Foe Jm Coetzee Quotes

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We must cultivate, all of us, a certain ignorance, a certain blindness, or society will not be tolerable.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
He does not know what freedom is. Freedom is a word, less than a word, a noise, one of the multitude of noises I make when I open my mouth.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
In a world of chance is there a better and a worse? We yield to a stranger's embrace or give ourselves to the waves; for the blink of an eyelid our vigilance relaxes; we are asleep; and when we awake, we have lost the direction of our lives. What are these blinks of an eyelid, against which the only defence is an eternal and inhuman wakefulness? Might they not be the cracks and chinks through which another voice, other voices, speak in our lives? By what right do we close our ears to them?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
His mouth opens. From inside him comes a slow stream, without breath, without interruption. It flows up through his body and out upon me; it passes through the cabin, through the wreck; washing the cliffs and shores of the island, it runs northward and southward to the ends of the earth. Soft and cold, dark and unending, it beats against my eyelids, against the skin of my face.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
We are accustomed to believe that our world was created by God speaking the Word; but I ask, may it not rather be that he wrote it, wrote a Word so long we have yet to come to the end of it? May it not be that God continually writes the world, the world and all that is in it?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
Yet is it not the heart but the members of play that elevate us above the beasts: the fingers with which we touch the clavichord or the flute, the tongue with which we jest and lie and seduce. Lacking members of play, what is there left for beasts to do when they are bored but sleep?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
It seemed to me that all things were possible on the island, all tyrannies and cruelties, though in small; and if, in despite of what was possible, we lived at peace with another, surely this was proof that certain laws unknown to us held sway, or else that we had been following the promptings of our hearts all this time, and our hearts had not betrayed us.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
as to who among us is a ghost and who not I have nothing to say: it is a question we can only stare at in silence, like a bird before a snake, hoping it will not swallow us.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
When I reflect on my story I seem to exist only as the one who came, the one who witnessed, the one who longed to be gone: a being without substance, a ghost beside the true body of Cruso. Is that the fate of all storytellers?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
I stretched out my arms and laid my palms on the earth, and, yes, the rocking persisted, the rocking of the island as it sailed through the sea and the night bearing into the future its freight of gulls and sparrows and fleas and apes and castaways, all unconscious now, save me. I fell asleep smiling.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
Two names on the page, his and hers, side by side. Two in a bed, lovers no longer but foes.
J.M. Coetzee (Disgrace)
In every story there is a silence, some sight concealed, some word unspoken, I believe. Till we have spoken the unspoken we have not come to the heart of the story.
J.M. Coetzee
We cannot shrink in disgust from our neighbour's touch because his hands, that are clean now, were once dirty. We must cultivate, all of us, a certain ignorance, a certain blindness, or society will not be tolerable.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
You will believe me when I say the life we lead grows less and less distinct from the life we led of Cruso's island. Sometimes I wake up not knowing where I am. The world is full of islands, said Cruso once. His words ring truer every day.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
An aversion came over me that we feel for all the mutilated. Why is that so, do you think? Because they put us in mind of what we would rather forget: how easily, at the stroke of a sword or a knife, wholeness and beauty are forever undone? Perhaps. But toward you I felt a deeper revulsion. I could not put out of mind the softness of the tongue, its softness and wetness, and the fact that it does not live in the light; also how helpless it is before the knife, once the barrier of teeth has been passed. The tongue is like the heart, in that way, is it not?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
I tell myself I talk to Friday to educate him out of darkness and silence. But is that the truth? There are times when benevolence deserts me and I use the words only as the shortest way to subject him to my will. At such times I understand why Cruso preferred not to disturb his muteness. I understand, that is to say, why a man will choose to be a slaveowner. Do you think less of me for this confession?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
Be attentive to yourself as you write and you will mark there are times when the words form themselves on the paper de novo, as the Romans used to say, out of the deepest of inner silences.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
The world is more various than we ever give it credit for.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
What, after all, do I stand for besides an archaic code of gentlemanly behaviour towards captured foes, and what do I stand against except the new science of degradation that kills people on their knees, confused and disgraced in their own eyes? Would I have dared to face the crowd to demand justice for these ridiculous barbarian prisoners with their backsides in the air? Justice: once that word is uttered, where will it all end? Easier to shout No! Easier to be beaten and made a martyr. Easier to lay my head on a block than to defend the cause of justice for the barbarians: for where can that argument lead but to laying down our arms and opening the gates of the town to the people whose land we have raped? The old magistrate, defender of the rule of law, enemy in his own way of the State, assaulted and imprisoned, impregnably virtuous, is not without his own twinges of doubt.
J.M. Coetzee
Laws are made for one purpose only (...) to hold us in check when our desires grow immoderate. As long as our desires are moderate we have no need of laws.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
Navikli smo da verujemo kako je ovaj naš svet stvorio Bog izrekavši Reč; ali sad pitam, zar ne bi moglo biti da ga je ispisao, ispisao reč tako dugačku da tek treba da dospemo do njenog kraja? Nije li moguće da Bog neprekidno ispisuje svet, kako svet tako i sve što je u njemu?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
I have a desire to be saved which I must call immoderate.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
Ponekad se pitam, reče, kako bi bilo da Božja stvorenja nemaju sna. Kad bismo čitav život provodili budni, da li bi nas to učinilo boljim ljudima ili gorim?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
Poznati su mi kao i vama mnogi, mnogi načini da sami sebe zavaramo. Ali kako ćemo živeti ako ne verujemo da znamo ko smo i ko smo oduvek bili?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
Kako će on pisati ako ne ume da govori? Slova su ogledalo reči. I kad naizgled pišemo u tišini, naš zapis je slika i prilika govora koji teče u nama, bilo da je drugima ili nama samima upućen.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
You will believe me when I say the life we lead grows less and less distinct from the life we led on Cruso's island. Sometimes I wake up not knowing where I am. The world is full of islands, said Cruso once. His words ring truer every day.
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
as to who among us is a ghost and who not I have nothing to say: it is a question we can only stare at in silence, like a
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
El mundo es siempre mucho más variado de lo que estamos dispuestos a admitir J.M. Coetzee, Foe
Eduardo Ulibarri (La ONU que yo viví: Revelaciones tras cuatro intensos años)
Is that the secret meaning of the word story, do you think: a storing place of memories?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)
I tell myself I talk to Friday to educate him out of darkness and silence. But is that the truth? There are times when benevolence deserts me and I use words only as the shortest way to subject him to my will. At such times I understand why Cruso preferred not to disturb his muteness. I understand, that is to say, why a man will choose to be a slaveowner. Do you think less of me for this confession?
J.M. Coetzee (Foe)