My Favourite Quotes

Wrzesmian wasn’t too popular. The works of this strange man, saturated with rampant fantasy and imbued with strong individualism, gave a most unfavourable impression by inverting accepted aesthetic-literary theories and by mocking established pseudo-truths. His output was eventually acknowledged as the product of a sick imagination, the bizarre work of an eccentric, maybe even a madman. Wrzesmian was an inconvenience for a variety of reasons and he disturbed unnecessarily, stirring peaceful waters. Thus his premature eclipse was received with a secret sigh of relief.”
from ‘The Area’ by Stefan Grabinski

An amusing and provocative description by the narrator of meeting, when playing chess, the eponymous ‘hero’ of RAMEAU’S NEPHEW by Denis Diderot, an eponymous ‘hero’ who is also “the nephew of that famous musician […] who wrote such reams of incomprehensible visions and apocalyptic verities on the theory of the music, of which neither he nor anyone else ever understood a word, and who left us with a number of operas where we can enjoy various harmonies, unfinished songs, unrelated ideas, uproars, flights, triumphal fanfares, spears, ennoblements, seditious whisperings, endless victories; he also left us dance tunes that will live forever;…”
This somewhat stirs me to recall the passage above from a more modern author about Wrzesmian. But Diderot’s narrator (Diderot himself?) conjures up the obverse side of the ‘eccentric’ coin: “If one of them [an eccentric] appears in a group, he’s like a grain of yeast that ferments, and restores to each of us his natural individuality. He shocks us, he stirs us up; he forces us to praise or blame; he brings out the truth;…”

“My pictures are visionary and symbolical, and, from first to last, have seemed to be painted by someone other than myself. […] I am thus entirely self-taught, or taught by that other within me. I am aware that my pictures lack serious technique(if there is a technique that can be distinguished from inspiration and invention). I should have given up painting them some time ago, were it not that a certain number of people seemed to find something remarkable in them, and have thus identified me with them, and made me feel mildly important.”
From ‘Ravissante’ by Robert Aickman
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From the cosmic point of view, to have opinions or preferences at all is to be ill; for by harbouring them one dams up the flow of the ineluctable force which, like a river, bears us down to the ocean of everything’s unknowing. Reality is a running noose, one is brought up short with a jerk by death. It would have been wiser to co-operate wih the inevitable and learn to profit by this unhappy state of things – by realising and accommodating death! But we don’t, we allow the ego to foul its own nest. Therefore we have insecurity, stress, the midnight-fruit of insomnia, with a whole culture crying itself to sleep. How to repair this state of affairs except through art, through gifts which render to us language manumitted by emotion, poetry twisted into the service of direct insight?”
from ‘The Avignon Quincunx’ by Lawrence Durrell (‘Constance’ 1982)

“The nemo is an evolutionary force, as necessary as the ego. The ego is certainty, what I am; the nemo is potentiality, what I am not. But instead of utilizing the nemo as we would utilize any other force, we allow ourselves to be terrified by it, as primitive man was terrified by lightning. We run screaming from this mysterious shape in the middle of our town, even though the real terror is not in itself, but in our terror at it.”
John Fowles 1964 (from ‘The Necessity of Nemo’ in ‘The Aristos’)

“She was the part of you which you had never been able to untie and set free, the part that wanted to dance and run and sing, taking strong draughts of wind and sunlight; and was, instead, done up in intricate knots and overcast with shadows; the part that longed to look outward and laugh, accepting life as an easy exciting thing; and yet was checked by a voice that said doubtfully that there were dark ideas behind it all, tangling the web; and turned you inward to grope among the roots of thought and feeling for the threads.”
from ‘Dusty Answer’ (1927) by Rosamond Lehmann

“So do we pass the ghosts that haunt us later in our lives; they sit undramatically by the roadside like poor beggars, and we see them only from the corners of our eyes, if we see them at all. The idea that they have been waiting there for us rarely if ever crosses our minds. Yet they do wait, and when we have passed, they gather up their bundles of memory and fall in behind, treading in our footsteps and catching up, little by little.”
from ‘Wizard and Glass’ by Stephen King

”There are faces made for moonlight. There are faces created to respond to the wind. There are faces for sandy deserts, for lonely seashores, for solitary headlands, for misty dawns, for frosty midnights. Cordelia’s face was made for rain. It had nothing in it that was normally beautiful; and yet it became at this moment the living incarnation of all those long hours when rain had mingled with her secretest hopes. Her face was charged with the rain that had streamed down the window-panes at Cardiff Villa, twilight after twilight, while her thoughts had been flying far away; far over dripping forests, far over swollen rivers to green-black castle walls of which she fancied herself the mistress or the captive.”
— from ‘A Glastonbury Romance’ by John Cowper Powys

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Horror Without Victims HERE

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