Middle English Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Middle English. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to show how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." I've never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever.
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.
Richard Lederer (Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language)
I have these guilts about never having read Chaucer but I was talked out of learning Early Anglo-Saxon / Middle English by a friend who had to take it for her Ph.D. They told her to write an essay in Early Anglo-Saxon on any-subject-of-her-own-choosing. “Which is all very well,” she said bitterly, “but the only essay subject you can find enough Early Anglo-Saxon words for is ‘How to Slaughter a Thousand Men in a Mead Hall’.
Helene Hanff (84, Charing Cross Road)
I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers to care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic -- it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
John Taylor Gatto (Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling)
  “Yes, well, I thought you should see it. The cover page is in Arabic scribblin’, but the next hundred-plus pages are in five sections, and in English. I can’t for the life of me figure out what to make of it. This appears to be more American, and it seems to be a kind of scientific material. Have a look at it and let me know what to tell the boys in Z-land,
Karl Braungart (Fatal Identity (Remmich/Miller, #3))
We can trace the communitarian fantasy that lies at the root of all humanism back to the model of a literary society, in which participation through reading the canon reveals a common love of inspiring messages. At the heart of humanism so understood we discover a cult or club fantasy: the dream of the portentous solidarity of those who have been chosen to be allowed to read. In the ancient world—indeed, until the dawn of the modern nation-states—the power of reading actually did mean something like membership of a secret elite; linguistic knowledge once counted in many places as the provenance of sorcery. In Middle English the word 'glamour' developed out of the word 'grammar'. The person who could read would be thought easily capable of other impossibilities.
Peter Sloterdijk (Regels voor het Mensenpark)
English “manners” were imposed on the middle class as a way of domesticating them, along with instilling in them the fear of breaking rules and violating social norms.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life)
I was born in 1927, the only child of middle-class parents, both English, and themselves born in the grotesquely elongated shadow, which they never rose sufficiently above history to leave, of that monstrous dwarf Queen Victoria.
John Fowles (The Magus)
Excellent, I think I see a few veela cousins,” said George, craning his neck for a better look. “They’ll need help understanding our English customs, I’ll look after them. . . .” “Not so fast, Your Holeyness,” said Fred, and darting past the gaggle of middle-aged witches heading the procession, he said, “Here — permettez-moi to assister vous,” to a pair of pretty French girls, who giggled and allowed him to escort them inside. George was left to deal with the middle-aged witches.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
If you read history you will find that the Christians begin the most for the present world are just the ones that thought the most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot. in the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark one Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so in effective in this. And that Heaven and you'll get the earth "thrown in": aim at earth and you'll get neither.
C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity (Shepherd's Notes))
Think of my Pleasure in Solitude, in comparison of my commerce with the world - there I am a child - there they do not know me not even my most intimate acquaintance - I give into their feelings as though I were refraining from irritating a little child - Some think me middling, others silly, other foolish - every one thinks he sees my weak side against my will; when in thruth it is with my will - I am content to be thought all this because I have in my own breast so graet a resource. This is one great reason why they like me so; because they can all show to advantage in a room, and eclipese from a certain tact one who is reckoned to be a good Poet - I hope I am not here playing tricks 'to make the angels weep': I think not: for I have not the least contempt for my species; and though it may sound paradoxical: my greatest elevations of Soul leave me every time more humbled - Enough of this - though in your Love for me you will not think it enough.
John Keats
We're also living in a time when we find respected media outlets and public figures circulating criticism of women's voices--like that they speak with too much vocal fry, overuse the words like and literally, and apologize in excess. They brand judgments like these as pseudofeminist advice aimed at helping women talk with 'more authority' so they can be 'taken more seriously.' What they don't seem to realize is that they're actually keeping women in a constant state of self-questioning--keeping them quiet--for no objectively logical reason other than that they don't sound like middle-aged white men.
Amanda Montell (Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language)
Even the word slut used to mean something relatively innocent. The word is so contentious now you’d never guess it came from the comparatively wholesome Middle English term slutte, which merely meant an “untidy” woman. The word was even used for men sometimes (in 1386, Chaucer labeled one slovenly male character as “sluttish”).
Amanda Montell (Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language)
None of this, of course, was ever stated: the genteel social Darwinism of the English middle classes always remained implicit.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
We rose from our chairs and bowed at each other, Japanese-style. The eight of them sat on the opposite side of the table to us, leaving the middle chair empty. All looking at us, no-one speaking a word. A long minute later, a very short, rather elderly lady – also dressed in funereal black – waddled in and seated herself in the empty chair in the middle of the row, directly facing us. She smiled; well, she attempted to twist her mouth. Too much effort. Her expression reverted to seriousness. Lin, sitting next to her, now spoke and introduced her as the Managing Director. She didn’t speak any English. Nor, it transpired, did any of the others – or if they did, we would never know, as either they weren’t brave enough to try or were inhibited by the business hierarchy. A scene that could have come out of Kafka.
Oliver Dowson (There's No Business Like International Business: Business Travel – But Not As You Know It)
Nobody wants a house in Osaka,' he said, and it was strange to hear him switch suddenly to foreign pronunciation in the middle of his English. 'It would mean you had to live in Osaka.' 'What's wrong with it?' 'It's like . . . Birmingham.
Natasha Pulley (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, #1))
With the ascension of Charles I to the throne we come at last to the Central Period of English History (not to be confused with the Middle Ages, of course), consisting in the utterly memorable Struggle between the Cavaliers (Wrong but Wromantic) and the Roundheads (Right but Repulsive).
W.C. Sellar (1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England)
The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts…. If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better. —GEORGE ORWELL, “POLITICS AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE,” 1946
Rashid Khalidi (Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East)
They had tried to reproduce their own attitude to life upon the stage, and to dress up as the middle-class English people they actually were.
E.M. Forster (A Passage to India)
Impotence and sodomy are socially O.K. but birth control is flagrantly middle-class.
Evelyn Waugh (Noblesse Oblige: An Enquiry into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy)
Oberon "Did Middle English hounds bark with an extra syllable on the end? like 'woofe'?
Kevin Hearne
I wasn’t reading poetry because my aim was to work my way through English Literature in Prose A–Z. But this was different. I read [in, Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot]: This is one moment, / But know that another / Shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy. I started to cry. (…)The unfamiliar and beautiful play made things bearable that day, and the things it made bearable were another failed family—the first one was not my fault, but all adopted children blame themselves. The second failure was definitely my fault. I was confused about sex and sexuality, and upset about the straightforward practical problems of where to live, what to eat, and how to do my A levels. I had no one to help me, but the T.S. Eliot helped me. So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language—and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers—a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.
Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
Soon we're both frowning hard at the paperwork. "Middle name?" Noah says. "Does Gideon even have a middle name?" "I don't know" Noah turns to me and says, "Do you have a middle name?" his glare implying that, if I do, this whole thing is somehow my fault. "I...have no idea." "Primary language spoken at home." Noah makes a face. "What does this mean? Our primary language? Gideon's? That's sort of why we're here..." "Um, it's under family, so I'm guessing ours?" "Well..." Noah lowers his pen. The paperwork has defeated him. "What's our primary language?" "English? ASL? Physical affection?" "Food?" Noah says. "Food's a good guess." He picks up the pen. "I'm writing food, comma passive aggressive." "Good call.
Hannah Moskowitz (Invincible Summer)
The language of Shakespeare is the first and lasting affirmation of the great changes that took place in the sixteenth century, leaving the Middle English of Chaucer far behind. In many ways, the language has changed less in the 400 years since Shakespeare wrote than it did in the 150 years before he wrote.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Oh my. Molly put her hand to her no-doubt agape mouth. Oh my, oh my, oh my. After her divorce, she hadn’t thought this day would ever come again, but here it was, a second proposal. Life is funny, she thought, and she felt herself step back from the reality of her situation for a moment, lest its emotions overwhelm her and make her swoon like a damsel in those Middle English chivalric romances she taught in 10th-grade English. Yes, life was indeed funny. It had no syllabus, which was why Molly, always a diligent student, felt so unprepared for it. Life played tricks on you too, surprised you, with the biggest surprise that life, even at the nearly half-century mark, could still hold surprises. Like so: There is a man in my kitchen, a man I’m in love with, and he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. How strange and how very unconventional by its conventional, everyday setting.
Ray Smith (The Magnolia That Bloomed Unseen)
Only an obstinate prejudice about this period (which I will presently try to account for) could blind us to a certain change which comes over the merely literary texts as we pass from the Middle Ages to the sixteenth century.
