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There were 226 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Literary/Poetic'.
- "A charade, with Andreotti, the then prime minister, helping to cover it all up, and those who ended in jail were minor players. The point is, everything we heard was false or distorted, and for twenty years we've been living a lie."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 204
- "But I agree that rather than giving out information someone would be able to check, it's better to limit yourself to insinuation. Insinuation doesn't involve saying anything in particular, it just serves to raise a doubt about the person making the denial. For example: 'We are happy to note the explanation, but we understand that Signor Perniketti' -- always keep to Signor, rather than Onorevole or Dottor; Signor is the worst insult in our country -- 'has sent dozens of denials to countless newspapers. This must indeed be a full-time compulsion.' This way, readers become convinced he is paranoid. You see the advantage of insinuation: by saying that Perniketti has written to other newspapers, we are simply telling the truth, which can't be denied. The most effective insinuation is the one that gives facts that are valueless in themselves, yet cannot be denied because they are true."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 68-69
- "But is it really all over, or are certain diehard groups still working away in the shadows? I think there is more to come."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 213
- "Disgrace," he said [speaking of the terrorists], "isn't the right word for them, they know no such thing as disgrace, no such thing as limits. Incidentally, do we know such a thing as disgrace?"
Source: The Safety Net, p. 108
- "Heidi, tell me again about the Montauk Project."
"Been around since the eighties, part of the American vernacular by now. Next year they'll be opening the old air station to tourists. There's already companies running tour buses."
"Another form of everything ends up as a Broadway musical."
"So nobody takes the Montauk Project seriously anymore, you're saying."
A dramatic sigh. "Maxi, earnest Maxi, forensic as always. These urban myths can be attractors, they pick up little fragments of strangeness from everywhere, after a while nobody can look at the whole thing and believe it all, it's too unstructured. But somehow we'll still cherry-pick for the intriguing pieces, God forbid we should be taken in of course, we're too hip for that and yet there's no final proof that some of it isn't true. Pros and cons, and it all degenerates into arguments on the Internet, flaming, trolling, threads that only lead deeper into the labyrinth."
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 197
- "I have to see this through. It's how I am. I like to be on the edge of the territory."
"The horizon of the real," I whispered.
Alice and I were the same size. We displaced the same amount of air. But when we embraced she became elusive and darting, like a remora fish. When I held her I imagined that I could crane my neck and kiss the small of her back, or reach around to clasp my own shoulders in my hands.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 12
- "I help them understand it," she said. "They can make their own choices. The goal is to develop an awareness, from inside, of how dual cognitive systems form, how they function, how they respond to hostile or contradictory data. Threats to stability, inequal growth by one member. Cognitive dissonance. I'm sure these concepts are familiar."
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 87-88
- "I realize this sounds weird, but Biller lives in the air space behind Perkus's kitchen...part of the time, at least."
Source: Chronic City, p. 123
- "I shall not live long," he had said: "in no one of my dreams can I see myself old I shall not live long not more than 250 pages": he had said and (suddenly (dazzledly) as one rising from (is it the Seine this long blue laughing?) from the water's depth into shattering sunlight he (thrusting up through the perfume of some unknown woman's hair her body sweeter far than he) found himself) sitting there and:
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 134-135
- "I should like," Huddleberry was saying, "I should like to write a detective story -- a mystery story...But one in which no one should know what crime had been committed -- nor who had committed it..."
"That's true of all crimes, isn't it, rather?" asked Charles and watched himself inject a careless laugh, like a hypodermic, into the man's mind. But:
"No one...There should be a dream quality about it all..." His eye lighted; a rising enthusiasm informed his customarily level tones and he waved his long thin hands in wider gestures -- "A dream quality, yes; a brooding sense of Something -- no one quite knowing what -- but Something dread, and menacing, and terrible. A Something that sets all the boasted power of civilization at naught --," he raised his hand as Charles gave evidence of being about to speak, "--at naught, and mocks the puny strength of men..."
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 142
- "I wasn't trying to paint his soul or anything: I just wanted to get him done well enough to please Betty's mother. And when I'd done it I stared at it and I thought: 'Either I don't know what he is or he doesn't know where he is.' But a fellow who's put it over all America and bits of England is likely to know where he is, I suppose, so I must just have got him completely wrong. It's odd, all the same. I generally manage to make something more or less definite. This man looks as if he were being frightfully definite and completely indefinite at the same moment -- an absolute master and a lost loony at once."
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 21
- "In other words, we have to say to our owner: this is how Domani would have been had it appeared yesterday. Understood? And, if we wanted to, even if no one had actually thrown the bomb, we could easily do an issue as if."
"Or throw the bomb ourselves if we felt like it," sneered Braggadocio.
"Let's not be silly," cautioned Simei. Then, almost as an afterthought, "And if you really want to do that, don't come telling me."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 32
- "Isn't that going a bit far?"
"Suspicions never go too far. Suspect, always suspect, that's the only way you get to the truth. Isn't that what science says?"
"That's what it says, and that's what it does."
"Bullshit -- even science lies. Look at the story of cold fusion. They lied to us for months and then it was found to be total nonsense."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 49
- "It is impossible to understand how millions and millions of people all obey a sickly collection of gentlemen that call themselves 'Government!' The word, I expect, frightens people. It is a form of planetary hypnosis, and very unhealthy."
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 126
- "It is signed by Veruccio Veriti. So, what's the point of this denial of a denial? Point number one, that the newspaper has received the information from sources close to Signor Perniketti. This always works. The sources aren't given, but it implies the newspaper has confidential sources, perhaps more reliable than Perniketti. Use is then made of the journalist's notebook. No one will ever see the notebook, but the idea of an actual record tends to inspire confidence in the newspaper and suggests that there is evidence. Lastly, insinuations are made that are meaningless in themselves but throw a shadow of suspicion over Perniketti. Now I don't say all denials have to take this form -- this is just a parody -- but keep in mind the three fundamental elements for a denial of a denial: other sources, notes in the reporter's notebook, and doubts about the reliability of the person making the denial. Understood?"
"Very good," they replied in chorus.
Source: Numero Zero, p. 67
- "It's the era of nice monsters, Käthe, and we must count ourselves among them. They're all nice, Veronica's nice too, Beverloh was nice, he was a regular paragon of niceness..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 114
- "Men are very difficult to understand," said Carmella. "Let's hope they all freeze to death. I am sure it would be very pleasant and healthy for human beings to have no authority whatever. They would have to think for themselves, instead of always being told what to do and think by advertisements, cinemas, policemen and parliaments."
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 126
- "Men, women, statesmen, courtesans, plotters...and yet, in the mind of each the dread questions are constantly impending -- 'What is it that threatens?' -- 'And for whom?' -- 'If Death, then who shall be the victim?' -- 'Who the murderer?' -- 'Where the scene of the tragedy?' -- 'Shall it be I who will strike the fatal blow?' -- 'Or shall I receive it?' ..."
He paused again, staring dramatically at the corner of the ceiling. "And the end -- dramatic, inevitable, but veiled in mystery....'Was there a murder?' -- 'Who was the victim?' -- they shall ask, my characters. And as each sinks shudderingly to sleep -- 'Was it I who killed, last night as I thought I slept?' -- 'Am I, even now, am I dead?'... Ah! Yes! It shall be my greatest work, that. It would go well in the American Mercury, don't you think?"
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 144-145
- "Must we always wait centuries, and always know we waited, and needn't have waited, and that it all took so long and was so dreadful?"
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 104
- "No offense," his smirk indicating otherwise, "but what's disturbing about this Promis software is that there's always a backdoor built in, so anytime it gets installed on a government computer anywhere in the world -- law enforcement, intelligence, special ops -- anybody who happens to know about this backdoor can just slip in through it and make themselves at home -- wherever -- and all manner of secrets get compromised. Not to mention there's a couple of Israeli chips, highly sophisticated, which Mossad have been known to install at the same time, without necessarily informing the client. What these chips do is scavenge information even while the computer's turned off, hold it till the Ofeq satellite comes over, then transmit everything out to it in a single data burst."
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 104
- "Not just that, but you have to go and search out the information they're hiding from you. Car ads, when they're not lying, are keeping quiet about something. You have to go through the specifications in the trade magazines, and you find it's one hundred and eighty-three centimetres wide."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 44
- "Now let us see what the next one says. See, there is only a single character. It is the barbarian character war, but it has other senses too. It can stand for vengeance, and if you turn it upside down like this, it can be made to read justice. There is no knowing which sense is intended. That is part of barbarian cunning.
"It is the same with the rest of these slips." I plunge my good hand into the chest and stir. "They form an allegory. They can be read in many orders. Further, each single slip can be read in many ways. Together they can be read as a domestic journal, or they can be read as a plan of war, or they can be turned on their sides and read as a history of the last years of the Empire -- the old Empire, I mean. There is no agreement among scholars about how to interpret these relics of the ancient barbarians. Allegorical sets like this one can be found buried all over the desert...It is recommended that you simply dig at random: perhaps at the very spot where you stand you will come upon scraps, shards, reminders of the dead. Also the air: the air is full of sighs and cries. These are never lost: if you listen carefully, with a sympathetic ear, you can hear them echoing forever within the second sphere. The night is best: sometimes when you have difficulty in falling asleep it is because your ears have been reached by the cries of the dead which, like their writings, are open to many interpretations.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 112
- "Only in 1984 does an investigating judge, Felice Casson, discover that the explosive used at Peteano came from a Gladio arms depot...And you understand that if a military secret service has three policemen blown up, it won't be out of any dislike for the police but to direct the blame at far-left extremists."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 210
- "Phantom ware countermeasures."
"Wait, you're supposed to be pro-phantomware, what's with this 'counter'?"
"We built it, we disable it. You're frowning. We're beyond good and evil here, the technology, it's neutral, eh?"
