We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.
I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
Whatever the direction of his thoughts, he kept coming back to the same unanswerable but inescapable questions. It was as if the working of his head had stripped the main screw that held his life together. The screw wouldn’t go in or come out; it just turned without biting on anything, always in the same hole, and he couldn’t stop it turning.
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
She became acutely conscious of the little limbs, the thin veins, the delicate flesh of men and women, which breaks so easily and lets the life escape compared with these great trees and deep waters.
Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out
Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
MRS. ALLONBY. The secret of life is never to have an emotion that is unbecoming.
LADY STUTFIELD. The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived.
KELVIL. The secret of life is to resist temptation, Lady
LORD ILLINGWORTH. There is no secret of life. Life’s aim, if it has one, is simply to be always looking for temptations. There are not nearly enough. I sometimes pass a whole day without coming across a single one. It is quite dreadful. It makes one so nervous about the future.
- Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance (1893) [full text]
Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs:
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers’ tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Poster(s) of the Day: Postertext — entire chapters from several classics, arranged around iconic scenes.
New posters added weekly. Contemporary literature coming soon. Requests welcome.
someone please buy this for me, PLEASE.