C.S. Lewis (English Literature in the Sixteenth Century: Excluding Drama (Oxford History of English Literature Series))
Nobody ever got started on a career as a writer by exercising good judgment, and no one ever will, either, so the sooner you break the habit of relying on yours, the faster you will advance. People with good judgment weigh the assurance of a comfortable living represented by the mariners’ certificates that declare them masters of all ships, whether steam or sail, and masters of all oceans and all navigable rivers, and do not forsake such work in order to learn English and write books signed Joseph Conrad. People who have had hard lives but somehow found themselves fetched up in executive positions with prosperous West Coast oil firms do not drink and wench themselves out of such comfy billets in order in their middle age to write books as Raymond Chandler; that would be poor judgment. No one on the payroll of a New York newspaper would get drunk and chuck it all to become a free-lance writer, so there was no John O’Hara. When you have at last progressed to the junction that enforces the decision of whether to proceed further, by sending your stuff out, and refusing to remain a wistful urchin too afraid to beg, and you have sent the stuff, it is time to pause and rejoice.
George V. Higgins
Nobody who understands the amount of pain and energy which go to the creation of new instruments of thought can feel anything but respect for the philosophy of the Middle Ages.
Owen Barfield (History in English Words)
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
I told the Kid I thought Wednesday was Latin for Satan, and that we probably shouldn't do it then because it might be bad luck. The Kid then proceeded to tell me what the word Wednesday actually means and where it came from (apparently it's Middle English for Wednes dei, the day of the English God Woden--how the hell he knows these things, I'll never know). He then said to stop being such a girl.
T.J. Klune (Bear, Otter, and the Kid (Bear, Otter, and the Kid, #1))
It has been our experience that American houses insist on very comprehensive editing; that English houses as a rule require little or none and are inclined to go along with the author's script almost without query. The Canadian practice is just what you would expect--a middle-of-the-road course. We think the Americans edit too heavily and interfere with the author's rights. We think that the English publishers don't take enough editorial responsibility. Naturally, then, we consider our editing to be just about perfect. There's no doubt about it, we Canadians are a superior breed! (in a letter to author Margaret Laurence, dated May, 1960)
Jack McClelland (Imagining Canadian Literature: The Selected Letters)
Writers in what we now call the Middle English period (late twelfth century to 1485) did not necessarily always write in English. The language was in a state of flux: attempts were made to assert the French language, to keep down the local language, English, and to make the language of the church (Latin) the language of writing.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Until the early middle years of the sixteenth century, when King Henry VIII began to quarrel with Rome about the dialectics of divorce and decapitation, a short and swift route to torture and death was the attempt to print the Bible in English. It’s
Christopher Hitchens (Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens)
Where is Sin’s plaid? (Lochlan) Plaid cloth is for people of true Scots blood, Lochlan. They are not for half-blooded Sassenachs. (Aisleen) (He had found Sin later that day, alone in their room. Sin had been sitting in the middle of the floor with his arm cut open while he let blood trail from the wound into a bowl.) What are you doing? (Lochlan) I’m trying to get rid of the English blood in me, but it doesn’t look any different than yours. How can I make it go away when I can’t find the difference? (Sin)
Kinley MacGregor (Born in Sin (Brotherhood of the Sword, #3; MacAllister, #2))
Lad, the English middle classes have to chew every mouthful thirty times because their guts are so narrow, a bit as big as a pea would give them a stoppage.
D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterley's Lover)
She was in the middle of a city [Nominally a city. It was the size of an English county town, or, translated into American terms, a shopping mall.] at the time.
Terry Pratchett
The Indian novel in English has been around for longer than is generally realized, with the first attempts dating to the middle of the nineteenth century.
R.K. Narayan (The Guide)
I believe that no great lyric poet ever speaks in the so-called “proper” language of his or her time. Emily Dickinson didn’t write in “proper” English grammar but in slant music of fragmentary perception. Half a world and half a century away, Cesar Vallejo placed three dots in the middle of the line, as if language itself were not enough, as if the poet’s voice needed to leap from one image to another, to make—to use Eliot’s phrase—a raid on the inarticulate. Paul Celan wrote to his wife from Germany, where he briefly visited from his voluntary exile in France: “The language with which I make my poems has nothing to do with one spoken here, or anywhere.
Ilya Kaminsky
We closed the deal and moved to New York. Where in fact I had lived before, from the time I was twenty-one and just out of the English Department at Berkeley and starting work at Vogue (a segue so profoundly unnatural that when I was asked by the Condé Nast personnel department to name the languages in which I was fluent I could think only of Middle English) until I was twenty-nine and just married.
Joan Didion (Blue Nights)
To my right, which was to the North, there stood, very far away, the House of Silence, upon a low hill. And in that House were many lights, and no sound. And so had it been through an uncountable Eternity of Years.
William Hope Hodgson (The Night Land)
Man,” said a thoughtless, ungodly English traveller to a North American Indian convert, “Man, what is the reason that you make so much of Christ, and talk so much about Him? What has this Christ done for you, that you should make so much ado about Him?” The converted Indian did not answer him in words. He gathered together some dry leaves and moss and made a ring with them on the ground. He picked up a live worm and put it in the middle of the ring. He struck a light and set the moss and leaves on fire. The flame soon rose and the heat scorched the worm. It writhed in agony, and after trying in vain to escape on every side, curled itself up in the middle, as if about to die in despair. At that moment the Indian reached forth his hand, took up the worm gently and placed it on his bosom. “Stranger,” he said to the Englishman, “Do you see that worm? I was that perishing creature. I was dying in my sins, hopeless, helpless, and on the brink of eternal fire. It was Jesus Christ who put forth the arm of His power. It was Jesus Christ who delivered me with the hand of His grace, and plucked me from everlasting burnings. It was Jesus Christ who placed me, a poor sinful worm, near the heart of His love. Stranger, that is the reason why I talk of Jesus Christ and make much of Him. I am not ashamed of it, because I love Him.” If
J.C. Ryle (Holiness)
I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic — it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
John Taylor Gatto (Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling)
Then I thought of an English middle-distance runner from back in the day named Roger Bannister. When Bannister was trying to break the four-minute mile in the 1950s, experts told him it couldn’t be done, but that didn’t stop him. He failed again and again, but he persevered, and when he ran his historic mile in 3:59.4 on May 6, 1954, he didn’t just break a record, he broke open the floodgates simply by proving it possible. Six weeks later, his record was eclipsed, and by now over 1,000 runners have done what was once thought to be beyond human capability.
David Goggins (Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds)
Americanism in all its forms seemed to be trashy and wasteful and crude, even brutal. There was a metaphor ready to hand in my native Hampshire. Until some time after the war, the squirrels of England had been red. I can still vaguely remember these sweet Beatrix Potter–type creatures, smaller and prettier and more agile and lacking the rat-like features that disclose themselves when you get close to a gray squirrel. These latter riffraff, once imported from America by some kind of regrettable accident, had escaped from captivity and gradually massacred and driven out the more demure and refined English breed. It was said that the gray squirrels didn't fight fair and would with a raking motion of their back paws castrate the luckless red ones. Whatever the truth of that, the sighting of a native English squirrel was soon to be a rarity, confined to the north of Scotland and the Isle of Wight, and this seemed to be emblematic, for the anxious lower middle class, of a more general massification and de-gentrification and, well, Americanization of everything.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
And, so to tell more about the South Watcher. A million years gone, as I have told, came it out from the blackness of the South, and grew steadily nearer through twenty thousand years; but so slow that in no one year could a man perceive that it had moved.
William Hope Hodgson (The Night Land)
To the North-West I looked, and in the wide field of my glass, saw plain the bright glare of the fire from the Red Pit, shine upwards against the underside of the vast chin of the North-West Watcher—The Watching Thing of the North-West…. "That which hath Watched from the Beginning, and until the opening of the Gateway of Eternity" came into my thoughts, as I looked through the glass …
William Hope Hodgson (The Night Land)
I've been very influenced by folklore, fairy tales, and folk ballads, so I love all the classic works based on these things -- like George Macdonald's 19th century fairy stories, the fairy poetry of W.B. Yeats, and Sylvia Townsend Warner's splendid book The Kingdoms of Elfin. (I think that particular book of hers wasn't published until the 1970s, not long before her death, but she was an English writer popular in the middle decades of the 20th century.) I'm also a big Pre-Raphaelite fan, so I love William Morris' early fantasy novels. Oh, and "Lud-in-the-Mist" by Hope Mirrlees (Neil Gaiman is a big fan of that one too), and I could go on and on but I won't!
