Random literary quotes

Discussion of fine arts and literature.
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 22645
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Random literary quotes

Post by Frelga »

I'm wondering if people would be interested in a thread for posting whatever fragments of writing capture their fancy for the moment. I promise I will show restrain with posting Pratchett quotes. ;)

To start, from The Master and Margarita, the urban fantasy classic by Mikhail Bulgakov, whose birthday is on May 15th.
“I challenge you to a duel!” screamed the cat, sailing over their heads on the swinging chandelier.”
If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
User avatar
Inanna
Meetu's little sister
Posts: 17766
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:03 pm

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Inanna »

Said the CAT? *puts on reading list*

Continuing the theme of cats:
In the silence I heard Bastet, who had retreated under the bed, carrying on a mumbling, profane monologue. (If you ask how I knew it was profane, I presume you have never owned a cat.)
- Amelia Peabody in Deeds of the Disturber, Elizabeth Peters
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 22645
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Frelga »

Inanna wrote:Said the CAT? *puts on reading list*
The car is actually a demon from Hell. But that's only to be expected. ;)

Seriously, it's an amazing book, exploring the choices of a creative individual in an oppressive environment. Well worth reading if you don't mind elements of supernatural horror. Bulgakov was GOOD at horror.
Continuing the theme of cats:
In the silence I heard Bastet, who had retreated under the bed, carrying on a mumbling, profane monologue. (If you ask how I knew it was profane, I presume you have never owned a cat.)
- Amelia Peabody in Deeds of the Disturber, Elizabeth Peters
I love the Emerson cats! Also love the use of "profane" in that sentence.
If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
User avatar
Dave_LF
Wrong within normal parameters
Posts: 6853
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 10:59 am
Location: The other side of Michigan

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Dave_LF »

I have the decidedly low-tech (for a computer programmer) habit of sticking post-it notes to pages when I'm reading and encounter something that strikes me as especially poignant, prescient, or piquant (not to mention pretentious). And I've read a lot of classic literature over the last two years, so I've got a pretty deep well to draw from. Here's one selected at random from The Brothers Karamazov (since it was at the top of the stack):
Of that new, "virtuous" life (it absolutely had to be "virtuous"), [Dmitry] would dream and daydream constantly, obsessively. He craved that renewal and regeneration. The foul quagmire in which he was sinking of his own volition made him sick and, like so many others under such circumstances, he believed in the magic of a change of place--just to get away from this spot, to be surrounded by different people, to be in a different situation, where everything would be new and different!
User avatar
yovargas
I miss Prim ...
Posts: 15011
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:13 am
Location: Florida

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by yovargas »

[Spoiler alert - it wasn't.]
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image
User avatar
Jude
Lán de Grás
Posts: 8372
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:54 pm

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Jude »

I just discovered Scottish crime writer Val McDermid. I came across the following passage in "Insidious Intent", which looks suspiciously like it could have been written by me:
(background: Detective Sergeant Paula McIntyre and DC Karim Hussein are headed to the home of a recent murder victim)

Karim turned into the grounds of a boxy 1960s block that had probably replaced a pair of substantial semis. He hesitated, stating at a sign that read, PRIVATE. RESIDENTS PARKING ONLY.

"Ignore it," Paula said. "Just find a space."

"What if they clamp it?"

"They won't. I can always nick them for failing the correct use of the apostrophe."
Image
User avatar
Inanna
Meetu's little sister
Posts: 17766
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:03 pm

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Inanna »

Lol!
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
User avatar
Maria
Hobbit
Posts: 8315
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Maria »

“Don't try to stop yourself from feeling. You'll hate who you become.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
User avatar
Jude
Lán de Grás
Posts: 8372
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:54 pm

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Jude »

"Well, all I can say is we've never had any trouble in this village 'til we had so-called rock stars living here." Her mouth pursed, revealing a nest of wrinkles she'd have been mortified to see in a mirror.
Val McDermid, "Dead Beat"
Image
User avatar
Túrin Turambar
Posts: 6161
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:37 am
Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Túrin Turambar »

Roy Jenkins was a British MP with a colourful career of his own, but who is best remembered today for his engagingly written biographies of past prime ministers. His biography of Churchill is still one of the best-regarded around. On my travels recently I downloaded onto my kindle and read his biography of William Gladstone. Gladstone is obviously a much-less interesting figure than Churchill, but I was still amused by Jenkins’ style:
None of these temptations, however, was conductive to finding Gladstone a wife. This he set about without guilt but also without guile. His first target was Caroline Farquhar, the sister of an Eton friend and the daughter of a Surrey Baronet of considerable and somewhat older wealth than the Gladstones. The family did not therefore regard Gladstone as a particularly good match, but nor would they have been likely to be resistant had miss Farquhar, who was considered by Gladstone and others to be a ‘beauty’, been responsive.