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 89
- "See is just a movie in your eyes," said Garth. "It's not out in the world."
"It's not out there, it's not dark matter or anything else. It's just in your eyes. A movie. And the only difference is that everyone else has the same movie playing. Cynthia, Philip, Alice, their movies agree. So they can see. You and I are watching the wrong movie, so we're blind."
Evan and I were silent.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 134
- "So better to stay deep," Vyrva sez. "After a while it can get to be an addiction. There's a hacker saying -- once you've gone Deep, never get back to sleep."
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 78
- "The Montauk Project."
"The...Oh, wait, Heidi's mentioned that...She teaches it, some kind of...urban legend?"
"You could say." Beat. "You could also say, the terminal truth about the U.S. government, worse than anything you can imagine."
Mike shows up with the food. Maxine sits peeling her banana, slicing it over the cereal, trying to keep her eyes wide and unjudging while March digs in to her high-cholesterol eats and is soon talking with her mouth full. "I see my share of conspiracy theories, some are patently bullshit, some I want to believe so much I have to be careful, others are inescapable even if I wanted to escape. The Montauk Project is every horrible suspicion you've ever had since World War II, all the paranoid production values, a vast underground facility, exotic weapons, space aliens, time travel, other dimensions, shall I go on?"
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 117
- "The point is that newspapers are not up there for spreading news but for covering it up. X happens, you have to report it, but it causes embarrassment for too many people, so in the same edition you had some shock headlines -- mother kills four children, savings at risk of going up in smoke, letter from Garibaldi insulting his lieutenant Nino Bixio discovered, etc. -- so news drowns in a great sea of information. I'm interested in what Gladio did in Italy form the 1960s until 1990. Must have been up to all kinds of tricks, would have been mixed up with the far-right terrorist movements, played a part in the bombing at Piazza Fontana in 1969, and from then on -- the days of the student revolts of '68 and the workers' strikes that autumn -- it dawned on someone that he could incite terrorist attacks and put the blame on the Left."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 194
- "There's a chocolate smell everywhere in the city right now. Has been for days. You must have noticed."
"Oh, that," he said, smirking unhappily. "I guess I have heard it described that way, but no, I don't smell any chocolate. For me it's coming in more as kind of high-pitched whining sound."
"What are you talking about?"
"Just what I said, Chase. For you it's a chocolate smell, for me, a ringing in my ears. On and off for three days now. Can we just forget about it, please? It kept me up practically all night last night."
Source: Chronic City, p. 210
- "They stink, you just can't smell it anymore."...Things became quite awkward when she began to sniff at people and wrinkle her nose, saying laconically: "Stinks" or "Doesn't stink," and it was quite clear that she didn't only mean this morally, toward the end she spoke openly of a "stinking German cleanliness." He had to let her go...
Source: The Safety Net, p. 256
- "Wait here till I get the morning editions," said the stranger. They were full of all the details about the Nine Prominent Critics Die By X-Ray Bullet, and it went on to relate how reason shuddered when the city waked up today to find that such men as Harry Hansen, William Soskin, Heywood Broun, Bruce Gould, Waldo Frank, Henry Seidl Canby, Asa Huddleberry and James Thurber and George Jean Nathan were made the victims of a dastardly attack late last night and the police were hopelessly at sea because no motive could be imagined for the murders unless by the Communists from Moscow. The stranger looked worried. Then his brow cleared.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 165-166
- "What do you expect -- for me to send him our condolences, invite him for coffee, tell him how much I regret his having implored us to swallow him before anyone else did? Zummerling, for instance? The fact is that Blume prefers to be swallowed by us. He won't be short of money, he can even keep the old family house. Only his work, the liberal tradition -- that I can't give back to him, no one can give it back to him...Disgrace, yes, of course, it's a disgrace, but just ask the two Amplangers whether the feel any disgrace. Young Amplanger will tell you: 'Is it a disgrace for a chicken to pick up a grain thrown to it?'
Source: The Safety Net, p. 109
- "Yes, I do, I want to go on with you -- yet they're probably already practicing strongholds, looking into hypnosis, drugs, perhaps with drugs they'll persuade a security officer to 'grab me.' He will be a nice, well-drilled, thoroughly healthy, thoroughly vetted young policeman who will suddenly throw himself upon me with an apparently protective gesture that conceals the murderous grip. There is no security -- computers, rockets, rocketlike artificial birds, psychomanipulations, remote psychoterrorism -- so we might as well resign ourselves to the loneliness of extreme, luxurious imprisonment.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 124
- "You have been treasonously consorting with the enemy," he says.
So it is out. "Treasonously consorting": a phrase out of a book.
"We are at peace here," I say, "we have no enemies." There is silence. "Unless I make a mistake," I say. "Unless we are the enemy."
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 77
- "You know, during those interviews I had an idea: one could prepare them in advance, for radio and television, as a sort of stockpile: on amalgamation, wages, cultural affairs, on domestic and foreign policy, on security matters. One could even introduce slight variations to provide a semblance of actuality...it's possible that the taped word sounds more alive than the live word -- Veronica once tried to explain to me that artificial birds, mechanical ones, can walk more naturally than live birds -- I keep thinking about that -- in the same way a sound or video tape might sound much more spontaneous than a live interview -- what they call live is deader than dead. As dead as the little paper that died under my hands -- and proliferates..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 226-227
- "You like perceptible things," I suggested. "You like to make measurements."
"Not easily perceptible," she pointed out. "Just barely present."
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 19
- "You're forgetting, my love, that Italy is slowly turning into one of those havens you want to banish yourself to. If we've managed to both accept and forget all those things the BBC has recounted, it means we are getting used to the idea of losing the sense of shame."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 249
- "[T]his is my lucky night, I tell you, this is my lucky night!"
And by dint of repeating these words in a piercing tone, increasing in shrillness each time, he [Rodas] seemed to transform the night into a black tambourine decorated with gold bells; to be shaking hands with invisible friends in the wind, and inviting the puppet-master of the Cathedral Porch and his marionettes to come and tickle his throat till he burst out laughing. He laughed and he laughed, and tried out a few dance steps with his hands in his waistcoat pockets, and then his laugh suddenly died and became a groan and his happiness turned to pain. He doubled up to protect his mouth against his stomach's revolt. He was suddenly silent. His laughter hardened in his mouth like the plaster dentists use for their models. He had caught sight of the Zany.
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 49
- 'Atomics is a very intricate theorem and can be worked out with algebra but you would want to take it by degrees because you might spend the whole night proving a bit of it with rulers and cosines and similar other instruments and then at the wind-up not believe what you had proved at all. If that happened you would have to go back over it till you got a place where you could believe your own facts and figures as delineated from Hall and Knight's Algebra and then go on again from that particular place till you had the whole thing properly believed and not have bits of it half-believed or a doubt in your head hurting you like when you lose the stud of your shirt in bed.'
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 73
- 'Elstree.' Harvey said it as if there was a third party listening -- as if to draw the attention of this third party to that definite word, Elstree, and whatever connotations it might breed.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 335
- 'Has it ever occurred to you, Oedipa, that somebody's putting you on? That this is all a hoax, maybe something Inverarity set up before he died?'
It had occurred to her. But like the thought that someday she would have to die, Oedipa had been steadfastly refusing to look at that possibility directly, or in any but the most accidental of lights. 'No,' she said,' that's ridiculous.'
Fallopian watched her, nothing if not compassionate. 'You ought,' quietly, 'really, you ought to think about it. Write down what you can't deny. Your hard intelligence. But then write down what you've only speculated, assumed. See what you've got. At least that.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 129
- 'I wonder,' said Stewart, 'why there's been so little in the press about Nathan Fox. I only heard on the radio that he'd disappeared suddenly from your house. And they don't include him in the gang. Maybe they couldn't find a photograph of him. A photo makes a gangster real.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 431
- 'In the dream I’d be going about a normal day's business and suddenly, with no warning, there'd be the sign. We were a member of the National Automobile Dealer's Association. NADA. Just this creaking metal sign that said nada, nada, against the blue sky. I used to wake up hollering.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 110-111
- 'It is here somewhere,' the Sergeant said, 'or beside a place somewhere near the next place adjacent.'
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 110
- 'It is true,' he said, 'that you cannot commit a crime and that the right arm of the law cannot lay its finger on you irrespective of the degree of your criminality. Anything you do is a lie and nothing that happens to you is true.'
I nodded my agreement comfortably.
'For that reason alone,' said the Sergeant, 'we can take you and hang the life out of you and you are not hanged at all and there is no entry to be made in the death papers. The particular death you die is not even a death (which is an inferior phenomenon at the best) only an insanitary abstraction in the backyard, a piece of negative nullity neutralized and rendered void by asphyxiation and the fracture of the spinal string. If it is not a lie to say that you have been given the final hammer behind the barrack, equally it is true to say that nothing has happened to you.'
'You mean that because I have no name I cannot die and that you cannot be held answerable for death even if you kill me?'
'That is about the size of it,' said the Sergeant.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 88
- 'It was a joke -- for the benefit of my brother-in-law who came to visit me. I brought some baby clothes and put them out on the line. He obviously thought i had a girl living with me. I only put them out a few times after that. I told my brother-in-law that I did it to keep women from bothering me with offers of domestic care. As they do. They would assume, you see, that there was a woman. I suppose I'm an eccentric. It was a gesture.'
'Well, you might say,' said Harvey, thinking fast how to say it, 'that it was a surrealistic gesture.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 395
- 'Job was a very rich man. He lost all his goods, and all his sons and daughters, and took it all very philosophically. He said, "The Lord gave, the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Then he gets covered with boils; and it's only then that his nerve gives way, he's touched personally. He starts his complaint against God at that point only. No question of why his sons should have lost their lives, no enquiries of God about the cause of their fate. It's his skin disease that sets him off.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 366
- 'Still, I'm convinced he suffered on. Perhaps more.'
'It seems odd, doesn't it,' Edward had said, 'after he sat on a dung-heap and suffered from skin-sores and put up with his friends' gloating, and lost his family and his cattle, that he should have to go on suffering.'
'It became a habit,' Harvey said, 'for he not only argued the problem of suffering, he suffered the problem of argument. And that is incurable.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 350
- 'Sure this Koteks is part of some underground,' he told her a few days later, 'an underground of the unbalanced, possibly, but then how can you blame them for being maybe a little bitter?'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 66
- 'There is me, there are the others. You know, with the LSD, we're finding, the distinction begins to vanish. Egos lose their sharp edges. But I never took the drug, I chose to remain in relative paranoia, where at least I know who I am and who the others are. Perhaps that is why you also refused to participate, Mrs Maas?' He held the rifle at sling arms and beamed at her. 'Well, then. You were supposed to deliver a message to me, I assume. From them. What were you supposed to say?'
Oedipa shrugged. 'Face up to your social responsibilities,' she suggested. 'Accept the reality principle. You're outnumbered and they have superior firepower.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 104
- 'There is one puzzle,' I remarked, 'that is hurting the back of my head and causing me a lot of curiosity. It is about the bicycle. I have never heard of detective-work as good as that being done before. Not only did you find the lost bicycle but you found all the clues as well. I find it is a great strain for me to believe what I see, and I am becoming afraid occasionally to look at some things in case they would have to be believed. What is the secret of your constabulary virtuosity?'
He laughed at my earnest inquiries and shook his head with great indulgence at my simplicity.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 71
- 'This Stilettoed Eel is terrific,' said Chick. 'Where did you get the idea from?'
'Nicolas had it,' said Colin. 'There's an eel -- or there was an eel, rather -- that used to go into his wash-basin every day through the cold-water tap.'
'What a funny thing to do,' said Chick. 'Why did it do that?'
'It used to pop its head out and empty the toothpaste by squeezing the tube with its teeth. Nicolas only uses that American brand with the pineapple flavor, and I don't think it could resist the temptation.'
Source: Froth on the Daydream, p. 17
- 'You know what a miracle is. Not what Bakunin said. But another world's intrusion into this one. Most of the time we coexist peacefully, but when we do touch there's cataclysm.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 91
- Apparently there is no limit, Joe remarked. Anything can be said in this place and it will be true and will have to be believed.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 74
- A slush of silence waded over the Park after the passing of a Fifth Avenue bus. To fling to the moment passing birdie he was fumbling for a dutiful crumb of thought: he had plenty to think about as (glistering like listerine) a page from an old newspaper swished rattling along the path.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 120-121
- A strange wind was blowing across the plain of his silence, where a wild vegetation was growing, as thirsty as tearless eyelashes, as thirsty as prickly cactuses, as thirsty as trees unrefreshed by rain. What was the meaning of this desire? Why should trees be thirsty when it rains?
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 70
- After all, the affair of Pliefger's birthday cake had been extremely serious, and as for Father -- he was already dreaming of flying saucers descending on him and Käthe, now he was even scared of birds since that business with the duck and since old Kortschede had gone completely around the bend at the click of a lighter. And there had been that terrible business with Plotetti's cigarette package.
Source: The Safety Net, p.
- All this may have been a collective hallucination although nobody has yet explained to me what a collective hallucination actually means. The monstrous Queen Bee slowly revolved over the water, beating her crystalline wings so rapidly that they emitted a pale light. As she faced me I was thrilled to notice a sudden strange resemblance to the Abbess. At that moment she closed one eye, as big as a tea cup, in a prodigious wink.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 117
- Amplanger senior had long been representing Bleibl's interests. He was no longer himself, he was merely the image of himself: irreplaceable as an image; had allowed himself to be deceived by an ever-increasing income, by a proliferating fortune -- there must be something very mysterious in Blurtmehl's hands for him to arrive at such insights under those hands, whereas Grebnitzer, even during long sessions of questioning, never penetrated to the heart of the problem. After all, there was nothing organic to discover, he had never had a heart attack, even his blood count was excellent -- ad yet there was that lead, that chill, in his limbs. Sometimes he actually feared a total paralysis when seated there t his desk powerless "at the power center, at the very heart of capitalism," while his fortune proliferated and he was anxiously concerned not to let a single cigarette "go to waste."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 44
- An eye was travelling over the fingers of his right hand like the circle of light from an electric bulb. From the little finger to the middle finger, thence to the ring finger, from ring finger to index, from index to thumb. An eye...A single eye. He could feel it throbbing. He tried to crush it by closing his hand hard, till his nails sank into his flesh. But it was impossible; when he opened his hand, there it was again on his fingers, no bigger than a bird's heart and more horrifying than Hell. Beads of hot sweat, like beef broth, broke out on his forehead. Who was looking at him with this eye, which rested on his fingers and jumped about like the ball of a roulette wheel to the rhythm of a funeral knell?
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 57-58
- And that he suspected these two across the way of responsibility for the Electric Murders that had terrorized the city, there was no doubt.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 189
- And to his own amazement, Harvey found himself half-hoping she was wrong. Only half-hoping; but still, the thought was there: he would rather think of Effie as a terrorist than laughing with Nathan, naked, in a mountain commune in California.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 473
- And with the end of the Holy Roman Empire, the fountainhead of Thurn and Taxis legitimacy is lost forever among the other splendid delusions. Possibilities for paranoia become abundant. If Tristero has managed to maintain even partial secrecy, if Thurn and Taxis have no clear idea who their adversary is, or how far its influence extends, then many of them must come to believe in something very like the Scurvhamite's blind, automatic anti-God. Whatever it is, it has the power to murder their riders, send landslides thundering across their roads, by extension bring into being new local competition and presently even state postal monopolies, disintegrate their Empire. It is their time's ghost, out to put the Thurn and Taxis ass in a sling.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 127
- Angel Face took no notice of these festive preparations. He had to see the general and make plans for his flight. Everything seemed easy until the dogs began barking at him in the monstrous wood which separated the President from his enemies, a wood made up of trees with ears which responded to the slightest sound by whirling as if blown by a hurricane. Not the tiniest noise for miles around could escape the avidity of those millions of membranes. The dogs went on barking. A network of invisible threads, more invisible than telegraph wires, connected every leaf with the President, enabling him to keep watch on the most secret thoughts of the townspeople.
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 39
- Anubeth growled and reached up to get a very strange animal from the ceiling for my inspection. It was a tortoise with a baby's wizened face and long thin legs which were frozen in a gallop. "Anubeth says that this kind of collage she made for fun when the keeper of the principal morgues in Venice gave her the present of a dead baby. The legs originally belonged to some storks that died of the cold. It really is very clever. I sometimes wonder if she ought to paint. I am sure she has talent."
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 152
- As I drew near the fire the woman stopped stirring the pot and rose to greet me. When we faced each other I felt my heart give a convulsive leap and stop. The woman who stood before me was myself...
"[W]ould you like me to decide which of us is I?" she asked...
She nodded gravely and pointed into the soup with the long wooden spoon. "Jump into the broth, meat is scarce this season."
I watched in horrified silence...I tried to nod and move away at the same time, but my knees were trembling so much that instead of going towards the staircase I shuffled crabwise nearer and nearer the pot. When I was well within range she suddenly jabbed the pointed knife into my back side and with a scream of pain I leapt right into the boiling soup and stiffened in moment of intense agony with my companions in distress, one carrot and two onions.
A might rumbling followed by crashes and there I was standing outside the pot stirring the soup in which I could see my own meat, feet up, boiling away merrily as any joint of beef. I added a pinch of salt...
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 137-138
- Bety had been talking almost as if there had been two lives, each a kind of dream to the other.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 78
- Breton...raises the stakes of Nadja's momentary recourse to cold-blooded murder in stating that "the simplest surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd."...The difficult part of revolution is not its violence; indeed, Breton suggests that violence is all too simple. What is difficult is the full realization of a project of emancipation that extends to all facets of life, and that places the most extreme demands on its practitioners. Revolution, Breton writes in the Second Manifesto, requires the kind of commitment to the overthrow of bourgeois capitalism that can be experienced only as a despair so strong as to render extremism imaginable...Breton's most notorious statement, in other words, invokes murder not as an extension of surrealism's alleged methodism into the field of political violence, but as the hypothetical extreme that Breton claims to be the measure of surrealism's refusal to operate simply as a method, whether aesthetic, epistemological, or political.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 149-150
- But 'no one pities men who cling wilfully to their sufferings.' (Philoctetes -- speech of Neoptolemus)....I'm analyzing the God of Job, as I say. We are back to the Inscrutable. If the answers are valid then it is the questions that are all cock-eyed.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 477
- But now as they decelerate down the last stretch of Route 27, she can only feel the narrowing of options -- it's all converging here, all Long Island, the defense factories, the homicidal traffic, the history of Republican sin forever unremitted, the relentless suburbanizing, miles of mowed yards, contractor hardpan, beaverboard and asphalt shingling, treeless acres, all concentrating, all collapsing, into this terminal toehold before the long Atlantic wilderness.
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 191
- But with this woman it is as if there is no interior, only a surface across which I hunt back and forth seeking entry. Is this how her torturers felt hunting their secret, whatever they thought it was? For the first time I feel a dry pity for them: how natural a mistake to believe that you can burn or tear or hack your way into the secret body of the other!
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 43
- Characters should be interchangeable as between one book and another. The entire corpus of existing literature should be regarded as a limbo from which discerning authors could draw their characters as required, creating only when they failed to find a suitable existing puppet. The modern novel should be largely a work of reference. Most authors spend their time saying what has been said before -- usually said much better. A wealth of references to existing works would acquaint the reader instantaneously with the nature of each character, would obviate tiresome explanations and would effectively preclude mountebanks, upstarts, thimbleriggers and persons of inferior education from an understanding of contemporary literature. Conclusion of explanation.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 25
- Did one have to eavesdrop on one's children, take them by surprise, to discover their warmth, to gain insight into their lives?
Source: The Safety Net, p. 127
- Don Benjamin was hardly three feet tall and as slender and hairy as a bat; it was impossible for him to see what was interesting the groups of people and police over the shoulders of Doña Benjamin, a woman of colossal build, who required two seats in the tram (one for each buttock) and more than eight yards of material for a dress.
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 53
- Each [pursuer of Sunday in Chesterton's Thursday] is stunned and enraged by the message he receives, because the messages implicate the detective-receiver in what appear to be stories at once bewildering and precise. For example, one message to a pursuer reads 'Fly at once. The truth about you trouser-stretchers is known -- A FRIEND'; another reads, 'The word, I fancy, should be "pink"'; a third, from Sunday to a male pursuer: 'Your beauty has not left me indifferent.--From LITTLE SNOWDROP' (157, 161, 163). Now these surreal messages, these tender buttons of notes, are God's improvisations; they exhibit the bravado of meaningful meaningless. But they are also meaning-full. The precise specificity of the notes makes them feel as if they are intelligible particulars dropped from a comprehensive and intelligible tale no less certain than the note of certainty characteristically struck by each folded wad. It is the ability of ambiguity to strike certain notes, to issue in certainty, that enrages Sunday's pursuers. But, most significantly, it is the same ability of ambiguity to strike a certain note that leads Syme, two chapters later, to grasp the sight of everything, to know that the dynamiter is as blessed as the detective. Double-writing has its consummation here. Improvisation and ambiguity unveil a definitive apocalypse.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 164
- EAR: But, you see, one gets used to one's own fatigue and to how death would be tempted to live; the magnificent emperor's death proves it; the importance of things diminishes -- each and every day -- a little...
Source: The Gas Heart, p. 37
- Effie, meanwhile, went off the rails, and when this was pointed out to her in so many words, she said 'What rails? Whose rails?'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 362-363
- Either Trystero did exist, in its own right, or it was being presumed, perhaps fantasied by Oedipa, so hung up on and interpenetrated with the dead man's estate. Here in San Francisco, away from all tangible assets of that estate, there might still be a chance of getting the whole thing to go away and disintegrate quietly. She had only to drift tonight, at random, and watch nothing happen, to be convinced it was purely nervous, a little something for her shrink to fix.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 82
- Every inch of my person gained weight with every second until the total burden on the bed was approximately five hundred thousand tons. This was evenly distributed on the four wooden legs of the bed, which had by now become an integral part of the universe. My eyelids, each weighting no less than four tons, slewed ponderously across my eyeballs. My narrow shins, itchier and more remote in their agony of relaxation, moved further away from me till my happy toes pressed closely on the bars. My position was completely horizontal, ponderous, absolute and incontrovertible. United with the bed I became momentous and planetary....Robbing me of the reassurance of my eyesight, [the night] was disintegrating my bodily personality into a flux of colour, smell, recollection, desire -- all the strange uncounted essences of terrestrial and spiritual existence. I was deprived of definition, position and magnitude and my significance was considerably diminished.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 100-101
- Everything that allowed the genius of a people to assert itself bent more and more under the pressure of hostile forces, more or less disguised. Whatever could have been added to its assets -- the fundamental code of this people as, like it or not, it arose from its institutions -- was left in the shadows out of fear that the concept of liberty, which doesn't take well to resting, might become more demanding.
Source: Arcanum 17, p. 125
- EYE: Eyes replaced by motionless belly buttons. Mr. My-God is an excellent journalist. Stiff and aquatic, a good-morning corpse floats in the air. What a sad season.
MOUTH: The conversation is getting boring, isn't it?
Source: The Gas Heart, p. 35
- EYEBROW: "Where?" "how much?" "why?" are monuments. Justice, for example. What a beautiful, regular functioning, almost a nervous tic or a religion.
Source: The Gas Heart, p. 40
- Fearing his bed would cool, he hastened past the emptiness of the hall, where a handsome girl stood poised without her clothes on the brink of a blue river. Napoleon peered at her in a wanton fashion from the dark of the other wall.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 32-33
- For Camila all this was either a game or a nightmare; it couldn't, no, it simply couldn't be true; what was happening, happening to her, happening to her father, couldn't be true.
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 72
- For I was not, as I liked to think, the indulgent pleasure-loving opposite of the cold rigid Colonel. I was the lie that Empire tells itself when times are easy, he the truth that Empire tells when harsh winds blow. Two sides of imperial rule, no more, no less.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 135
- For my own part, I couldn't have said whether she was the waitress we always had here or I'd never seen her before. The invisible are always so resolutely invisible, until you see them.
Source: Chronic City, p. 211
- For various reasons I have never told you my entire family history, as I was sworn to secrecy during the Communist persecution of Hungary. Now, sadly enough, the only remaining members of our family are Anubeth and myself. As I suggested before, I had a somewhat tense relationship with my other sisters, Audrey, Anastasia and Annabelle. They all suffered from a common mania, namely that when I crossed half the world to visit them in their respective castles, that my journeys were made with the object of stealing an early model vacuum cleaner which they were in the habit of hiring to each other at exorbitant prices. They all perished during the cataclysm. Audrey was found congealed upside-down in a small iceberg that invaded her bedroom. She was still holding an empty bottle of champagne to her lips. Very tragic, but not altogether without poetic justice.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 153
- Force of habit rather than my own capacity carried me home and sat me down in the back yard. Strangely enough I was in England and it was a Sunday afternoon. I was sitting with a book on a stone seat under a lilac bush. Close by a clump of rosemary saturated the air with perfume. They were playing tennis nearby, the clump clump of the rackets and balls was quite audible. This was the sunken Dutch garden, why Dutch I wonder? The roses? the geometrical flower beds? or perhaps because it is sunken? The church bells ringing, that is the Protestant church, have we had tea yet? (cucumber sandwiches, seed cake and rock buns) Yes, tea must be over...
I am not really here in England in this scented garden although it does not disappear as it nearly always does, I am inventing all this and it is about to disappear, but it does not.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 15
- From ancient times the witches had danced in the cavern through wars and persecutions; many a time when I was pursued I would hide with the witches, and was always received with courtesy and kindness. As you are no doubt aware, my mission through the ages has been to carry uncensored news to the people, without consideration of either rank or status. This has made me unpopular with the authorities all over this planet. My object is to help human beings to realize their state of slavery and exploitation by power-seeking beings.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 145
- From the courtroom to the executioner they will drag me kicking and weeping, bewildered as the day I was born, clinging to the end to the faith that no harm can come to the guiltless. "You are living in a dream!" I say to myself: I pronounce the words aloud, stare at them, try to grasp their significance: "You must wake up!"...I truly believe I am not afraid of death. What I shrink from, I believe, is the shame of dying as stupid and befuddled as I am.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 94
- G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) purports to differentiate modernist insiders and anti-modernist outsiders; and to expound the difference in terms of religious belief, art and politics. According to the book's spokesman for modernism, Lucian Gregory, modernists are anarchist-terrorists, whose priority involves 'the lawlessness of art and the art of lawlessness'...Opposed to these claims, which Chesterton calls the product of 'dirty modern thinkers' is Chesterton's protagonist Gabriel Syme, who apparently is outside modernism. He is 'a poet of law' and order and respectability -- a detective, in other words! -- and he becomes an undercover agent in order to hunt down 'Sunday', the secret head of a powerful international modernist-anarchist-terrorist group.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 151-152
- Gigantic dredges were on the march, mechanical shovels amiably-pitilessly-innocently-inexorably devoured the forest, swallowing the earth, spitting it out again at a great distance, exhumed the dead (reverently, ever so reverently), tearing down churches and villages and castles, and Käthe got "the shudders" when she drove through Neu-Iffenhoven with its new houses and churches. To shudder was good.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 71
- Half in the world of reality, half in a dream, the Zany ran on, pursued by dogs and by spears of fine rain.
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 19
- Harvey had been dreaming that his interrogator was one of those electric typewriters where the typeface can be changed by easy manipulation; the voice of the interrogator changed like the type, and in fact was one and the same, now roman, now elite, now italics. In the end, bells on the typewriter rang to wake him up to the phone and the doorbell.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 403
- harvey was a rich man; he was in his mid-thirties. He had started writing a monograph about the Book of Job and the problem it deals with. For he could not face that a benevolent Creator, one whose charming and delicious light descended and spread over the world, and being powerful everywhere, could condone the unspeakable sufferings of the world; that God did permit all suffering and was therefore, by logic of his omnipotence, the actual author of it, he was at a loss how to square with the existence of God, given the premise that God is good.
'It is the only problem,' Harvey had always said. Now, Harvey believed in God, and this was what tormented him. 'It's the only problem, in fact, worth discussing.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 341
- Harvey wondered again if in real life Job would be satisfied with this plump reward, and doubted it. His tragedy was that of the happy ending.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 481
- He didn't hear any more because an inordinately lengthy individual, who had been giving a demonstration of speed for the past five minutes, had just slipped through his legs by leaning forward as far as possible and the rush of air that he created lifted Colin several yards above the ground. He clutched at the edge of the first floor gallery, got his balance and after doing a backwards somersault the wrong way round, landed back at the sides of Chick and Lisa.
'They ought to be stopped from going too fast,' said Colin.
Then he quickly crossed himself because the culprit had just skated straight into the wall of the restaurant at the other end of the rink and flattened himself against it like a marshmallow jelly-fish picked to pieces by a destructive child.
The serf-sweepers one again did their duty and one of them planted a cross of ice on the spot where the accident had occurred. As it melted, the Master of Ceremonies played a selection of religious records.
Then everything went back to normal. And Chick, Lisa and Colin went round and round and round.
Source: Froth on the Daydream, p. 23-24
- He emptied his bath by boring a hole in the bottom of the tub. The light yellow ceramic clay tiles of the bathroom floor sloped in such a way that the water was orientated into an orifice placed directly over the study of the tenant in the flat below. But only a few days previously, without saying a word to Colin, the position of the study had been changed. Now the water went straight into the larder underneath.
Source: Froth on the Daydream, p. 9-10
- He felt over-protected. How can you deal with the problem of suffering if everybody conspires to estrange you from suffering?
Source: The Only Problem, p. 378
- He had all the pleasure of going to be happy.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 127
- He is a great man that never gets out of bed, he said. He spends the days and nights reading books and occasionally he writes one. He makes all his characters live with him in his house. Nobody knows whether they are there at all or whether it is all imagination. A great man.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 99
- He knew that surprise does not become the magician, and is indeed apt to be fatal, for in that momentary loss of guard any attack upon the adept may succeed.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 92
- He pressed the button. With a dull roar the building swaying, swept up in a spraying fan of light and Pragman: the old gentleman and: as the explosion shattered: McDowell tap-tapping smiling and: it settled in a crumpled steaming dusty pile of rock and masonry.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 223
- He recalled he had not slept: the inharmonious night pulling him almost physically backward with a drooping revulsion into (what? when? who?) some unremembered dream? some unvisited locality? Had not some forgotten woman breathed the silver mail of her soul about him?
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 51
- He turns away, but with a slow claw-like hand I manage to catch his arm. "No, listen!" I say. "Do not misunderstand me, I am not blaming you or accusing you, I am long past that. Remember, I too have devoted a life to the law, I know its processes, I know that the workings of justice are often obscure. I am only trying to understand. I am trying to understand the zone in which you live. I am trying to imagine how you breathe and eat and live from day to day. But I cannot! That is what troubles me! If I were he, I say to myself, my hands would feel so dirty that it would choke me -- "
He wrenches himself free and hits me so hard in the chest that I gasp and stumble backwards. "You bastard!" he shouts. "You fucking old lunatic! Get out! Go and die somewhere!"
"When are you going to put me on trial?" I shout at his retreating back. He pays no need.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 126
- Himes's transformation into a "French" writer is characterized not by what his fiction loses in translation but by what it gains: namely, an involvement in French, and particularly surrealist, thinking about modes of writing that frustrate instrumentality through their irretrievable lapses and excesses of meaning.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 247
- Hitherto the marionettes had only laughed, or if they wept it had been with smiling grimaces and without the eloquence given by the tears now trickling down their cheeks and falling in streams on to the stage which had been the scene of so many cheerful farces.
Don Benjamin thought that the painful element in the drama would make the children cry, and his surprise knew no bounds when he saw them laugh more heartily than before, with wide open mouths and happy expressions. The sight of tears made the children laugh. The sight of blows made the children laugh...However, the little puppet went on for a long time using the device with the syringe, and making the marionettes cry to amuse the children.
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 53-54
- How could there be secrets here? Drive-through kitchen, state-of-the-art projection room, everything out in the open, no passages inside the walls, no hidden doors, all still too new. What could lie behind a front like this, when it's front all the way through?
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 191-192
- How long he lay there he did not know. The night had been throbbing silently about him. Suddenly it was as if the room had been jerked up and down twice or thrice, but with such infinite rapidity that the motion had been imperceptible, save that a thrilled commotion remained in the air, leaving the room pulsing. He saw that the old gentleman had reached under the table and had pulled a lever.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 22
- How long will we have to wait for a brand new laboratory where established ideas, no matter which, beginning with the most elementary ones, the ones most hastily exonerated, will be accepted only for purposes of study, contingent on an examination from top to bottom and by definition free from all preconceptions?
Source: Arcanum 17, p. 61
- How right-wing, Maxine wonders, does a person have to be to think of the New York Times as a left-wing newspaper?
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 105
- I am swinging gently in the air, bumping against the ladder, flailing with my feet. The drumbeat in my ears becomes slower and louder till it is all I can hear.
I am standing in front of the old man, screwing up my eyes against the wind, waiting for him to speak. The ancient gun still rests between his horse's ears, but it is not aimed at me. I am aware of the vastness of the sky all around us, and of the desert.
I watch his lips. At any moment now he will speak: I must listen carefully to capture every syllable, so that later, repeating them to myself, poring over them, I can discover the answer to a question which for the moment has flown like a bird from my recollection.
I can see every hair of the horse's mane, every wrinkle of the old man's face, every rock and furrow of the hillside.
The girl, with her black hair braided and hanging over her shoulder in barbarian fashion, sits her horse behind him. Her head is bowed, she too is waiting for him to speak.
I sigh. "What a pity," I think. "It is too late now."
I am swinging loose. The breeze lifts my smock and plays with my naked body. I am relaxed, floating. In a woman's clothes.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 120
- I can see that weeks of hard work await the farmers. And at any moment their work can be brought to nothing by a few men armed with spades! How can we win such a war? What is the use of textbook military operations, sweeps and punitive raids into the enemy's heartland, when we can be bled to death at home?
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 100
- I clambered through the opening and found myself, not at once in a room, but crawling along the deepest window-ledge I have ever seen. When I reached the floor and jumped noisily down upon it, the open window seemed very far away and much too small to have admitted me.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 20
- I did not understand the significance of anything but I thought the scene was so real that much of my fear was groundless. I trod firmly beside the Sergeant, who was still real enough for anybody.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 113
- I don't like the kind of houses they build for themselves, don't like their taste, let alone Fischer's. Even the finest paintings they have hanging there, paintings I even like, seem like forgeries to me even when they've been proved to be genuine -- especially ten. There's something about them that kills art, even music -- I'm glad our child has left all that behind.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 228
- I felt my interior map expand to allow for the reality of this place, the corridor floor’s lumpy checkerboard mosaic, the cloying citrus of the superintendent’s disinfectant oil, the bank of dented brass mailboxes, and the keening of a dog from behind an upstairs door, alerted to the buzzer and my scuffling bootheels. I have trouble believing anything exists until I know it bodily.
Source: Chronic City, p. 9
- I have always refused to give up that wonderful strange power I have inside me and it becomes manifested when I am in harmonious communication with some other inspired being like myself.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 26
- I know somewhat too much; and from this knowledge, once one has been infected, there seems to be no recovering. I ought never to have taken my lantern to see what was going on in the hut by the granary. On the other hand, there was no way, once I had picked up the lantern, for me to put it down again. The knot loops in upon itself; I cannot find the end.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 21
- I should never have allowed the gates of the town to be opened to people who assert that there are higher considerations than those of decency.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 81
- I sleep all day and all night, barely disturbed by the chop-chop of picks behind the wall at my head or the faraway rumble of barrows and shouts of labourers. In my dreams I am again in the desert, plodding through endless space towards an obscure goal. I sigh and wet my lips. "What is that noise?" I ask when the guard brings my food. They are tearing down the houses built against the south wall of the barracks, he tells me: they are going to extend the barracks and build proper cells. "Ah yes," I say: "time for the black flower of civilization to bloom." He does not understand.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 79
- I swung round in amazement. Before me, almost blocking out the night, was an enormous policeman. He looked a policeman from his great size but I could see the dim sign of his buttons suspended straight before my face, tracing out the curvature of his great chest. His face was completely hidden in the dark and nothing was clear to me except his overbearing policemanship, his massive rearing of wide strengthy flesh, his domination and his unimpeachable reality. He dwelt upon my mind so strongly that I felt many times more submissive than afraid.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 156
- I think it is useful to differentiate between two kinds of doubleness in Chesterton's work because in the long run the differentiation might help us think about what is inside or outside modernism, and also help us think about our beliefs concerning modernism -- and concerning belief. What the anarchist Gregory stands for is the equivocal discourse associated by Chesterton with error -- with the kind of error that identifies God and 'elemental elf'. Double meaning never resolves, or exits from, the realm of equivocation and multiple significances. But what Syme stands for, after all, is both the detour of writing into double or multiple meaning and also writing's detour-transformed emergence into a new definiteness. I propose calling this second form of equivocation 'double-writing'...Double-writing uses indefiniteness and ambiguity to produce analytic revelations or thoughts about states of affairs whose direct portrayal can not be achieved without their being twinned, for a long albeit finally limited time, by an indirect portrayal.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 154-155
- I was already lost. "You're saying there's no world where there isn't a mentality to consider a world."
"There's just a gap," I suggested. "A lack."
"Hah! Very good. Yes. A lack, exactly. A potential event horizon. Everything is only potential until consciousness wakes up and says, let me have a look. Take for example the big bang. We explore the history of the creation of our universe, so the big bang becomes real. But only because we investigate. Another example: There are subatomic particles as far as we are willing to look. We create them. Consciousness writes reality, in any direction it looks -- past, future, big, small. Wherever we look we find reality forming in response."
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 170
- I was talking to a friend of yours last night, I said drily. I mean Mr Trellis. He has bought a ream of ruled foolscap and is starting on his story. He is compelling all his characters to live with him in the Red Swan Hotel so that he can keep an eye on them and see that there is no boozing.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 34-35
- I would like to pursue another hypothesis: namely, that Chesterton in 1908 as well as in 1936 wants his definite reading of his own book to mean that the path of definiteness can only be arrived at through double or multiple ambiguous and equivocal meanings, which are the necessary detour whereby a sure direction or aim, and a certain belief, are discovered and achieved. A hierarchy is intended: the means to certainty is equivocal, but only equivocation can clear a path for certainty, which then subordinates equivocation...It is necessary to be lost in order to be found might be another formula for this process.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 153-154
- Immediately after the pistol shots, the Zany's yells and the flight of Vasquez and his friend, the streets ran one after the other, all scantily clad in moonlight, and not knowing what had happened, while the trees in the square twisted their fingers together in despair because they could not announce the event either by means of the wind or the telephone wires. The streets arrived at the crossroads and asked one another where the crime had taken place, and then some hurried to the centre of the town and others to the outskirts, as if disorientated.