Terri Windling
As we have seen, French culture and language interacted with native English culture for several generations after the Norman Conquest. A common word such as 'castle' is a French loan word, for example; and the whole romance tradition comes from the French. But this sensibility, culture, and language becomes integrated with native culture. As well as the beginnings of what came to be called a courtly love tradition, we can find in Early Middle English (around the time that Layamon was writing Brut) the growth of a local tradition of songs and ballads.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
He was a poet who sometimes taught Free University classes or travelled in the western states of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, speaking to high school English classes, stunning middle-class boys and girls (he hoped) with the news that poetry was alive—narcoleptic, to be sure, but still possessed of a certain hideous vitality.
Stephen King (The Stand)
To Michael Soule's three C's-cores, carnivores, and corridors-Foreman added "three W's: wilderness, wildways, and my favorite word in the English language, wildeor, which is Middle English and means `self-willed animal.' The ancient people who saw animals as self-willed and the land as self-willed had respect for the earth.
Mary Ellen Hannibal (The Spine of the Continent: The Race to Save America's Last, Best Wilderness)
If the philosophy of the Middle Ages is based on the logic of Aristotle, their science can be traced rather to the Greek thought of pre-Aristotelian times. For authority it relied very largely on a single dialogue of Plato, to which may be added Latin translations of a small part of Hippocrates, and of his post-Christian successor and interpreter, Galen.
Owen Barfield (History in English Words)
Language is the medium of literature, and the state of the language at any time can hardly fail to carry literary consequences.
J.A. Burrow (Medieval Writers and Their Work: Middle English Literature and Its Background 1100-1500 (OPUS))
But inside itself, in the very sap of it, the tree (so to speak) never forgot that other tree in Narnia to which it belonged. Sometimes it would move mysteriously when there was no wind blowing: I think that when this happened there were high winds in Narnia and the English tree quivered.... However that might be, it was proved later that there was still magic in its wood. For when Digory was quite middle-aged...there was a great storm all over the south of England which blew the tree down. He couldn't bear to have it simply chopped up for firewood, so he had part of the timber made into a wardrobe, which he put in his big house in the country. And though he himself did not discover the magic properties of that wardrobe, someone else did....
C.S. Lewis (The Magician’s Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6))
We didn’t do anger in my family. We did ironic comment, snappy rejoinder, satirical elaboration; we did exact words forbidding a certain action, and more severe ones condemning what had already taken place. But for anything beyond this, we did the thing enjoined upon the English middle classes for generations. We internalised our rage, our anger, our contempt. We spoke words under our breath.
Julian Barnes (The Only Story)
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the NEXT. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
Historically, the language we call Scots was a development of the Anglian speech of the Northumbrians who established their kingdom of Bernicia as far north as the Firth of Forth in the seventh century. This northern Anglo-Saxon language flourished in Lowland Scotland and emerged into a distinct language on its own, capable of rich expansion by borrowing from Latin, French and other sources with its own grammatical forms and methods of borrowing. By the time of the Makars of the fifteenth century it was a highly sophisticated poetic language, based on the spoken speech of the people, but enriched by many kinds of expansion, invention and 'aureation'. Distinct from literary English, but having much in common with it, literary Scots took its place in the late Middle Ages as one of the great literary languages of Europe.
David Daiches (Literature and Gentility in Scotland)
And then, on the very borders of the Unknown Lands, there lay a range of low volcanoes, which lit up, far away in the outer darkness, the Black Hills, where shone the Seven Lights, which neither twinkled nor moved nor faltered through Eternity; and of which even the great spy-glass could make no understanding; nor had any adventurer from the Pyramid ever come back to tell us aught of them. And here let me say, that down in the Great Library of the Redoubt, were the histories of all those, with their discoveries, who had ventured out into the monstrousness of the Night Land, risking not the life only, but the spirit of life.
William Hope Hodgson (The Night Land)
Few had much room to cast stones, but hypocrisy has never failed the English middle class in any latitude, and they flung them in plenty with delighted, shocked abandon – rocks, boulders, limited in size only by fear for their husband’s advancement. Conciliating discretion had never been among Mrs Villiers’s qualities, and if subjects for malignant gossip had been wanting she would have provided them by the elephant-load.
Patrick O'Brian (HMS Surprise (Aubrey & Maturin, #3))
Middle-earth is ... not my own invention. It is a modernization or alteration ... of an old word for the inhabited world of Men, the oikoumene: middle because thought of vaguely as set amidst the encircling Seas and (in the northern-imagination) between ice of the North and the fire of the South. O. English middan-geard, mediaeval E. midden-erd, middle-erd. Many reviewers seem to assume that Middle-earth is another planet!
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien)
I think we've had rather too much dirt rather than not enough. That's not a prudish English remark, but a statement of saturation. These up-and-coming young men," she splutters. "Penelope Fitzgerald -- they think, 'Ah! Middle-aged lady with frizzy hair and a nice smile; she must be writing tastefully.' I say she's writing against taste, quite savagely. But they don't pick it up because they're brash young men poncing about, waving their blood and thunder and condoms!
A.S. Byatt
Reality is always separate from the ideal; but in Trinidad this fantasy is a form of masochism and is infinitely more cheating than the fantasy which makes the poor delight in films about rich or makes the English singer use and American accent.
V.S. Naipaul (The Middle Passage: The Caribbean Revisited)
For me to write, I need to work my way back out of one home, consider another, and find the no-man's-land in between. I need to go to one Andre, unwrite that Andre, choose the other Andre across the way, only then go looking for the middle Andre, whose voice will most likely approximate the voice of an Andre able to camouflage all telltale signs that English is not his mother tongue, but that neither is French, nor Italian, nor Arabic. Writing must almost have to fail - it must almost not succeed. If it goes well from the start, if I am in the groove, if I come home to writing, it's not the writing for me. I need to have lost the key and to find no replacement. Writing is not a homecoming. Writing is an alibi. Writing is a perpetual stammer of alibis.
André Aciman (Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere)
I was at the South-Eastern wall, and looking out through The Great Embrasure towards the Three Silver-fire Holes, that shone before the Thing That Nods, away down, far in the South-East. Southward of this, but nearer, there rose the vast bulk of the South-East Watcher—The Watching Thing of the South-East. And to the right and to the left of the squat monster burned the Torches; maybe half-a-mile upon each side; yet sufficient light they threw to show the lumbered-forward head of the never-sleeping Brute.
William Hope Hodgson (The Night Land)
The point is that you have here a direct, unmistakable assault on sanity and decency; and even - since some of Dali’s pictures would tend to poison the imagination like a pornographic postcard - on life itself. What Dali has done and what he has imagined is debatable, but in his outlook, his character, the bedrock decency of a human being does not exist. He is as anti-social as a flea. Clearly, such people are undesirable, and a society in which they can flourish has something wrong with it. Now, if you showed this book, with its illustrations, to Lord Elton, to Mr. Alfred Noyes, to The Times leader writers who exult over the “eclipse of the highbrow” - in fact, to any “sensible” art-hating English person - it is easy to imagine what kind of response you would get. They would flatly refuse to see any merit in Dali whatever. Such people are not only unable to admit that what is morally degraded can be æsthetically right, but their real demand of every artist is that he shall pat them on the back and tell them that thought is unnecessary. And they can be especially dangerous at a time like the present, when the Ministry of Information and the British Council put power into their hands. For their impulse is not only to crush every new talent as it appears, but to castrate the past as well. Witness the renewed highbrow-baiting that is now going on in this country and America, with its outcry not only against Joyce, Proust and Lawrence, but even against T. S. Eliot. But if you talk to the kind of person who can see Dali’s merits, the response that you get is not as a rule very much better. If you say that Dali, though a brilliant draughtsman, is a dirty little scoundrel, you are looked upon as a savage. If you say that you don’t like rotting corpses, and that people who do like rotting corpses are mentally diseased, it is assumed that you lack the æsthetic sense. Since “Mannequin rotting in a taxicab” is a good composition. And between these two fallacies there is no middle position, but we seldom hear much about it. On the one side Kulturbolschewismus: on the other (though the phrase itself is out of fashion) “Art for Art’s sake.” Obscenity is a very difficult question to discuss honestly. People are too frightened either of seeming to be shocked or of seeming not to be shocked, to be able to define the relationship between art and morals. It will be seen that what the defenders of Dali are claiming is a kind of benefit of clergy. The artist is to be exempt from the moral laws that are binding on ordinary people. Just pronounce the magic word “Art,” and everything is O.K.
George Orwell (Dickens, Dali And Others)
Did I ever tell you I went to school in America?" "What? No." "It's true,for a year. Eighth grade. It was terrible." "Eighth grade is terrible for everyone," I say. "Well,it was worse for me. My parents had just seperated,and my mum moved back to California.I hadn't been since I was an infant,but I went with her,and I was put in this horrid public school-" "Oh,no. Public school." He nudges me with his shoulder. "The other kids were ruthless. They made fun of everything about me-my height,my accent, the way I dressed.I vowed I'd never go back." "But American girls love English accents." I blurt this without thinking, and then pray he doesn't notice my blush. St. Clair picks up a pebble and tosses it into the river. "Not in middle school, they don't.Especially when it's attached to a bloke who comes up to their kneecaps." I laugh. "So when the year was over,my parents found a new school for me. I wanted to go back to London,where my mates were, but my father insisted on Paris so he could keep an eye on me. And that's how I would up at the School of America.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I forgot to say—a merely curious detail—that in one of the first chapters of Sartor Resartus, when speaking about garments, Carlyle says that the simplest garment he knows of was used by the cavalry of Bolivar in the South American war. And here we have a description of the poncho as “a blanket with a hole in the middle,” under which he imagines Bolivar’s cavalry soldier, he imagines him—simplifying it a bit—“mother naked,” as naked as when he came out of his mother’s belly, covered by the poncho, with only his sword and his spear.”25
Jorge Luis Borges (Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature)
In England in the 19th century, advances in printing methods, combined with the rise of a prosperous middle class, engendered a booming new industry of books published just for children. Casting about for cheap story material, English publishers laid hands on the subtle, sensual adult fairy tales of the Continental tradition and revised them into simpler stories instilled with Victorian values. Although these simplified versions retained much of the violence of the older stories, elements of sexuality and moral complexity were carefully scrubbed away — along with the fiesty heroines who appeared everywhere in the older tales, tamed now into models of Victorian propiety and passivity. In the 20th century, the Walt Disney Studios watered down the tales further still in popular animated films like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, continuing the trend of turning active heroines into powerless damsels in distress. Walt Disney considered even the Victorian versions of the tales too dark for 20th century audiences. "It's just that people now don't want fairy stories the way they were written," Disney commented. "They were too rough."
Terri Windling (Black Swan, White Raven)
Why did you come to the United States?' That's the first question on the intake questionnaire for unaccompanied child migrants. The questionnaire is used in the federal immigration court in New York City where I started working as a volunteer interpreter in 2015. My task there is a simple one: I interview children, following the intake questionnaire, and then translate their stories from Spanish to English. But nothing is ever that simple. I hear words, spoken in the mouths of children, threaded in complex narratives. They are delivered with hesitance, sometimes distrust, always with fear. I have to transform them into written words, succinct sentences, and barren terms. The children's stories are always shuffled, stuttered, always shattered beyond the repair of a narrative order. The problem with trying to tell their story is that it has no beginning, no middle, and no end.
Valeria Luiselli (Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions)
The graph, unsurprisingly, reveals that differences across the world’s culture zones are substantial. The Protestant countries of Western Europe, such as the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom, are the world’s most liberal, followed by the United States and other wealthy English-speaking countries, then Catholic and Southern Europe, then the former Communist countries of central Europe. Latin America, the industrialized countries of East Asia, and the former republics of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are more socially conservative, followed by South and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The world’s most illiberal region is the Islamic Middle East.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
For they have a way of teaching languages in Germany that is not our way, and the consequence is that when the German youth or maiden leaves the gymnasium or high school at fifteen, “it” (as in Germany one conveniently may say) can understand and speak the tongue it has been learning. In England we have a method that for obtaining the least possible result at the greatest possible expenditure of time and money is perhaps unequalled. An English boy who has been through a good middle-class school in England can talk to a Frenchman, slowly and with difficulty, about female gardeners and aunts; conversation which, to a man possessed perhaps of neither, is liable to pall. Possibly,
Jerome K. Jerome (Complete Works of Jerome K. Jerome)
The Silmarils are Eorclanstánas (also treated as an Old English noun with plural Silmarillas). There are several different forms of this Old English word: eorclan-, eorcnan-, and eorcan- from which is derived the 'Arkenstone' of the Lonely Mountain. The first element may be related to Gothic airkns, 'holy'. With middangeard line 37 cf. my father's note in Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings, in A Tolkien Compass, p. 189: 'The sense is ''the inhabited lands of (Elves and) Men'', envisaged as lying between the Western Sea and that of the Far East (only known in the West by rumour). Middle-Earth is a modern alteration of medieval middel-erde from Old English middan-geard'.
Christopher Tolkien (The Shaping of Middle-Earth (The History of Middle-Earth #4))
Pilchard begins his long run in from short stump. He bowls and … oh, he’s out! Yes, he’s got him. Longwilley is caught leg-before in middle slops by Grattan. Well, now what do you make of that, Neville?’ ‘That’s definitely one for the books, Bruce. I don’t think I’ve seen offside medium slow fast pace bowling to match it since Baden-Powell took Rangachangabanga for a maiden ovary at Bangalore in 1948.’ I had stumbled into the surreal and rewarding world of cricket on the radio. After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind) I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn’t fix in a hurry. It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavours look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. I don’t wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players (more if they are moderately restless). It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.
Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country)
Published mathematical papers often have irritating assertions of the type: “It now follows that…,” or: “It is now obvious that…,” when it doesn't follow, and isn't obvious at all, unless you put in the six hours the author did to supply the missing steps and checking them. There is a story about the English mathematician G.H. Hardy, whom we shall meet later. In the middle of delivering a lecture, Hardy arrived at a point in his argument where he said, “It is now obvious that….” Here he stopped, fell silent, and stood motionless with furrowed brow for a few seconds. Then he walked out of the lecture hall. Twenty minutes later he returned, smiling, and began, “Yes, it is obvious that….” If he
John Derbyshire (Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics)
The school was in central London, and each day we travelled up to it from our separate boroughs, passing from one system of control to another. Back then, things were plainer: less money, no electronic devices, little fashion tyranny, no girlfriends. There was nothing to distract us from our human and filial duty, which was to study, pass exams, use those qualifications to find a job, and then put together a way of life unthreateningly fuller than that of our parents, who would approve, while privately comparing it to their own earlier lives, which had been simpler, and therefore superior. None of this, of course, was ever stated: the genteel social Darwinism of the English middle classes always remained implicit.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recalls that the stories she wrote as a seven year old in Nigeria were based on the kinds of stories she read, featuring characters who were white and blue eyed, they played in the snow, the ate apples. According to Adichie, this wasn´t just about experimentation or an active imagination, because all I had read were books in which characters were foreign, I had become convinced that books by their very nature had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things with which I could not personally identify. We learn so many things from reading stories, including the conventions of stories such as good versus evil, confronting our fears and that danger often lurks in the woods. The problem is that, when one of these conventions is that children in stories are white, english and middle class, than you may come to learn that your own life does not qualify as subject material. Adichie describes this as "The danger of a single story" a danger that extends to stories which, whilst appearing to be diverse, rely on stereotypes and thus limit the imagination
Darren Chetty (The Good Immigrant)
There arose in the aftermath of this battle the strangest and most beautiful legend of the war. It was said that, when the British peril was at its height, a majestic figure had appeared high in the sky with arm upraised. Some said it had been pointing to victory, others that it held back the Germans as the Tommies got away. It came to be known as the Angel of Mons. Even more colorful was the simultaneous legend of the Archers of Agincourt. In the late Middle Ages at Agincourt—not a great distance from Mons—English yeomen armed with longbows had won a great victory over a much bigger force of mounted and armored French knights. Four hundred and ninety-nine years later there were stories of German soldiers found dead at Mons with arrows through their bodies.
G.J. Meyer (A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918)
For some hippies, this vision could only be realised by rejecting scientific progress as a false God and returning to nature. Others, in contrast, believed that technological progress would inevitably turn their libertarian principles into social fact. Crucially, influenced by the theories of Marshall McLuhan, these technophiliacs thought that the convergence of media, computing and telecommunications would inevitably create the electronic agora - a virtual place where everyone would be able to express their opinions without fear of censorship. Despite being a middle-aged English professor, McLuhan preached the radical message that the power of big business and big government would be imminently overthrown by the intrinsically empowering effects of new technology on individuals.
Richard Barbrook
I went back to de Tocqueville. After studying the French Revolution, he wrote that revolts tend to start not in places where conditions are worst, but in places where expectations are most unmet. So if you’ve been raised to believe your life will unfold a certain way—say, with a steady union job that doesn’t require a college degree but does provide a middle-class income, with traditional gender roles intact and everyone speaking English—and then things don’t work out the way you expected, that’s when you get angry. It’s about loss. It’s about the sense that the future is going to be harder than the past. Fundamentally, I believe that the despair we saw in so many parts of America in 2016 grew out of the same problems that Lee Atwater and I were worried about twenty-five years ago.