She was exactly the reverse. Gladstone persuaded himself that her religious position was satisfactory, but may well have over-estimated the aphrodisiacal effect of telling her this. He also mistakenly believed appeals to her father and brother would advance his suit. He had no idea how to interest her. She had no insight to the qualities behind his awkwardness. Her main contemporary comment (a little unreliably recorded in Farquhar family lore) was the exclamation, when she saw Gladstone walking across her family’s park at Polesden Lacey with a case in his hand: “Mama, I simply cannot marry a man who carries his bag like that”.
He started on 31 August [1893] which was a few days after the third and most farcical of his three accidents of that summer. After an afternoon drive with his wife he “walked and came unawares in the quietest corner of the park on a dangerous cow which knocked me down and might have done serious damage”. There are slightly more dramatic versions, including Magnus’ statement that he had to lie down, feigning to be dead, until the cow’s attention was distracted and he could escape first behind a tree and then back to the Castle. The malfeasant beast was apparently not part of a dairy herd but a wild heifer which had intruded into the park and was subsequently shot. It was compensated by the tributes of having its head permanently displayed at the Glynne Arms in Hawarden village, and of evoking an elaborate wreath dispatched with the card inscribed “to the patriotic cow which sacrificed its life in an attempt to save Ireland from Home Rule”. Gladstone, although he had walked home and sat down calmly at dinner, suffered a few weeks of mild ill-effect, which was not surprising at nearly eighty-three.
Then in June 1893 two British men-of-war, Camperdown and Victoria, collided with vast loss of life. The combination of circumstances produced a naval panic, which was carefully fanned by the Times and some other newspapers. It cannot be said it was wholly logical. It was not obvious, for instance, that the answer to the problem of British ships running into each other was to have more of them.
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Primula Baggins »

This is what I love about history: the places where truth outruns carefully crafted fictional narrative. And is far more interesting.

I think that's why I love both the Aubrey and Maturin books of Patrick O'Brian, and the Lymond novels of Dorothy Dunnett. Both writers know and seize on literally incredible bits of true history and build thrilling stories around them.

Heck, I will extend this to the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon. (Yes, they are romances, and sexy, but they are really good books.) She embroiders even more than Dunnett, and certainly far more than O'Brian (who spent years immured in British Royal Navy archives as he wrote). But she tries as hard as Dunnett to bring the reality, and tragedy, of history home.

I should probably read the real history Túrin points us toward. The only problem is, there's no guarantee that the good guys win. :(
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 22645
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Frelga »

Primula Baggins wrote: I should probably read the real history Túrin points us toward. The only problem is, there's no guarantee that the good guys win. :(
As the Death of Discworld said, "THAT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON."
If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Primula Baggins »

Life is so full of IMPORTANT LESSONS just now that I’m about ready to scream.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
Dave_LF
Wrong within normal parameters
Posts: 6853
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 10:59 am
Location: The other side of Michigan

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Dave_LF »

It was not obvious, for instance, that the answer to the problem of British ships running into each other was to have more of them.
Oh now that's good.
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 22645
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Frelga »

I forgot there was a comic of the Hogfather quote, here https://m.imgur.com/t/the_more_you_know/r2fW2o7

That book also has one of my favorite quotes of all time. The character speaking in all caps is the anthropomorphic representation of Death and Susan is his granddaughter.
All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They're not the same at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

MY POINT EXACTLY.
If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
User avatar
Inanna
Meetu's little sister
Posts: 17766
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:03 pm

Random literary quotes

Post by Inanna »

Oh that’s a really nice comic. VERY well
Illustrated.

ETA: although I never imagined Death actually opening his jaws to speak. That’s kind of working, but feels wrong.
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 22645
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Frelga »

Inanna wrote:Oh that’s a really nice comic. VERY well
Illustrated.

ETA: although I never imagined Death actually opening his jaws to speak. That’s kind of working, but feels wrong.
Huh. We've been told that his voice "arrived" directly into the listener's brain without passing through the ears. But I feel like he would make an effort anyway and articulate to the extent that he's able.

I wonder if my son still remembers why I keep telling him "It will be an important lesson." PTerry is full of quotes that are very useful in child raising.
If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
User avatar
Inanna
Meetu's little sister
Posts: 17766
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:03 pm

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Inanna »

Plus, here he was the Hogfather. So, maybe a greater attempt to articulate.
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
User avatar
elengil
Cat-egorical Herbitual Creativi-Tea
Posts: 6248
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:45 pm
Location: Between the Mountains and the Sea

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by elengil »

The Hogfather is my go-to holiday movie. Every year! :love:
"You can't give her that, it isn't safe!"

IT'S A SWORD, THEY'RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE!

"But she's a child!"

IT'S EDUCATIONAL.

"What if she cuts herself!?"

THAT WOULD BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON.
:thumbsup:
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 22645
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Re: Random literary quotes

Post by Frelga »

:love: :love: :love:

Pratchett is a treasure trove of quotes for parents of a child who would not tolerate nagging but responds very well to being told, "Is there something in the word 'tyrant' you do not understand?"
If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
Post Reply