eyes, or to stop my ears, that I did neither. — The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins (1868)

. . . all the scenes he had since been through had not dimmed the horror, the terror of that moment, when his boy comrade fell, with only a breath between a laugh and a death groan. — Hamlin Garland, “The Return of a Private”, Main-Travelled Roads (1891)

A man’s well off when he’s close to the earth, and when he’s beneath it, better off still. — Luigi Pirandello, The Late Mattia Pascal (1904)

. . . there’s no question of heroism in all this.  It’s a matter of common decency.  That’s an idea that may make some people smile, but the only means of fighting a plague. . . — Albert Camus, The Plague (1948)

Grandfather didn’t answer.  Words like “Do you remember. . .” left him cold.  Besides, I knew he couldn’t talk because he had an olive in his mouth and was sucking on it slowly as he sipped his tea.  “Either you eat or you remember,” he once said to me.  “There’s only so much you can chew on at once.” — Meir Shalev, The Blue Mountain (1988)

For truth hath better deeds than words to grace it.

— William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (circa 1590)

He kissed her – he didn’t quite kiss her – he laid unmoving lips against her unflushing cheek. — Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt (1922)

. . . the posters telling of cricket matches and Royal weddings, the men in bowler hats, the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, the red buses, the blue policemen – all sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs. — George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia (1938)

It seems that the D.A. appears before the grand jury and tells it that Rudolph is an extortion guy and a killer and I do not know what all else, though some of these statements are without doubt a great injustice to Rudolph as, up to the time the D.A. makes them, Rudolph does not kill anybody of any consequence in years. — Damon Runyon,  “Johnny One-Eye” (circa 1935)

When you saw the lines at the corner of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate.  Hate was just a failure of imagination. — Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory (1940)

She waved her glass of water about, sipping it.  A drop of water clung like a gem to the corner of her painted mouth.  It was not fair. — Michael Arlen, The Green Hat (1924)

It was a dark and stormy night. — Edward Bulwer Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

And he looked at it with the loving eye of the breeder who manages to allow kindness towards the animal to coexist with anticipation of the roast, all in one emotion. — Italo Calvino, Marcovaldo (1963)

The crumpled letter lay on her desk.  She smoothed it out, and the crumple transferred itself to her forehead. — Edna Ferber, Fanny Herself (1917)

Suddenly they were both leaping around him, shouting “Traitor!” and “Thought-criminal!”, the little girl imitating her brother in every movement.  It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gamboling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters. George Orwell, 1984  (1949)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: