“To me it is a perversion of criticism to suggest that you can have the virtues of a writer without his vices, and the discovery of Dickens’s failures does not make his achievement less. I swallow Dickens whole and put up with the indigestion.” V. S. Pritchett, reviewing “Edwin Drood”
Category Archives: Uncommon Quotations
"If you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet. You can find a lot of people there who don't like you." – Tina Fey, receiving her Golden Globe a few minutes ago
My money’s on this line from a letter Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his daughter “Scottie”:
All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
I don’t know why, but maybe because I am not a good swimmer, the image appeals deeply to me. It certainly has great explanatory power; I’ve used it many times, in classes and seminars, since at least the mid-1990s.
I found the line in a book of Fitzgerald’s letters, which I bought in 1988 or 1989, when good friend Gigi brought me to a wonderful second-hand bookstore somewhere in Greater L.A. Still have the book, although I found out today that the line is actually the first quotation listed in Fitzgerald’s Wikiquote page. Breathe deeply.
“Rizal’s achievement in respect of the Philippines is immeasurable; it is impossible to imagine that country without him.” – Austin Coates
“… what a burden it must be to see how all things fall into place: where the earth sinks: where the seas flow: how every angel falls.” – Gilda Cordero Fernando
“High art, we might say, is art which presumes knowledge of other art; popular culture is prepared to deal with the untutored.” – John Updike
The Dictionary of Insufficiently Familiar, Unfairly Obscure or Uncommon Quotations, first entry:
The "liberal or critical thinker, aware of the traps set by his passions, aware of the ambiguity of reality itself, constantly calls his hypotheses and judgments into question. Skepticism? Not at all. The liberal constantly seeks the truth, and he will never budge from his ultimate convictions, that is, his maxims that are as moral as they are intellectual." – Raymond Aron