Hillary Rodham Clinton (What Happened)
Modern Our Father, who is in heaven, blessed be your name. Give us our daily bread today. All three of these languages were rich, beautiful systems. There are no dogs to be seen. Middle English, the language of Chaucer, does not give the impression of being a “bastardization” of Old English or an example of “Old English in decay.” It was simply a new English of its own, the product of the gradual transformation of Old English, a transformation barely perceptible to Old English speakers themselves but visible to us by looking at texts over time. Similarly, Modern English, the language of Jane Austen, is surely not “bad” Middle English, but a new English in its own right. In other words, the progression from Old to Middle to Modem English shows us that contrary to the impression so easy
John McWhorter (Word On The Street: Debunking The Myth Of A Pure Standard English)
When we recall the great influence which Spenser's poetry has exerted on English poets who have lived and written since his day, we can clearly see how the two kinds of Platonism - a direct Platonism, and a Platonism long ago transmuted and worked right down into the emotions of common people by the passionate Christianity of the Dark and Middle Ages - combined to beget the infinite suggestiveness which is now contained in such words as 'love' and 'beauty'. Let us remember, then, that every time we abuse these terms, or use them too lightly, we are draining them of their power; every time a society journalist or a film producer exploits this vast suggestiveness to tickle a vanity or dignify a lust, he is squandering a great pile of spiritual capital which has been laid up by centuries of weary effort.
Owen Barfield (History in English Words)
The hours I spent in this anachronistic, bibliophile, Anglophile retreat were in surreal contrast to the shrieking horror show that was being enacted in the rest of the city. I never felt this more acutely than when, having maneuvered the old boy down the spiral staircase for a rare out-of-doors lunch the next day—terrified of letting him slip and tumble—I got him back upstairs again. He invited me back for even more readings the following morning but I had to decline. I pleaded truthfully that I was booked on a plane for Chile. 'I am so sorry,' said this courteous old genius. 'But may I then offer you a gift in return for your company?' I naturally protested with all the energy of an English middle-class upbringing: couldn't hear of such a thing; pleasure and privilege all mine; no question of accepting any present. He stilled my burblings with an upraised finger. 'You will remember,' he said, 'the lines I will now speak. You will always remember them.' And he then recited the following: What man has bent o'er his son's sleep, to brood How that face shall watch his when cold it lies? Or thought, as his own mother kissed his eyes, Of what her kiss was when his father wooed? The title (Sonnet XXIX of Dante Gabriel Rossetti)—'Inclusiveness'—may sound a trifle sickly but the enfolded thought recurred to me more than once after I became a father and Borges was quite right: I have never had to remind myself of the words. I was mumbling my thanks when he said, again with utter composure: 'While you are in Chile do you plan a call on General Pinochet?' I replied with what I hoped was equivalent aplomb that I had no such intention. 'A pity,' came the response. 'He is a true gentleman. He was recently kind enough to award me a literary prize.' It wasn't the ideal note on which to bid Borges farewell, but it was an excellent illustration of something else I was becoming used to noticing—that in contrast or corollary to what Colin MacCabe had said to me in Lisbon, sometimes it was also the right people who took the wrong line.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Suffice it to say I was compelled to create this group in order to find everyone who is, let's say, borrowing liberally from my INESTIMABLE FOLIO OF CANONICAL MASTERPIECES (sorry, I just do that sometimes), and get you all together. It's the least I could do. I mean, seriously. Those soliloquies in Moby-Dick? Sooo Hamlet and/or Othello, with maybe a little Shylock thrown in. Everyone from Pip in Great Expectations to freakin' Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre mentions my plays, sometimes completely mangling my words in nineteenth-century middle-American dialect for humorous effect (thank you, Sir Clemens). Many people (cough Virginia Woolf cough) just quote me over and over again without attribution. I hear James Joyce even devoted a chapter of his giant novel to something called the "Hamlet theory," though do you have some sort of newfangled English? It looks like gobbledygook to me. The only people who don't seek me out are like Chaucer and Dante and those ancient Greeks. For whatever reason. And then there are the titles. The Sound and the Fury? Mine. Infinite Jest? Mine. Proust, Nabokov, Steinbeck, and Agatha Christie all have titles that are me-inspired. Brave New World? Not just the title, but half the plot has to do with my work. Even Edgar Allan Poe named a character after my Tempest's Prospero (though, not surprisingly, things didn't turn out well for him!). I'm like the star to every wandering bark, the arrow of every compass, the buzzard to every hawk and gillyflower ... oh, I don't even know what I'm talking about half the time. I just run with it, creating some of the SEMINAL TOURS DE FORCE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. You're welcome.
Sarah Schmelling (Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook)
Female prophecy must be situated in the crisis of reproduction in the middle of the seventeenth century. This was the peak period for the criminalization of women in England and throughout Europe, as prosecutions for infanticide, abortion, and witchcraft reached their highest rate. It was also the period in which men began to wrest control of reproduction from women (male midwives appeared in 1625 and forceps soon thereafter); previously, "childbirth and the lying-in period were a kind of ritual collectively staged and controlled by women, from which men were usually excluded." Since the ruling class had begun to recognize its interest in increased fecundity, "attention was focussed on the 'population' as fundamental category for economic and political analysis." The simultaneous births of modern obstetrics and modern demography were responses to this crisis. Both, like the witchcraft prosecutions, sought to rationalize social reproduction in a capitalist context - that is, as the breeding of labor power. A recurring motif in the ruling-class imagination was intercourse between the English witch and the "black man" - a devil or imp. The terror was not limited to an imaginary chamber of horrors; it was an actuality of counterevolution.
Peter Linebaugh (The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic)
The beliefs and behaviour of the Restoration reflect the theories of society put forward by Thomas Hobbes in The Leviathan, which was written in exile in Paris and published in 1651. Like many texts of the time, The Leviathan is an allegory. It recalls mediaeval rather than Renaissance thinking. The leviathan is the Commonwealth, society as a total organism, in which the individual is the absolute subject of state control, represented by the monarch. Man - motivated by self-interest - is acquisitive and lacks codes of behaviour. Hence the necessity for a strong controlling state, 'an artificial man', to keep discord at bay. Self-interest and stability become the keynotes of British society after 1660, the voice of the new middle-class bourgeoisie making itself heard more and more in the expression of values, ideals, and ethics.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Speaking to a foreigner was the dream of every student, and my opportunity came at last. When I got back from my trip down the Yangtze, I learned that my year was being sent in October to a port in the south called Zhanjiang to practice our English with foreign sailors. I was thrilled. Zhanjiang was about 75 miles from Chengdu, a journey of two days and two nights by rail. It was the southernmost large port in China, and quite near the Vietnamese border. It felt like a foreign country, with turn-of-the-century colonial-style buildings, pastiche Romanesque arches, rose windows, and large verandas with colorful parasols. The local people spoke Cantonese, which was almost a foreign language. The air smelled of the unfamiliar sea, exotic tropical vegetation, and an altogether bigger world. But my excitement at being there was constantly doused by frustration. We were accompanied by a political supervisor and three lecturers, who decided that, although we were staying only a mile from the sea, we were not to be allowed anywhere near it. The harbor itself was closed to outsiders, for fear of 'sabotage' or defection. We were told that a student from Guangzhou had managed to stow away once in a cargo steamer, not realizing that the hold would be sealed for weeks, by which time he had perished. We had to restrict our movements to a clearly defined area of a few blocks around our residence. Regulations like these were part of our daily life, but they never failed to infuriate me. One day I was seized by an absolute compulsion to get out. I faked illness and got permission to go to a hospital in the middle of the city. I wandered the streets desperately trying to spot the sea, without success. The local people were unhelpful: they did not like non-Cantonese speakers, and refused to understand me. We stayed in the port for three weeks, and only once were we allowed, as a special treat, to go to an island to see the ocean. As the point of being there was to talk to the sailors, we were organized into small groups to take turns working in the two places they were allowed to frequent: the Friendship Store, which sold goods for hard currency, and the Sailors' Club, which had a bar, a restaurant, a billiards room, and a ping-pong room. There were strict rules about how we could talk to the sailors. We were not allowed to speak to them alone, except for brief exchanges over the counter of the Friendship Store. If we were asked our names and addresses, under no circumstances were we to give our real ones. We all prepared a false name and a nonexistent address. After every conversation, we had to write a detailed report of what had been said which was standard practice for anyone who had contact with foreigners. We were warned over and over again about the importance of observing 'discipline in foreign contacts' (she waifi-lu). Otherwise, we were told, not only would we get into serious trouble, other students would be banned from coming.