Archive for the 'Quotable' Category

Quotable: Toni Morrison on language

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The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. Whether it is obscuring state language or the faux-language of mindless media; whether it is the proud but calcified language of the academy or the commodity driven language of science; whether it is the malign language of law-without-ethics, or language designed for the estrangement of minorities, hiding its racist plunder in its literary cheek – it must be rejected, altered and exposed. It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind. Sexist language, racist language, theistic language – all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.

Toni Morrison, Nobel Lecture, 7 dicembre 1993

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Postato da: IM

Home and away.

Home and away. She had known both; found good in both; loved and hated both. She did not want to have to choose one or the other, because in every choice something is gained but something is lost. And in any case, why was home thought of as a place? What if it were something else?

Laila Lalami, Secret Son.

Postato da: IM

Quotable (2): Ted Hughes

Because it is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words […] Words that will express something of the deep complexity that makes us precisely the way we are, from the momentary effect of the barometer to the force that created men distinct from trees. Something of the inaudible music that moves us along in our bodies from moment to moment like water in a river. Something of the spirit of the snowflake in the water of the river. Something of the duplicity and the relativity and the merely fleeting quality of all this. Something of the almighty importance of it and something of the utter meaninglessness. And when words can manage something of this, and manage it in a moment of time, and in that same moment make out of it all the vital signature of a human being – not of an atom, or of a geometrical diagram, or of a heap of lenses – but a human being, we call it poetry.

Ted Hughes, Poetry in the making, pg. 124

Postato da: IM

Quotable: Samuel Beckett.

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Un estratto dalla raccolta delle lettere di Samuel Beckett:

It is indeed getting more and more difficult, even pointless, for me to write in formal English. And more and more my language appears to me like a veil which one has to tear apart in order to get to those things (or the nothingness) lying behind it. Grammar and style! To me they seem to have become as irrelevant as a Biedermeier bathing suit or the imperturbability of a gentleman. A mask. It is to be hoped the time will come, thank God, in some circles it already has, when language is best used when most efficiently abused . . . . Or is literature alone to be left behind on that old, foul road long ago abandoned by music and painting? Is there something paralysingly sacred contained within the unnature of the word that does not belong to the elements of the other arts? Is there any reason why that terrifyingly arbitrary materiality of the word surface should not be dissolved, as, for example, the sound surface of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is devoured by huge black pauses, so that for pages on end we cannot perceive it as other than a dizzying path of sounds connecting unfathomable chasms of silence? An answer is requested.

La recensione di questo volume è stata pubblicata ieri su Timesonline.com

Postato da: IM

Woolf On Reading

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When the day of judgment comes therefore and all secrets are laid bare, we shall not be surprised to learn that the reason why we have grown from apes to men, and left our caves and dropped our bows and arrows and sat round the fire and talked and given to the poor and helped the sick – the reason why we have made shelter and society out of the wastes of the desert and the tangle of the jungle is simply this – we have loved reading.


Virginia Woolf,  The love of reading

Nella foto Lesley e Julia Stephen;  sullo sfondo Virginia Woolf, allora ancora Virginia Stephen.

Postato da: IM

Senza parole

Niente ci fa credere più della paura, della certezza di essere minacciati. Quando ci sentiamo vittime, tutte le nostre azioni e le nostre credenze vengono legittimate, per quanto discutibili siano. I nostri oppositori, o semplicemente i nostri vicini, smettono di essere al nostro livello e diventano nemici. Smettiamo di essere aggressori per diventare difensori. L’invidia, l’avidità o il risentimento che ci muovono vengono santificati, perché diciamo a noi stessi di agire in nostra difesa. Il male, la minaccia, è sempre nell’altro. Il primo passo per credere con passione è la pura. La paura di perdere la nostra identità, la nostra vita, la nostra condizione o le nostre fedi. La paura è la polvere da sparo e l’odio è la miccia. Il dogma, in ultima istanza, è solo un fiammifero acceso.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Il gioco dell’angelo, Mondadori, 2008

Traduzione di Bruno Arpaia

Postato da: MB


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