Category Archives: Quotations

James Thurber Speaks

[Short-piece writers] sit on the edge of Literature.  In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats. . . . [Such a writer’s] ears are shut to the ominous rumblings of the dynasties of the world moving toward a cloudier chaos than ever before, but he hears […]

“a silver streak showed in the looking glass”

Albumleaf 119: January 2, 2018 (Bologna) The wind actually stirred the cloth on the chest of drawers, and let in a little light, so that the sharp edge of the chest of drawers was visible, running straight up, until a white shape bulged out; and a silver streak showed in the looking glass. —Virginia Woolf, […]

Halldór Laxness speaks

The farm brook ran down from the mountain in a straight line for the fold, then swerved to the west to go its way down into the marshes. There were two knee-high falls in it and two pools, knee-deep. At the bottom there was shingle, pebbles and sand. It ran in many curves. Each curve […]

John Barth speaks

“‘Tis but to say what oft I’ve said to you ere now, Eben: your true and constant Burlingame lives only in your fancy, as doth the pointed order of the world. In fact you see a Heraclitean flux: whether ’tis we who shift and alter and dissolve; or you whose lens changes color, field, and […]

Kenzaburo Oe speaks

“Life wasn’t easy for me then, because of my brother. He could only use a few words, and has the cognitive ability of a four- or five-year-old, his motor skills about the same. But he has perfect pitch and composes music. He’d already begun composing at the time. Once there was a concert at the […]

William Carlos Williams speaks

Oh that the rocks of the Areopagus had kept their sounds, the voices of the law! Or that the great theatre of Dionysius could be aroused by some modern magic to release what is bound in it, stones! that music might be wakened from them to melt our ears . —Paterson, IV: iii

Giambattista Vico speaks

At this point, we may contemplate the long time which must have passed before the pagan peoples, developing from a state of bestial native freedom through a long period of Cyclopean family discipline, were civilized enough to obey naturally the laws of their emerging civil states. From this, we may deduce the invariable property that […]

Luigi Barzini speaks

Music is notoriously the consolation of oppressed and frightened people. It is the one art in which one can be safely sincere in dangerous times. — Luigi Barzini, The Italians, p. 319

“The Red and Heavy Audit”

Albumleaf 47: November 29, 2010 (Farmville) The city below them was locked up in its own torments. Sulpher fires blazed in the streets; the conches in the Hindu temples screamed and bellowed, for the gods were inattentive in those days. There was a service in the great Mohammedan shrine, and the call to prayer from […]

Joseph Böhm Speaks

In 1825, Joseph Böhm was the first violinist of the Schuppanzigh Quartet. He relates this anecdote. The unhappy man [Beethoven] was so deaf that he could no longer hear the heavenly sound of his compositions. And yet rehearsing in his presence was not easy. With close attention his eyes followed the bows and therefore he […]