V. Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway

She began to go slowly upstairs, with her hand on the bannisters, as if she had left a party, where now this friend now that had flashed back her face, her voice; had shut the door and gone out and stood alone, a single figure against the appalling night, or rather, to be accurate, against the stare of this matter-of-fact June morning; soft with the glow of rose petals for some, she knew, and felt it, as she paused by the open staircase window which let in blinds flapping, dogs barking, let in, she thought, feeling herself suddenly shrivelled, aged, breastless, the grinding, blowing, flowering of the day, out of doors, out of the window, out of her body and brain which now failed, since Lady Bruton, whose lunch parties were said to be extraordinarily amusing, had not asked her.

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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A. Huxley – The Doors of Perception

There is always money for, there are always doctorates in, the learned foolery of research into what, for scholars, is the all-important problem: Who influenced whom to say what when? Even in this age of technology the verbal humanities are honored. The non-verbal humanities, the arts of being directly aware of the given facts of our existence, ale almost completely ignored.


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