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Have you heard the songs they sing here in Kilanga?” he asked. “They’re very worshipful. It’s a grand way to begin a church service, singing a Congolese hymn to the rainfall on the seed yams. It’s quite easy to move from there to the parable of the mustard seed. Many parts of the Bible make good sense here, if only you change a few words.” He laughed. “And a lot of whole chapters, sure, you just have to throw away.” “Well, it’s every bit God’s word, isn’t it?” Leah said. “God’s word, brought to you by a crew of romantic idealists in a harsh desert culture eons ago, followed by a chain of translators two thousand years long." Leah stared at him. “Darling, did you think God wrote it all down in the English of King James himself?” “No, I guess not.” “Think of all the duties that were perfectly obvious to Paul or Matthew in that old Arabian desert that are pure nonsense to us now. All that foot washing, for example. Was it really for God’s glory, or just to keep the sand out of the house?” Leah sat narrow-eyed in her chair, for once stumped for the correct answer. “Oh, and the camel. Was it a camel that could pass through the eye of a needle more easily than a rich man? Or a coarse piece of yarn? The Hebrew words are the same, but which one did they mean? If it’s a camel, the rich man might as well not even try. But if it’s the yarn, he might well succeed with a lot of effort, you see?” He leaned forward toward Leah with his hands on his knees. “Och, I shouldn’t be messing about with your thinking this way, with your father out in the garden. But I’ll tell you a secret. “When I want to take God at his word exactly, I take a peep out the window at His Creation. Because that, darling, He makes fresh for us every day, without a lot of dubious middle managers.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible)
In the end it comes down to two rival versions of the English middle afternoon. Post-Barrett, Pink Floyd kept on in a middle-afternoonish vein, but they fell in love with the idea of portentous storm clouds in the offing somewhere over Grantchester....Barrett's afternoonishness was far more supple and engaging. It superimposed the hippie cult of eternal solstice on the pre-teatime daydreams of one's childhood, occasioned by a slick of sunlight on a chest of drawers....His afternoonishness is lit by an importunate adult intelligence that can't quite get back to the place it longs to be....Barrett created the same precocious longing in adolescents. "I remember 'See Emily Play' drifting across a school corridor in 1967...and I remember the powerful wish to stay suspended indefinitely in that music...I also remember the quasi-adult intimation that this wasn't possible. [from the London Review of Books for January 2, 2003]
Jeremy Harding
Aomame knew that he worked for a corporation connected with oil. He was a specialist on capital investment in a number of Middle Eastern countries. According to the information she had been given, he was one of the more capable men in the field. She could see it in the way he carried himself. He came from a good family, earned a sizable income, and drove a new Jaguar. After a pampered childhood, he had gone to study abroad, spoke good English and French, and exuded self-confidence. He was the type who could not bear to be told what to do, or to be criticized, especially if the criticism came from a woman. He had no difficulty bossing others around, though, and cracking a few of his wife’s ribs with a golf club was no problem at all. As far as he was concerned, the world revolved around him, and without him the earth didn’t move at all. He could become furious—violently angry—if anyone interfered with what he was doing or contradicted him in any way.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (Vintage International))
This is an important list at the heart of phonics instruction. It alphabetically lists 99 single phonemes (speech sounds) and consonant blends (usually two phonemes), and it gives example words for each of these; often for their use in the beginning, middle, and end of words. These example words are also common English words, many taken from the list of Instant Words. This list solves the problem of coming up with a good common word to illustrate a phonics principle for lessons and worksheets.
Edward B. Fry (The Reading Teacher's Book Of Lists (J-B Ed: Book of Lists 67))
It seems obvious that throughout history, as one of the few professions open to women, midwifery must have attracted women of unusual intelligence, competence, and self-respect§. While acknowledging that many remedies used by the witches were “purely magical” and worked, if at all, by suggestion, Ehrenreich and English point out an important distinction between the witch-healer and the medical man of the late Middle Ages: . . . the witch was an empiricist; She relied on her senses rather than on faith or doctrine, she believed in trial and error, cause and effect. Her attitude was not religiously passive, but actively inquiring. She trusted her ability to find ways to deal with disease, pregnancy and childbirth—whether through medication or charms. In short, her magic was the science of her time. By contrast: There was nothing in late mediaeval medical training that conflicted with church doctrine, and little that we would recognize as “science”. Medical students . . . spent years studying Plato, Aristotle and Christian theology. . . . While a student, a doctor rarely saw any patients at all, and no experimentation of any kind was taught. . . . Confronted with a sick person, the university-trained physician had little to go on but superstition. . . . Such was the state of medical “science” at the time when witch-healers were persecuted for being practitioners of “magic”.15 Since asepsis and the transmission of disease through bacteria and unwashed hands was utterly unknown until the latter part of the nineteenth century, dirt was a presence in any medical situation—real dirt, not the misogynistic dirt associated by males with the female body. The midwife, who attended only women in labor, carried fewer disease bacteria with her than the physician.
Adrienne Rich (Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution)
Dennis White has asked me to write a letter recommending him to the Emanuel Lutheran Seminary (Master of Divinity Program), and I am happy to grant his modest request. Four years ago Mr. White enrolled as a dewy-eyed freshman in one of my introductory literature courses (Cross-cultural Readings in English, or some such dumping ground of a title); he returned several years later for another dose of instruction, this time in the Junior/Senior Creative Writing Workshop—a particularly memorable collection of students given their shared enthusiasm for all things monstrous and demonic, nearly every story turned in for discussion involving vampires, werewolves, victims tumbling into sepulchers, and other excuses for bloodletting. I leave it to professionals in your line of work to pass judgment on this maudlin reveling in violence. A cry for help of some sort? A lack of faith — given the daily onslaught of news about melting ice caps, hunger, joblessness, war — in the validity or existence of a future? Now in my middle fifties, an irrelevant codger, I find it discomfiting to see this generation dancing to the music of apocalypse and carrying their psychic burdens in front of them like infants in arms.
Julie Schumacher (Dear Committee Members)
The dominant literary mode of the twentieth century has been the fantastic. This may appear a surprising claim, which would not have seemed even remotely conceivable at the start of the century and which is bound to encounter fierce resistance even now. However, when the time comes to look back at the century, it seems very likely that future literary historians, detached from the squabbles of our present, will see as its most representative and distinctive works books like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and also George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle, Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot-49 and Gravity’s Rainbow. The list could readily be extended, back to the late nineteenth century with H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr Moreau and The War of the Worlds, and up to writers currently active like Stephen R. Donaldson and George R.R. Martin. It could take in authors as different, not to say opposed, as Kingsley and Martin Amis, Anthony Burgess, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Don DeLillo, and Julian Barnes. By the end of the century, even authors deeply committed to the realist novel have often found themselves unable to resist the gravitational pull of the fantastic as a literary mode. This is not the same, one should note, as fantasy as a literary genre – of the authors listed above, only four besides Tolkien would find their works regularly placed on the ‘fantasy’ shelves of bookshops, and ‘the fantastic’ includes many genres besides fantasy: allegory and parable, fairy-tale, horror and science fiction, modern ghost-story and medieval romance. Nevertheless, the point remains. Those authors of the twentieth century who have spoken most powerfully to and for their contemporaries have for some reason found it necessary to use the metaphoric mode of fantasy, to write about worlds and creatures which we know do not exist, whether Tolkien’s ‘Middle-earth’, Orwell’s ‘Ingsoc’, the remote islands of Golding and Wells, or the Martians and Tralfa-madorians who burst into peaceful English or American suburbia in Wells and Vonnegut. A ready explanation for this phenomenon is of course that it represents a kind of literary disease, whose sufferers – the millions of readers of fantasy – should be scorned, pitied, or rehabilitated back to correct and proper taste. Commonly the disease is said to be ‘escapism’: readers and writers of fantasy are fleeing from reality. The problem with this is that so many of the originators of the later twentieth-century fantastic mode, including all four of those first mentioned above (Tolkien, Orwell, Golding, Vonnegut) are combat veterans, present at or at least deeply involved in the most traumatically significant events of the century, such as the Battle of the Somme (Tolkien), the bombing of Dresden (Vonnegut), the rise and early victory of fascism (Orwell). Nor can anyone say that they turned their backs on these events. Rather, they had to find some way of communicating and commenting on them. It is strange that this had, for some reason, in so many cases to involve fantasy as well as realism, but that is what has happened.
