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#literary

Read through the most famous quotes by topic #literary




The sixties began what many admirers of Eliot would consider a bleak period. The anxiety of influence of the profession at large seemed to inspire quick and increasingly uninformed dismissals of Eliot, and these repeated denigrations produced, predictably, a generation of students with vague and inaccurate impressions about his poetry and ideas. But there is a bright side to Eliot studies of the last quarter century. The general retreat from Eliot coincided with the beginning of basic and important work on his ideas, especially on his early philosophical writings.


Jewel Spears Brooker


#inspirational

[Henry] James's critical genius comes out most tellingly in his mastery over, his baffling escape from, Ideas; a mastery and an escape which are perhaps the last test of a superior intelligence. He had a mind so fine that no idea could violate it. [...] In England, ideas run wild and pasture on the emotions; instead of thinking with our feelings (a very different thing) we corrupt our feelings with ideas; we produce the public, the political, the emotional idea, evading sensation and thought. [...] James in his novels is like the best French critics in maintaining a point of view, a view-point untouched by the parasite idea. He is the most intelligent man of his generation." (Little Review, 1918)


T.S. Eliot


#ideas #literary #writing #intelligence

Tolkien, who created this marvellous vehicle, doesn't go anywhere in it. He just sits where he is. What I mean by that is that he always seems to be looking backwards, to a greater and more golden past; and what's more he doesn't allow girls or women any important part in the story at all. Life is bigger and more interesting than The Lord of the Rings thinks it is.


Philip Pullman


#fantasy #literary-criticism #metaphors #tolkien #writing

The book, like the bicycle, is a perfect form.


Jacques Barzun


#life

The period of general neglect of Eliot's poetry was one in which a revolution was occurring in the theory of interpretation. Existentialist, phenomenologist, structuralist, psychoanalytic, feminist, and poststructuralist theories appeared and stimulated dazzling conversations about how texts mean. Bloom, Miller, Poulet, Gadamer, Foucault, Lacan, Kristeva, and Derrida are just a few of the critics who have contributed to these conversations. These studies have enormous value for critics interested in Eliot. In the first place, they have popularized insights about language which are central in Eliot poetry from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" to Four Quartets. Anyone who doubts this should read Derrida "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" and follow up with a reading of part 5 of each of Four Quartets. In the second place, the studies in theory have created an audience that will be able to appreciate Eliot's dissertation and early philosophical work, an audience unthinkable a generation ago.


Jewel Spears Brooker


#love

A sixteenth-century poet, especially one who knew that he ought to be a curious and universal scholar, would possess some notions, perhaps not strictly philosophical, about the origin of the world and its end, the eduction of forms from matter, and the relation of such forms to the higher forms which are the model of the world and have their being in the mind of God. He might well be a poet to brood on those great complementary opposites: the earthly and heavenly cities, unity and multiplicity, light and dark, equity and justice, continuity--as triumphantly exhibited in his own Empress--and ends--as sadly exhibited in his own Empress. Like St. Augustine he will see mutability as the condition of all created things, which are immersed in time. Time, he knows, will have a stop--perhaps, on some of the evidence, quite soon. Yet there is other evidence to suggest that this is not so. It will seem to him, at any rate, that his poem should in part rest on some poetic generalization-some fiction--which reconciles these opposites, and helps to make sense of the discords, ethical, political, legal, and so forth, which, in its completeness, it had to contain. This may stand as a rough account of Spenser's mood when he worked out the sections of his poem which treat of the Garden of Adonis and the trial of Mutability, the first dealing with the sempiternity of earthly forms, and the second with the dilation of being in these forms under the shadow of a final end. Perhaps the refinements upon, and the substitutes for, Augustine's explanations of the first matter and its potentialities, do not directly concern him; as an allegorist he may think most readily of these potentialities in a quasi-Augustinian way as seeds, seminal reasons, plants tended in a seminarium. But he will distinguish, as his commentators often fail to do, these forms or formulae from the heavenly forms, and allow them the kind of immortality that is open to them, that of athanasia rather than of aei einai. And an obvious place to talk about them would be in the discussion of love, since without the agency represented by Venus there would be no eduction of forms from the prime matter. Elsewhere he would have to confront the problem of Plato's two kinds of eternity; the answer to Mutability is that the creation is deathless, but the last stanzas explain that this is not to grant them the condition of being-for-ever.


Frank Kermode


#love

In another corner Nathaniel murmured to Maura, "You must know, Miss O'Connell, I . . . I loved you even before I saw you. It was your father's way of talking." Maura shook her head. "You mustn't say that. It's not my dear da's words that should do the wooing," she said gently. "I'd rather be cared for . . . for what I am myself." Nathaniel nodded. "I'll not say more. But I will tell you what I think I'm going to do." And what is that I'm going to California to search for gold." And do you think, Nathaniel Brewster, you'll find it?" I do. But it won't be as fine as what's here," Nathaniel said with a shy smile. "Maura O'Connell . . . will . . . will you . . . wait for me to come back?" Maura was silent. Will you?" You're a fine young man, Mr. Brewster. I can only say I'll not forget you.


Avi


#romance #love

Attempts to connect men's circumstances too closely with their literary productions are usually, I believe, unsuccessful.


C.S. Lewis


#men

The sin of Book I is at first sight more obscure, but it is particularly significant. We have seen that there appear to be two very important episodes showing the Red-Crosse a prey to Despair. When we find, further, that of the three Paynim Brethren, Sansfoy, Sansloi and Sansjoy, it is the last who is the Red-Crosse's most formidable enemy, we are driven to assume that there is some special significance in this stressing of a tendency to melancholy. Such a tendency is not now regarded as a serious sin, but in mediaeval times melancholy leading to inertia and in extreme cases to suicide was under the name of accidie one of the recognized Deadly Sins. By Elizabeth's day the much less pregnant term Sloth had been substituted in the usual catalogue, and Spenser nowhere uses the word accidie. But the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries were much preoccupied with the subject. They regarded the sufferers from it as at once in a highly dangerous spiritual state and as intensely interesting. It was the favourite pose of fashionable young men. Hamlet is the supreme treatment of it in literature, but most of the dramatists of the day are interested in it. I suggest that the first Book of the original Faerie Queene treated of the sin of accidie.


Janet Spens


#men

He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. (writing about US President Warren G. Harding)


H.L. Mencken


#literary-criticism #political-commentary #president






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