G. Stein – Let Us Describe

It was a very windy night and some of the larger vehicles found it more prudent not to venture. In consequence some of those who had planned to go were unable to do so. Many others did go and there was a sacrifice, of what shall we, a sheep, a hen, a cock, a village, a ruin, and all that and then that having been blessed let us bless it.

 

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B. Pascal – Pensées

People of education are not called poets or mathematicians, etc.; but they are all these, and judges of all these. No one guesses what they are. When they come into society, they talk on matters about which the rest are talking. We do not observe in them one quality rather than another, save when they have to make use of it. But then we remember it, for it is characteristic of such persons that we do not say of them that they are fine speakers, when it is not a question of oratory, and that we say of them that they are fine speakers, when it is such a question.

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F. Céline – Journey to the end of the night

They dig at their minds! They dilate them! They tyrannize them! . . . All around them there’s nothing left but a foul slumgullion of organic debris, a marmalade of madness and symptoms that drip and ooze from every part of them . . . The remains of the mind are all over our hands, and there we are, sticky, grotesque, contemptuous, fetid. Everything’s going to collapse, Ferdinand, everything is collapsing, I, old man Baryton, am telling you, and it won’t be long now! . . . You’ll see the end, Ferdinand, the great debacle! Because you’re still young! You’ll see it! Oh, you’ll enjoy it, I can promise you!

Et je te creuse ! Et je te la dilate la jugeote ! Et je te me la tyrannise !… Et ce n’est plus, autour d’eux, qu’une ragouillasse dégueulasse de débris organiques, une marmelade de symptômes de délires en compote qui leur suintent et leur dégoulinent de partout… On en a plein les mains de ce qui reste de l’esprit, on en est tout englué, grotesque, méprisant, puant. Tout va s’écrouler, Ferdinand, tout s’écroule, je vous le prédis, moi le vieux Baryton, et pour dans pas longtemps encore !… Et vous verrez cela vous Ferdinand, l’immense débandade ! Parce que vous êtes jeune encore ! Vous la verrez !… Ah ! je vous en promets des réjouissances !

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J. Fowles – The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The supposed great misery of our century is the lack of time; our sense of that, not a disinterested love of science, and certainly not wisdom, is why we devote such a huge proportion of the ingenuity and income of our societies to finding faster ways of doing things—as if the final aim of mankind was to grow closer not to a perfect humanity, but to a perfect lightning flash.

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