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 51
- It didn't matter if Cynthia Jalter didn't believe me. At that moment Dale Overling was truer than I was. Heartier, more substantial.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 63
- It is about this point in the play, in fact, that things really get peculiar, and a gentle chill, an ambiguity, begins to creep in among the words. Heretofore the naming of names has gone on either literally or as metaphor. But now, as the Duke gives his fatal command, a new mode of expression takes over. It can only be called a kind of ritual reluctance. Certain things, it is made clear, will not be spoken aloud; certain events will not be shown onstage; though it is difficult to imagine, given the excesses of the preceding acts, what these things could possibly be.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 51
- It seemed to Edward that Harvey always suspected him of putting on an act.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 336
- It seemed, it seemed, Edward thought; because one can only judge by appearances. How could Edward know Harvey wasn't putting on an act, as he so often implied that Edward did? To some extent we all put on acts.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 340
- It was always there and MacCruiskeen is certain that it was there even before that.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 107
- It was good to see my student so busy doing what I'd taught him to do. Looking for the hidden data, the facts that hide inside obvious things. The interdisciplinary dark matter. And a protégé confirmed my existence in the world. I felt grateful.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 100
- It was hard to force Evan and Garth to notice my questions, but I learned a few things. They'd lived in the Dada-ready-made reality for about a week, wading through the ball bearings and wool, feeding on ice cream and barbecued duck. Then they'd climbed back over the table, into Lack, and emerged here, where they settled unquestioningly. Sure, they argued about whether they were alive or dead, whether they'd woken from a long dream or fallen into one, but they also argued over the location of specific fire hydrants, and about the chances of judging the amount of ink left in a ballpoint pen by weighing it in your hand. They were happy here. They were home.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 203
- It was the nature of that world to produce not so much evil art as bad art.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 149
- It's not the news that makes the newspaper, but the newspaper that makes the news.
Source: Numero Zero, p. 60
- Job's problem was partly a lack of knowledge. He was without access to any system of study which would point to the reason for his afflictions. He said specifically, "I desire to reason with God," and expected God to come out like a man and state his case...Everybody talked but nobody told him anything about the reason for his sufferings. Not even God when he appeared. Our limitations of knowledge make us puzzle over the cause of suffering, maybe it is the cause of suffering itself...As I say, we are plonked here in the world and nobody but our own kind can tell us anything. It isn't enough. As for the rest, God doesn't tell.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 418-419
- Laughter bubbled up like clouds of smoke...Smoke bubbled up like clouds of laughter...Bubbles smoked up like the laughter of clouds. I imagined the bobbling heads that made up the maze as balloons, tied to the floor by the strings of our bodies. Then I pictured them cut loose, to bob and roll, still laughing and smoking, along the surface of the ceiling.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 179
- Maia didn't appear to be too upset by the objection and shrugged us off. "I mean the opposite of the eye of the storm or the minister who thunders. For example, Venice is the Amsterdam of the South, sometimes imagination exceeds reality, given that I'm a racist, hard drugs are the first step towards smoking joints, don't make yourself at home, let's stand on ceremony, those who pursue pleasure are always happy, I may be senile but I'm not old, Greek is all maths to me, success has gone to my head, Mussolini did a lot of bad after all, Paris is horrid though Parisians are nice, in Rimini everyone stays on the beach and never sets foot in the clubs."
"Yes, and a whole mushroom was poisoned by one family. Where do you get all this tripe?" asked Braggadocio.
Source: Numero Zero, p. 110-111
- May the recent events have taught France and the world that liberty can only subsist in a dynamic state, that it becomes denatured and negates itself at the moment when one makes of it a museum piece...Humanity's aspirations for liberty must always be given the power to recreate themselves endlessly; that's why it must be thought of not as a state but as a living force bringing about continual progress...Liberty is not, like liberation, a struggle against sickness, it is health.
Source: Arcanum 17, p. 126,128
- Modernism tends to stand for the cultivation of equivocal and multiple meanings, not for 'double-writing'. If modernism rightly stands for a cultural breakthrough of a new emphasis on indefiniteness...then Chesterton's double-writing is outside modernism. But I have found myself wondering, thanks to Chesterton, if modernism is not also outside of itself....Chesterton wouldn't be an outsider at all, if the supposition were tenable. To be tenable, we should have to discover two sides or simultaneous structures in notable modernist works: a side that is multiple and ambiguous in meaning, and a side in which there is a contrasting unequivocal resolution of multiplicity and ambiguity. I think the more we look for these simultaneously present structures the more we will find them; we tend not to find them, I suggest, because we insist that one side is modernist, and the other is outside modernism. In modern narratives about anarchist-terrorism these two sides are most prominent; indeed, this particular political thematics, I suggest, magnetizes narrative artists because it makes vivid the tense conflict and collaboration of ambiguous meaning and disambiguating resolution.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 155
- Most of the reporters were younger than Harvey. One, a bearded Swede, was old, paunchy. He alone seemed to know what the Book of Job was. He asked Harvey, 'Would you say that you yourself are in the position of Job, in so far as you are a suspicious character in the eyes of the world, yet feel yourself to be perfectly innocent?'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 417
- MOUTH: I don't understand anything about the noises of the next war.
Source: The Gas Heart, p. 47
- My brain was like an ivy near where swallows fly. Thoughts were darting around me like a sky that was loud and dark with birds but none came into me or near enough. Forever in my ear was the click of heavy shutting doors, the whine of boughs trailing their loose leaves in a swift springing and the clang of hobnails on metal plates.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 124
- My long dark hair is soft like cat's fur, I am beautiful. This is quite a shock because I have just realised that I am beautiful and there is something that I must do about it, but what? Beauty is a responsibility like anything else, beautiful women have special lives like prime ministers but that is not what I really want, there must be something else...
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 15
- My new work was irrelevant and strong.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 8
- Never a body here always the murder without proof
Never the sky always the silence
Never freedom but for freedom
[extract from "No Grounds for Prosecution" by Andre Breton, translated by Paul Auster]
Source: Collected Poems, p. 170
- Nice? Yes. The terms "nice" and "niceness" said nothing, nothing whatever, about what a person was capable of. It was just that one shouldn't trust nice people too much.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 37
- No bombs, no machine pistols, no "hot" birthday cakes -- just an accident in the bathtub -- what would they get out of that? What good would it do them to prove their power without being able to demonstrate that power publicly?
Source: The Safety Net, p. 98
- Oedipa found herself after five minutes sucked utterly into the landscape evil Richard Wharfinger had fashioned for his seventeenth-century audiences, so preapocalyptic, death-wishful, sensually fatigued, unprepared, a little poignantly, for that abyss of civil war that had been waiting, cold and deep, only a few years ahead of them.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 46
- Once again he had to enter the gray area where discretion and security collide and one or the other could explode. If someone had ever predicted that it would one day be part of his security duties to find out in which month and by whom a woman was pregnant, he would have laughed.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 194
- Out of the darkness, like the face of a drowned man out of the sea, the house across the street was rising pale and expressionless. It was near dawn. The blanket crawled over him like a caterpillar.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 39
- Policemen are not human beings so how can police dogs be animals?
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 14
- Recently I do not go in for much coherent thought, however on that occasion I actually made a plan of action.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 9
- Ruth, Harvey thought as he did so, has been crying a lot over the past few weeks, crying and laughing. I noticed, but I didn't notice.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 411
- San Narciso was a name; an incident among our climatic records of dreams and what dreams became among our accumulated daylight, a moment's squall-line or tornado's touchdown among the higher, more continental solemnities -- storm-systems of group suffering and need, prevailing winds of affluence. There was the true continuity, San Narciso had no boundaries. No one knew yet how to draw them. She had dedicated herself, weeks ago, to making sense of what Inverarity had left behind, never suspecting that the legacy was America.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 137
- She could not bear to be only a terrifying dream.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 14
- She could, at this stage of things, recognize signals like that, as the epileptic is said to -- an odour, colour, pure piercing grace note sounding his seizure. Afterwards it is only this signal, really dross, this secular announcement, and never what is revealed during the attack, that he remembers. Oedipal wondered whether, at the end of this (if it were supposed to end), she too might not be left with only compiled memories of clues, announcements, intimations, but never the central truth itself, which must somehow each time be too bright for her memory to hold; which must always blaze out, destroying its own message irreversibly, leaving an overexposed blank when the ordinary world came back.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 71
- She did not recognise captivity; she thought herself free.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 80
- She fell asleep almost at once, but kept waking from a nightmare about something in the mirror, across from her bed. Nothing specific, only a possibility, nothing she could see.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 76
- She glanced down the corridor of Cohen's rooms in the rain and saw, for the very first time, how far it might be possible to get lost in this.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 72
- She heard him pacing around his office. Unearthly siren-sounds converged on them from all over the night. 'There is a face,' Hilarius said, 'that I can make. One you haven't seen; no one in this country has. I have only made it once in my life, and perhaps today in central Europe there still lives, in whatever vegetable ruin, the young man who saw it. He would be, now, about your age. Hopelessly insane. His name was Zvi. Will you tell the "police", or whatever they are calling themselves tonight, that I can make that face again? That it has an effective radius of a hundred yards and drives anyone unlucky enough to see it down forever into the darkened oubliette among the terrible shapes, and secures the hatch irrevocably above them? Thank you.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 103
- She moved through it carrying her fat book, attracted, unsure, a stranger, wanting to feel relevant but knowing how much of a search among alternate universes it would take. For she had undergone her own educating at a time of nerves, blandness and retreat among not only her fellow students but also most of the visible structure around and ahead of them, this having been a national reflex to certain pathologies in high places only death had had the power to cure, and this Berkeley was like no somnolent Siwash out of her own past at all, but more akin to those Far Eastern or Latin American universities you read about, those autonomous culture media where the most beloved of folklores may be brought into doubt, cataclysmic of dissents voiced, suicidal of commitments chosen -- the sort that bring governments down.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 77-78
- She tried to remember what she had been bidden, but she could not. That did not matter; in this blessed place it would be shown to her. She walked slowly up the platform, and as she went the whole air and appearance o the station changed. With every step she took a vibration passed through the light; the people about her became shadowy; her own consciousness of them was withdrawn. She moved in something of a trance, unaware of the quickening of the process of time, or rather of her passing through time...These were the precincts of felicity.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 48
- She was becoming strange to herself; her words, even her intonations, were foreign. In a foreign land she was speaking a foreign tongue; she spoke and did not know what she said. Her mouth was uttering its own habits, but the meaning of those habits was not her own.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 13
- Sid kills the running lights and the motor, and they settle in behind Island of Meadows, at the intersection of Fresh and Arthur Kills, toxicity central, the dark focus of Big Apple waste disposal, everything the city has rejected so it can keep on pretending to be itself, and here unexpectedly at the heart of it is this 100 acres of untouched marshland, directly underneath the North Atlantic flyway, sequestered by law from development and dumping, marsh birds sleeping in safety.