Tom Shippey (J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century)
After four or five months of reading Hemingway, I decided to write a story. I had in the past written stories for English classes. These had all been about white people, because white people’s stories seemed to matter more. Also, I hadn’t known how to write about Indians. How would I translate the various family relations, the difference between an uncle who is a father’s brother and an uncle who is a mother’s brother? Having read Hemingway, I knew that I should just push all the exotic things to the side as if they didn’t matter, that this was how one used exoticism—by not bothering to explain. The first story I wrote was about my brother coughing. I woke one night to the sound of Birju coughing downstairs and then could not go back to sleep. To be woken this way and not be able to return to sleep struck me as sad enough to merit a reader’s attention. Also, Hemingway had written a story about a man being woken because somebody is dying nearby, and the man is forced to witness the death. I got up from my bed and turned on the light. I then returned to bed with a spiral-bound notebook and placed it against my knees. I began my story in the middle of the action the way Hemingway did. I wrote: The coughing wakes me. My wife coughs and coughs, and then when her throat is clear, she moans. The nurse’s aide moves back and forth downstairs. The hospital bed jingles. I wrote that it was a spouse coughing because that seemed something a reader could identify with, while a brother would be too specific to me. I lie here, listening to my wife cough, and it is hard to believe that she is dying. It was strange to write something down and for that thing to come into existence. The fact that the sentence existed made Birju’s coughing somehow less awful. As I sat on my bed, I thought about how I could end my story. I held my pencil above the sheet of paper. According to the essays I had read on Hemingway, all I needed to do was attach something to the end of the story that was both unexpected and natural. I imagined Birju dying; this had to be what would eventually happen. As soon as I imagined this, I did not want him gone. I felt a surge of love for Birju. Even though he was sick and swollen, I did not want him gone. I wrote: I lie in my bed and listen to her cough and am glad she is coughing because this means she is alive. Soon she will die, and I will no longer be among the lucky people whose wives are sick. Fortunate are the men whose wives cough. Fortunate are the men who cannot sleep through the night because their wives’ coughing wakes them.
Akhil Sharma (Family Life)
The Restoration did not so much restore as replace. In restoring the monarchy with King Charles II, it replaced Cromwell's Commonwealth and its Puritan ethos with an almost powerless monarch whose tastes had been formed in France. It replaced the power of the monarchy with the power of a parliamentary system - which was to develop into the two parties, Whigs and Tories - with most of the executive power in the hands of the Prime Minister. Both parties benefited from a system which encouraged social stability rather than opposition. Above all, in systems of thought, the Restoration replaced the probing, exploring, risk-taking intellectual values of the Renaissance. It relied on reason and on facts rather than on speculation. So, in the decades between 1660 and 1700, the basis was set for the growth of a new kind of society. This society was Protestant (apart from the brief reign of the Catholic King James II, 1685-88), middle class, and unthreatened by any repetition of the huge and traumatic upheavals of the first part of the seventeenth century. It is symptomatic that the overthrow of James II in 1688 was called The 'Glorious' or 'Bloodless' Revolution. The 'fever in the blood' which the Renaissance had allowed was now to be contained, subject to reason, and kept under control. With only the brief outburst of Jacobin revolutionary sentiment at the time of the Romantic poets, this was to be the political context in the United Kingdom for two centuries or more. In this context, the concentration of society was on commerce, on respectability, and on institutions. The 'genius of the nation' led to the founding of the Royal Society in 1662 - 'for the improving of Natural Knowledge'. The Royal Society represents the trend towards the institutionalisation of scientific investigation and research in this period. The other highly significant institution, one which was to have considerably more importance in the future, was the Bank of England, founded in 1694.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Why can't we sit together? What's the point of seat reservations,anyway? The bored woman calls my section next,and I think terrible thoughts about her as she slides my ticket through her machine. At least I have a window seat. The middle and aisle are occupied with more businessmen. I'm reaching for my book again-it's going to be a long flight-when a polite English accent speaks to the man beside me. "Pardon me,but I wonder if you wouldn't mind switching seats.You see,that's my girlfriend there,and she's pregnant. And since she gets a bit ill on airplanes,I thought she might need someone to hold back her hair when...well..." St. Clair holds up the courtesy barf bag and shakes it around. The paper crinkles dramatically. The man sprints off the seat as my face flames. His pregnant girlfriend? "Thank you.I was in forty-five G." He slides into the vacated chair and waits for the man to disappear before speaking again. The guy onhis other side stares at us in horror,but St. Clair doesn't care. "They had me next to some horrible couple in matching Hawaiian shirts. There's no reason to suffer this flight alone when we can suffer it together." "That's flattering,thanks." But I laugh,and he looks pleased-until takeoff, when he claws the armrest and turns a color disturbingy similar to key lime pie. I distract him with a story about the time I broke my arm playing Peter Pan. It turned out there was more to flying than thinking happy thoughts and jumping out a window. St. Clair relaxes once we're above the clouds. Time passes quickly for an eight-hour flight. We don't talk about what waits on the other side of the ocean. Not his mother. Not Toph.Instead,we browse Skymall. We play the if-you-had-to-buy-one-thing-off-each-page game. He laughs when I choose the hot-dog toaster, and I tease him about the fogless shower mirror and the world's largest crossword puzzle. "At least they're practical," he says. "What are you gonna do with a giant crossword poster? 'Oh,I'm sorry Anna. I can't go to the movies tonight. I'm working on two thousand across, Norwegian Birdcall." "At least I'm not buying a Large Plastic Rock for hiding "unsightly utility posts.' You realize you have no lawn?" "I could hide other stuff.Like...failed French tests.Or illegal moonshining equipment." He doubles over with that wonderful boyish laughter, and I grin. "But what will you do with a motorized swimming-pool snack float?" "Use it in the bathtub." He wipes a tear from his cheek. "Ooo,look! A Mount Rushmore garden statue. Just what you need,Anna.And only forty dollars! A bargain!" We get stumped on the page of golfing accessories, so we switch to drawing rude pictures of the other people on the plane,followed by rude pictures of Euro Disney Guy. St. Clair's eyes glint as he sketches the man falling down the Pantheon's spiral staircase. There's a lot of blood. And Mickey Mouse ears. After a few hours,he grows sleepy.His head sinks against my shoulder. I don't dare move.The sun is coming up,and the sky is pink and orange and makes me think of sherbet.I siff his hair. Not out of weirdness.It's just...there. He must have woken earlier than I thought,because it smells shower-fresh. Clean. Healthy.Mmm.I doze in and out of a peaceful dream,and the next thing I know,the captain's voice is crackling over the airplane.We're here. I'm home.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Ottawa, Ontario July 1, 2017 The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Canada Day: Today, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. We come together as Canadians to celebrate the achievements of our great country, reflect on our past and present, and look boldly toward our future. Canada’s story stretches back long before Confederation, to the first people who worked, loved, and built their lives here, and to those who came here centuries later in search of a better life for their families. In 1867, the vision of Sir George-Étienne Cartier and Sir John A. Macdonald, among others, gave rise to Confederation – an early union, and one of the moments that have come to define Canada. In the 150 years since, we have continued to grow and define ourselves as a country. We fought valiantly in two world wars, built the infrastructure that would connect us, and enshrined our dearest values – equality, diversity, freedom of the individual, and two official languages – in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These moments, and many others, shaped Canada into the extraordinary country it is today – prosperous, generous, and proud. At the heart of Canada’s story are millions of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. They exemplify what it means to be Canadian: ambitious aspirations, leadership driven by compassion, and the courage to dream boldly. Whether we were born here or have chosen Canada as our home, this is who we are. Ours is a land of Indigenous Peoples, settlers, and newcomers, and our diversity has always been at the core of our success. Canada’s history is built on countless instances of people uniting across their differences to work and thrive together. We express ourselves in French, English, and hundreds of other languages, we practice many faiths, we experience life through different cultures, and yet we are one country. Today, as has been the case for centuries, we are strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them. As we mark Canada 150, we also recognize that for many, today is not an occasion for celebration. Indigenous Peoples in this country have faced oppression for centuries. As a society, we must acknowledge and apologize for past wrongs, and chart a path forward for the next 150 years – one in which we continue to build our nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationship with the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation. Our efforts toward reconciliation reflect a deep Canadian tradition – the belief that better is always possible. Our job now is to ensure every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success. We must create the right conditions so that the middle class, and those working hard to join it, can build a better life for themselves and their families. Great promise and responsibility await Canada. As we look ahead to the next 150 years, we will continue to rise to the most pressing challenges we face, climate change among the first ones. We will meet these challenges the way we always have – with hard work, determination, and hope. On the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we celebrate the millions of Canadians who have come together to make our country the strong, prosperous, and open place it is today. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Canada Day.
