Saturday, January 8, 2011

Endlessly Quotable

Years ago I found my favorite quotation.  It was originally by A. S. Byatt, but when I read it, it was plopped down in the middle of The Time Traveler's Wife.  I put Possession on my to-read list then and there, but I've just got around to opening  Within twelve pages I'm certain that this will become one of my all-time favorites.  It is endlessly quotable.  I've already filled a page with passages I couldn't get enough of.

"This is where I have always been running to. Since my time began. And when I go away from here, this will be the mid-point, to which everything ran, before, and from which everything will run. But now, my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere."

"The individual appears for an instant, joins the community of thought, modifies it and dies; but the species, that dies not, reaps the fruit of his ephemeral existence."

"A man is the history of his breaths and thoughts, acts, atoms and wounds, love, indifference and dislike; also of his race and nation, the soil that fed him and his forebears, the stones and sands of his familiar places, long-silenced battles and struggles of conscience, of the smiles of girls and the slow utterance of old women, of accidents and the gradual action of inexorable law, of all this and something else too, a single flame which in every way obeys the laws that pertain to Fire itself, and yet is lit and put out from one moment to the next, and can never be relumed in the whole waste of time to come."

...don't you just love it already?

[image source one, two, three and four]


  1. i have always loved the first quote since i first read it on your blog way back, and the other two are almost as good! (i think if i had to order them it would be 1, 3, 2)

    anyway, what kind of a book is this? i find that some books are made up entirely of good quotes but lack a story. is this one of them?

  2. i love those quotes and those photos!!!

  3. Sarah: I can't give a good summary yet since I'm still at the very beginning, but so far it's about a scholar who named Roland who is researching a fictional poet named RH Ash. While leafing through some of Ash's notes, he comes across what appears to be an unknown love letter.

    I haven't gotten any further than that, but the whole thing is so beautifully written...even if the plot turns out to be a flop, it's worth a read for the rich language.

  4. Some of these are reminiscent of this old Somerset Maugham quote:

    "I have an idea that some men are born out of their due places. Accident has cast them amid strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives alien among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search of something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history. Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest."
    ~ W. Somerset Maughham, in The Moon and Sixpence


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