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 166
- Since the incident with Kortschede, the last vestiges of irony had vanished from their comments on security surveillance; only Bleibl occasionally permitted himself a passing shot. Their relations with the guards had changed too, since Kortschede's fit their friendly but sometimes patronizing manner was no longer possible, and since the affair of Pliefger's birthday cake joking wasn't possible either -- there was work for Kiernter the psychologist, there were long conferences with Holzpuke (in charge of security), who asked for forbearance, after all the guards were only doing their duty, and as for themselves, surely they wanted to safeguard their lives, so they must accept apparent pedantries -- such as a guard inspecting the toilet before one of them used it, or "lady visitors" being closely scrutinized -- and, please, escapades such as those occasionally indulged in by Käthe should be avoided. Yet they should have realized that there was no such thing as security, either internal or external; he knew that all these measures hd to be yet would prevent nothing.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 32
- Sleeping and waking are not quite as distinctive as they used to be, I often mix them up. My memory is full of all sorts of stuff which is not, perhaps, in chronological order, but there is a lot of it. So I pride myself on having an excellent faculty of miscellaneous recall.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 23
- So she...entered the city again, the infected city. And spent the rest of the night finding the image of the Trystero post horn...What fragments of dreams came had to do with the post horn. Later possibly, she would have trouble sorting the night into real and dreamed...In Golden Gate Park she came on a circle of children in their nightclothes, who told her they were dreaming the gathering. But that the dream was really no different from being awake, because in the mornings when they got up they felt tired, as if they'd been up most of the night. When their mothers thought they were out playing they were really curled in cupboards of neighbours' houses, in platforms up in trees, in secretly-hollowed nests inside hedges, sleeping, making up for these hours. The night was empty of all terror for them, they had inside their circles an imaginary fire, and needed nothing but their own unpenetrated sense of community. They knew about the post horn, but nothing of the chalked game Oedipa had seen on the sidewalk. You used only one image and it was a jump-rope game, a little girl explained: you stepped alternately in the loop, the bell, and the mute, while your girlfriend sang:
Tristoe, Tristoe, one, two, three,
Turning taxi from across the sea...
'Thurn and Taxis, you mean?'
They'd never heard it that way. Went on warming their hands at an invisible fire. Oedipa, to retaliate, stopped believing in them.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 88-90
- So sound moved him more than hearing, vision more than sight, and his instinct sucked Truth, like honey, from the flower of Life, disdaining the syllogistic distillation of the comb. Briefly, he listened to the melody, not the words, of the Eternal Song, and he was just the person -- perhaps the only one alive -- to imagine there was any discoverable meaning in such a passage as this, when he found it in a book.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 41
- Sometimes such a visitor, influenced by fashion, would declare himself for Idealism but all I could see was yet another shame-faced realist, like so many well-meaning men these days, subsisting on a compromise between Kant and Comte. By abandoning the commonplace notion of reality for the concept of reality within they believe they have made a great leap forward -- but their idol, the Noumenon, has been exposed as a very mediocre piece of plaster...[T]here are other experiences that the mind can embrace which are equally fundamental such as chance, illusion, the fantastic, dreams. These different types of experience are brought together and reconciled in one genre, Surreality.
Source: A Wave of Dreams, p. 16-17
- Soupault's modernist update of the dime novel franchise recasts Carter, the white American detective, as the agent in an oneiric narrative of pursuit in which Carter dies.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 101
- That night she dreams the usual Manhattan-though-not-exactly she has visited often in dreams, where, if you go far enough out any avenue, the familiar grid begins to break down, get wobbly and interwoven with suburban arterials, until she arrives at a theme shopping mall which she understands has been deliberately designed to look like the aftermath of a terrible Third World battle, charred and dilapidated, abandoned hovels and burned-out concrete foundations set in a natural amphitheater so that two or more levels of shops run up a fairly steep slope, everything sorrowful rust and sepia, and yet here at these carefully distressed outdoor cafes sit yuppie shoppers out having a cheerful cup of tea, ordering yuppie sandwiches stuffed full of arugula and goat cheese, behaving no differently than if they were at Woodbury Common or Paramus.
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 196
- The "great constructions of the intellect" -- whether concepts such as Revolution, Justice, "Decency and Integrity," or movements such as surrealism and communism -- are never truly revolutionary or shocking because their aim of imposing a conceptual order fails to indulge the "desire to see" that resurrects L'Oeil de la Police, and even X Marks the Spot, from their idealism. Whereas human life, Bataille claims, "always more or less conforms to the image of a soldier obeying commands in his drill," the inverse is true of spectacles of horror. The "sudden cataclysms, great popular manifestations of madness, riots, enormous revolutionary slaughters" all manifest an inevitable backlash against this image.
In this context Sade becomes the true revolutionary to the extent that the "desire to see" which is exercised in his works is as cataclysmic and as unredeemable as the madness of crowds...[T]he Revolution was not the product of rhetoric or intentional political speech but the consequence of a collective desire to participate in Sade's scream...The screamer, according to Bataille, had truly stared into the darkest recesses of horror without seeking refuge in a "prison" of intellect, and this scream was itself seductive in turn.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 153
- The best we can do is acknowledge the fact that we are prisoners -- that we'll perish in security, perhaps from security.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 123
- The blood-red juice of dawn was staining the edges of the funnel of mountains encircling the town, as it lay like a crust of scurf in the plain. The streets were tunnels of shadows, through which the earliest workmen were setting out like phantoms in the emptiness of a world that was created anew every morning...
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 18
- The Clerk sat and spoke...A curious flatness was in his voice. He was practicing and increasing this, denying accents and stresses to his speech. Wise readers of verse do their best to submit their voices to the verse, letting the words have their own proper value, and endeavour to leave to them their precise proportion and rhythm. The Clerk was going farther yet. He was removing meaning itself from the words...he turned, or sought to turn, words into mere vibrations.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 62
- The competition was now in full flow, and Fresia intervened once more. 'Why are aspirins different from iguanas? Because have you tried swallowing an iguana?'
"That's enough," said Simei. "This is schoolboy stuff. Don't forget, our readers aren't intellectuals. They haven't read about the surrealists, who used to make exquisite corpses, as they called them. Our readers would take it all seriously and think we were mad. Come on, we're fooling around, we have work to do."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 72-73
- The emissions from the power stations, already turned to clouds, moved across the sky, the effect was idyllic, as evocative of nature as in some Dutch paintings, or early Gainsboroughs and Constables.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 86
- The executive heard lewd laughter, zippers, the thump of shoes, heavy breathing, moans. He took his tie out of the gasoline and started to snigger. He closed the top on his Zippo. 'I hear laughing,' his wife said presently. 'I smell gasoline,' said the efficiency expert. Hand in hand, naked, the two proceeded to the kitchen. 'I was about to do the Buddhist monk thing,' explained the executive. 'Nearly three weeks it takes him,' marvelled the efficiency expert, ' to decide. You know how long it would've taken the IBM 7094? Twelve microseconds. No wonder you were replaced.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 87
- The fifth act, entirely an anticlimax, is taken up by the bloodbath Gennaro visits on the court of Squamuglia. Every mode of violent death available to Renaissance man, including a lye pit, land mines, a trained falcon with envenom'd talons, is employed. It plays, as Metzger remarked later, like a Road Runner cartoon in blank verse. At the end of it about the only character left alive in a stage dense with corpses is the colourless administrator, Gennaro.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 55
- The great enemy of mankind is opacity. This opacity is outside him and above all within him, where conventional ideas and all sorts of dubious defenses maintain it.
Source: Arcanum 17, p. 58
- The narrative [of Thursday] intends to argue that terrorists and anarchists do not exist, that only the fear of the existence of anarchy and terrorism exists; even so, the narrative itself, despite its intentional argumentation, makes God still look like a terrorist. It thereby makes the anti-modernist poet of law and order also look like his opposite.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 153
- The old gentleman known now to us as Picrolas once remarked: "A rose is loveliest in the parabolic moment when, decapitated by your walking stick, it sails for a yard or two through the sunlight and then falls, ruined, in the dust."
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 182
- The only way to look at Man is as the victim of his mirrors.