Justin Trudeau
What has made them turn away from their direction of prayer which they used to face?’ Say, ‘The East and the West belong to God. He guides whom He pleases to the right path.’ 143 Thus We have made you a middle nation, so that you may act as witnesses for mankind, and the Messenger may be a witness for you. We decreed your former prayer direction towards which you used to face only in order that We might make a clear distinction between the Messenger’s true followers and those who were to turn their backs on him. This was indeed a hard test for all but those whom God has guided. God will never let your faith go to waste. God is compassionate and merciful to mankind. 144 We have frequently seen you turn your face towards heaven. So We will make you turn in a direction for prayer that will please you. So turn your face now towards the Sacred Mosque: and wherever you may be, turn your faces towards it. Those who were given the Book know this to be the truth from their Lord. God is not unaware of what they do. 145 But even if you should produce every kind of sign for those who have been given the Book, they would never accept your prayer direction, nor would you accept their prayer direction: nor would any of them accept one another’s direction.
Anonymous (The Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword))
The imperialist found it useful to incorporate the credible and seemingly unimpeachable wisdom of science to create a racial classification to be used in the appropriation and organization of lesser cultures. The works of Carolus Linnaeus, Georges Buffon, and Georges Cuvier, organized races in terms of a civilized us and a paradigmatic other. The other was uncivilized, barbaric, and wholly lower than the advanced races of Europe. This paradigm of imaginatively constructing a world predicated upon race was grounded in science, and expressed as philosophical axioms by John Locke and David Hume, offered compelling justification that Europe always ought to rule non-Europeans. This doctrine of cultural superiority had a direct bearing on Zionist practice and vision in Palestine. A civilized man, it was believed, could cultivate the land because it meant something to him; on it, accordingly, he produced useful arts and crafts, he created, he accomplished, he built. For uncivilized people, land was either farmed badly or it was left to rot. This was imperialism as theory and colonialism was the practice of changing the uselessly unoccupied territories of the world into useful new versions of Europe. It was this epistemic framework that shaped and informed Zionist attitudes towards the Arab Palestinian natives. This is the intellectual background that Zionism emerged from. Zionism saw Palestine through the same prism as the European did, as an empty territory paradoxically filled with ignoble or, better yet, dispensable natives. It allied itself, as Chaim Weizmann said, with the imperial powers in carrying out its plans for establishing a Jewish state in Palestine. The so-called natives did not take well to the idea of Jewish colonizers in Palestine. As the Zionist historians, Yehoshua Porath and Neville Mandel, have empirically shown, the ideas of Jewish colonizers in Palestine, this was well before World War I, were always met with resistance, not because the natives thought Jews were evil, but because most natives do not take kindly to having their territory settled by foreigners. Zionism not only accepted the unflattering and generic concepts of European culture, it also banked on the fact that Palestine was actually populated not by an advanced civilization, but by a backward people, over which it ought to be dominated. Zionism, therefore, developed with a unique consciousness of itself, but with little or nothing left over for the unfortunate natives. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if Palestine had been occupied by one of the well-established industrialized nations that ruled the world, then the problem of displacing German, French, or English inhabitants and introducing a new, nationally coherent element into the middle of their homeland would have been in the forefront of the consciousness of even the most ignorant and destitute Zionists. In short, all the constitutive energies of Zionism were premised on the excluded presence, that is, the functional absence of native people in Palestine; institutions were built deliberately shutting out the natives, laws were drafted when Israel came into being that made sure the natives would remain in their non-place, Jews in theirs, and so on. It is no wonder that today the one issue that electrifies Israel as a society is the problem of the Palestinians, whose negation is the consistent thread running through Zionism. And it is this perhaps unfortunate aspect of Zionism that ties it ineluctably to imperialism- at least so far as the Palestinian is concerned. In conclusion, I cannot affirm that Zionism is colonialism, but I can tell you the process by which Zionism flourished; the dialectic under which it became a reality was heavily influenced by the imperialist mindset of Europe. Thank you. -Fictional debate between Edward Said and Abba Eban.
R.F. Georgy (Absolution: A Palestinian Israeli Love Story)
Globalization has shipped products at a faster rate than anything else; it’s moved English into schools all over the world so that now there is Dutch English and Filipino English and Japanese English. But the ideologies stay in their places. They do not spread like the swine flu, or through sexual contact. They spread through books and films and things of that nature. The dictatorships of Latin America used to ban books, they used to burn them, just like Franco did, like Pope Gregory IX and Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Now they don’t have to because the best place to hide ideologies is in books. The dictatorships are mostly gone—Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay. The military juntas. Our ideologies are not secrets. Even the Ku Klux Klan holds open meetings in Alabama like a church. None of the Communists are still in jail. You can buy Mao’s red book at the gift shop at the Museum of Communism. I will die soon, in the next five to ten years. I have not seen progress during my lifetime. Our lives are too short and disposable. If we had longer life expectancies, if we lived to 200, would we work harder to preserve life or, do you think that when Borges said, ‘Jews, Christians, and Muslims all profess belief in immortality, but the veneration paid to the first century of life is proof that they truly believe in only those hundred years, for they destine all the rest, throughout eternity, to rewarding or punishing what one did when alive,’ we would simply alter it to say ‘first two centuries’? I have heard people say we are living in a golden age, but the golden age has passed—I’ve seen it in the churches all over Latin America where the gold is like glue. The Middle Ages are called the Dark Ages but only because they are forgotten, because the past is shrouded in darkness, because as we lay one century of life on top of the next, everything that has come before seems old and dark—technological advances provide the illusion of progress. The most horrendous tortures carried out in the past are still carried out today, only today the soldiers don’t meet face to face, no one is drawn and quartered, they take a pill and silently hope a heart attack doesn’t strike them first. We are living in the age of dissociation, speaking a government-patented language of innocence—technology is neither good nor evil, neither progress nor regress, but the more advanced it becomes, the more we will define this era as the one of transparent secrets, of people living in a world of open, agile knowledge, oceans unpoliced—all blank faces, blank minds, blank computers, filled with our native programming, using electronic appliances with enough memory to store everything ever written invented at precisely the same moment we no longer have the desire to read a word of it.
John M. Keller (Abracadabrantesque)
I’d like to see some identification,” growled the inspector. I fully expected Barrons to toss O’Duffy from the shop on his ear. He had no legal compulsion to comply and Barrons doesn’t suffer fools lightly. In fact, he doesn’t suffer them at all, except me, and that’s only because he needs me to help him find the Sinsar Dubh. Not that I’m a fool. If I’ve been guilty of anything, it’s having the blithely sunny disposition of someone who enjoyed a happy childhood, loving parents, and long summers of lazy-paddling ceiling fans and small-town drama in the Deep South which-while it’s great—doesn’t do a thing to prepare you for live beyond that. Barrons gave the inspector a wolfish smile. “Certainly.” He removed a wallet from the inner pocket of his suit. He held it out but didn’t let go. “And yours, Inspector.” O’Duffy’s jaw tightened but he complied. As the men swapped identifications, I sidled closer to O’Duffy so I could peer into Barrons’ wallet. Would wonders never cease? Just like a real person, he had a driver’s license. Hair: black. Eyes: brown. Height: 6’3”. Weight: 245. His birthday—was he kidding?—Halloween. He was thirty-one years old and his middle initial was Z. I doubted he was an organ donor. “You’ve a box in Galway as your address, Mr. Barrons. Is that where you were born?” I’d once asked Barrons about his lineage, he’d told me Pict and Basque. Galway was in Ireland, a few hours west of Dublin. “No.” “Where?” “Scotland.” “You don’t sound Scottish.” “You don’t sound Irish. Yet here you are, policing Ireland. But then the English have been trying to cram their laws down their neighbors’ throats for centuries, haven’t they, Inspector?” O’Duffy had an eye tic. I hadn’t noticed it before. “How long have you been in Dublin?” “A few years. You?” “I’m the one asking the questions.” “Only because I’m standing here letting you.” “I can take you down to the station. Would you prefer that?” “Try.” The one word dared the Garda to try, by fair means or foul. The accompanying smile guaranteed failure. I wondered what he’d do if the inspector attempted it. My inscrutable host seems to possess a bottomless bag of tricks. O’Duffy held Barrons’ gaze longer than I expected him to. I wanted to tell him there was no shame in looking away. Barrons has something the rest of us don’t have. I don’t know what it is, but I feel it all the time, especially when we’re standing close. Beneath the expensive clothes, unplaceable accent, and cultural veneer, there’s something that never crawled all the way out of the swamp. It didn’t want to. It likes it there.
Karen Marie Moning (Bloodfever (Fever, #2))