Some of the curious quotes I’ve collected recently. I am now officially a Kindle addict! I’ve been reading up all my forgotten favourites, and revered in Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray yesterday, which I absolutely loved. Met up with WS and we happily chatted about the books we love, American journalism and European writers, old little Shanghai ditties – all over Japanese hamburger and berry panna cotta. The beginning of weekends are sweet like that.
I would go on more about the Kindle, but suffice to say there are free reads from The New Yorker, Economist, New York times and London Times reviews. For a book lover, all these are suddenly magical.
This is how it is, every night, exhausted, reading while walking, walking while reading, and falling asleep hunched over cat and a Kindle which turns itself off.
It is now gradually a really essential part of my daily life!
From Oscar Wilde:
“I believe in the race,” she cried. “It represents the survival of the pushing.” “It has development.” “Decay fascinates me more.” “What of art?” she asked. “It is a malady.” “Love?” “An illusion.” “Religion?” “The fashionable substitute for belief.” “You are a sceptic.” “Never! Scepticism is the beginning of faith.” “What are you?” “To define is to limit.” “Give me a clue.” “Threads snap. You would lose your way in the labyrinth.”
Disturbingly pretty pictures painted of the hedonist theory advocated by Henry:
“Be afraid of nothing…. A new Hedonism–that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol. With your personality there is nothing you could not do. The world belongs to you for a season…. The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself. I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last–such a little time. The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now. In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!”
“Besides, Dorian, don’t deceive yourself. Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play–I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.”
“At another time he devoted himself entirely to music, and in a long latticed room, with a vermilion-and-gold ceiling and walls of olive-green lacquer, he used to give curious concerts in which mad gipsies tore wild music from little zithers, or grave, yellow-shawled Tunisians plucked at the strained strings of monstrous lutes, while grinning Negroes beat monotonously upon copper drums and, crouching upon scarlet mats, slim turbaned Indians blew through long pipes of reed or brass and charmed–or feigned to charm–great hooded snakes and horrible horned adders. The harsh intervals and shrill discords of barbaric music stirred him at times when Schubert’s grace, and Chopin’s beautiful sorrows, and the mighty harmonies of Beethoven himself, fell unheeded on his ear. He collected together from all parts of the world the strangest instruments that could be found, either in the tombs of dead nations or among the few savage tribes that have survived contact with Western civilizations, and loved to touch and try them.”
“He grew more and more enamoured of his own beauty, more and more interested in the corruption of his own soul. He would examine with minute care, and sometimes with a monstrous and terrible delight, the hideous lines that seared the wrinkling forehead or crawled around the heavy sensual mouth, wondering sometimes which were the more horrible, the signs of sin or the signs of age.”
There are moments when the odour of lilas blanc passes suddenly across me, and I have to live the strangest month of my life over again.
On America (this one was rather funny, ha ha!):
“Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered,” said Mr. Erskine; “I myself would say that it had merely been detected.” “Oh! but I have seen specimens of the inhabitants,” answered the duchess vaguely. “I must confess that most of them are extremely pretty. And they dress well, too. They get all their dresses in Paris. I wish I could afford to do the same.” “They say that when good Americans die they go to Paris,” chuckled Sir Thomas, who had a large wardrobe of Humour’s cast-off clothes. “Really! And where do bad Americans go to when they die?” inquired the duchess. “They go to America,” murmured Lord Henry.”
More quotes in time, I love the quotes collector function in Kindle. I used to leave pages in mind meant to copy them afterwards on Saturday afternoons, but sometimes other activities or pure laziness denied me that opportunity.
I do wish however, that I could find Milan Kundera ebooks for the Kindle. I would love to finish reading Encounter, for instance, or the other Susan Sontag books that I had been meaning to finish.
Anyone would like to exchange ebook collections? Or music, for that matter? I have several High Society collections, jazz (Chet Baker, Blossom Dearie, Edith Piaf) , classical (mainly versions of Chopin’s ballads and nocturnes), and would love to do a burn+snail mail exchange. Just leave a comment and I’ll contact you about it.