Source: A Wave of Dreams, p. 43
- The physics department, Alice included, specialized in the pursuit of tiny nothingness. Soft had the audacity to pursue a big nothingness. If his work succeeded the inflationary bubble would detach and grow into a universe tangential to ours. Another world. It would be impossible to detect, but equally real.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 3-4
- The possible thoughts of the security guards killed all spontaneity in him...It wasn't only the security measures that deterred him from simply walking to the village: it was also his legs, which no longer behaved as well as they used to, and he couldn't have said which deterred him more: his legs or that inescapable surveillance.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 23
- The puppet-master spat green, purple, orange and every other colour. While he was kicking his wife's chest and stomach, four drunken men were crossing the far side of the square carrying the Zany's body on a stretcher. Doña Venjamon crossed herself. The public urinals wept for the dead man, and the wind made a noise like the wings of turkey-buzzards in the pale dusty-colored trees in the park.
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 53
- The scene was real and incontrovertible, and at variance with the talk of the Sergeant, but I knew that the Sergeant was talking the truth and if it was a question of taking my choice, it was possible that I would have to forego the reality of all the simple things my eyes were looking at.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 75
- The silence in the room was so unusually quiet that the beginning of it seemed rather loud when the utter stillness of the end of it had been encountered.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 91-92
- The soldiery tyrannizes the town. They have held a torchlight meeting on the square to denounce "cowards and traitors" and to affirm collective allegiance to the Empire. WE STAY has become the slogan of the faithful: the words are to be seen daubed on walls everywhere. I stood in the dark on the edge of the huge crowd that night (no one was brave enough to stay at home) listening to these words chanted ponderously, menacingly from thousands of throats. A shiver ran down my back. After the meeting the soldiers led a procession through the streets. Doors were kicked in, windows broken, a house set on fire. Till late at night there was drinking and carousing on the square...Now that they seem to be all that stands between us and destruction, these foreign soldiers are anxiously courted.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 130-131
- The steel finger-nails of fever were clawing at his forehead. Dissociation of ideas. A fluctuating world seen in a mirror. Fantastic disproportion. Hurricane of delirium. Vertiginous flight, horizontal, vertical, oblique, newly-born and dead in a spiral...
Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 20
- The supposition that modernism as we have known it is inside out, so that we haven't known it much; that it has the two-sided structure just proposed gains in credibility once the proposal is brought to bear on literary history. Terrorism (which Chesterton conflates, rightly or wrongly, with anarchism) is a central formal inspiration and a central thematics of Anglo-American and international fiction, throughout the century. Ignorance of the continuity has helped create another outside to modernism, our so-called postmodernism; but the continuity and the impact of anarchist terrorism on literary culture suggests that we have only various modernisms to contemplate, and not a divide between one modernism and another, of course, because Chesterton identifies, as the original terrorist, the god who blows up Job, Chesterton thinks there is more to modernism than modernity.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 155-156
- The usual slight distinction between shape and hue seemed wholly to have vanished. Colour was more intensely image than it can usually manage to be, even in that art. A beam of wood painted amber was more than that; it was light which had become amber in order to become wood.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 17
- The vagueness, the dreaming, the doubtful hanging-about are permitted only on the borders of intellectual life, and in this world they were rare. Neither angels not insects know them, but only bewildered man.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 46
- The victims, the martyrs, only served to enhance the power of the media: it was a kind of sorcery, an irrationalism, enough to drive one into total paralysis.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 133
- The world he could see from the window gaily mocked him with a promise of being an image of the painting...
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 84
- Then came the weird pervasive chocolate smell that floated like a cloud over Manhattan. At first you thought it was local, you'd passed an unseen bakery, smelled something wafting, chocolate-sweet, stirring cravings and memories both. You'd scan the area, find nothing, continue on, but the smell was with you everywhere, with you in your apartment, too, though the windows were tight. On the street again, you'd see other glancing up, sniffing air, bemused. And soon confirming: yes, they smelled the same thing...Someone said the mayor had already given a statement, enigmatically terse, maybe hiding something. The chocolate cloud tugged Manhattan's mind in two directs, recalling inevitably the gray fog that had descended or some said been unleashed on the lower part of the island, two or three years ago, and that had yet to release its doomy grip on that zone. Theories floated in the sweetened breeze, yet no investigation could pin a source for the odor.
Source: Chronic City, p. 205-206
- Then what is up the lane?
I cannot say. If he said that eternity was up the lane and left it at that, I would not kick so hard. But when we are told that we are coming back from there in a lift -- well, I, begin to think that he is confusing night-clubs with heaven. A lift!
Surely, I argued, if we concede that eternity is up the lane, the question of the lift is a minor matter. That is a case for swallowing a horse and cart and straining at a flea.
No. I bar the lift.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 109
- There have been incidents in which soldiers have gone into shops, taken what they wanted, and left without paying. Of what use is it for the shopkeeper to raise the alarm when the criminals and the civil guard are the same people?
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 123
- These and other attentions and courtesies had long been accepted by him as indications of his increasingly rigorous imprisonment, in which everything, every courteous gestures, was transformed into both surveillance and threat.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 29
- They all knew of his weakness, of course, but didn't know where it originated -- only Käthe, he had told her all about it, yet even she didn't know that it was the same with cigarettes as with the milk soup: that taste, that smell, that Virginia aroma -- he never found it again, never found it, kept looking for it, probably smoked to find it again, and never did.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 35
- They fled and escaped from actuality. Unknowingly, they spoke as he did, knowing; therefore they were his servants -- until they dissolved and were lost.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 101
- Two months they had been together now and their crimes had been many and foul enough, as they wielded the x-ray bullet.
But it had been (or Charles had thought it so) lighthearted and young. He had quieted his soul -- the old, old story! -- with a list of his misfortunes, with a tale of the world's misdeeds. He pictured himself a latter-day cavalier, a modern Robin Hood, astride the machine as the others bestrode their horses. He had told himself that he had robbed the rich to feed the poor. He had -- ah! now, with a sickened courage he looked back at it all; he knew now the hideous brain that had urged him on; he saw himself for the fool that he had been.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 154-155
- Visibly, it was as if a snake of fire had wriggled out from the hooded orifice of the machine. Swift beyond sight, it had run down the thin and unswerving cylinder that marked the path of the x-ray bullet. The man's head -- the brain Charles Dograr watched -- jerked backward, as if the snake had struck...it trembled a little...then fell slowly sidewise out of the disk of Charles' vision.
The old gentleman, unconcernedly, began to reverse the focus.
"I'm tired of practicing on flies," he remarked.
Charles Dograr's breast deflated on his terror as on a ball of iron. One by one, the objects through which their gaze had passed reappeared for a moment (as the x-ray eye of the machine retrieved its path) then vanished irretrievably in the night.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 34-35
- Was Hamlet mad? Was Trellis mad? It is extremely hard to say. Was he a victim of hard-to-explain hallucinations? Nobody knows. Even experts do not agree on these vital points...The more one studies the problem, the more fascinated one becomes and incidentally the more one postulates a cerebral norm...One man will think he has a glass bottom and will fear to sit in case of breakage. In other respects he will be a man of great intellectual force and will accompany one in a mental ramble throughout the labyrinths of mathematics or philosophy so long as he is allowed to remain standing throughout the disputations. Another man will be perfectly polite and well conducted except that he will in no circumstances turn otherwise than to the right and indeed will own a bicycle so constructed that it cannot turn otherwise than to that point. Others will be subject to colours and will attach undue merit to articles that are red or green or white merely because they bear that hue. Some will be exercised and influenced by the texture of a cloth or by the roundness or angularity of an object. Numbers, however, will account for a great proportion of unbalanced and suffering humanity. One man will rove the streets seeking motor-cars with numbers that are divisible by seven. Well known, alas, is the case of the poor German who was very fond of three and who made each aspect of his life a thing of triads. He went home one evening and drank three cups of tea with three lumps of sugar in each, cut his jugular with a razor three times and scrawled with a dying hand on a picture of his wife good-bye, good-bye, good-bye.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 217-218
- We were shown around cheap dream manufactories and shops full of obscure dramas. It was a splendid cinema in which the roles were played by our old friends. We lost sight of them and we went to find them again always in the same place. They gave us rotten dainties and we told them about our plans for future happiness. They fixed their eyes on us, they spoke: can one really remember those base words, their sleep-sick lays?
Source: The Magnetic Fields, p. 26
- What did she so desire to escape from? Such a captive maiden, having plenty of time to think, soon realizes that her tower, its height and architecture, are like her ego only incidental: and what really keeps her where she is is magic, anonymous and malignant, visited on her from outside and for no reason at all. having no apparatus except gut fear and female cunning to examine this formless magic, to understand how it works, how to measure its field strength, count its lines of forces, she may fall back on superstition, or take up a useful hobby like embroidery, or go mad, or marry a disc jockey. If the tower is everywhere and the knight of deliverance no proof against its magic, what else?
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 11
- What has made it impossible for us to live in time like fish in water, like birds in air, like children? It is the fault of Empire! Empire has created the time of history. Empire has located its existence not in the smooth recurrent spinning time of the cycle of the seasons but in the hagged time of rise and fall, of beginning and end, of catastrophe. Empire dooms itself to live in history and plot against history. one thought alone preoccupies the submerged mind of Empire: how not to end, how not to die., how to prolong its era. By day it pursues its enemies. It is cunning and ruthless, it sends its bloodhounds everywhere. By night it feeds on images of disaster: the sack of cities, the rape of populations, pyramids of bones, acres of desolation. A mad vision yet a virulent one: I, wading in the ooze, am no less infected with it than the faithful Colonel Joll as he tracks the enemies of Empire through the boundless desert, sword unsheathed to cut down barbarian after barbarian...
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 133
- What Syme sees now [in Chesterton's Thursday] is not indeterminacy, but new certainty. The anarchist and the ruler are alike, not because they are each other's doubles, but because each of them separately doubles a third -- and very surprising -- figure: the figure of a besieged but fierce and also generous justice, itself the product of obedience to law. Justice is the law-serving energy, the passion and force which we miseries by the names anarchism and terrorism. We are wrong to think terrorism is the opposite of justice. The character of the latter is for Chesterton -- and for Syme in his moment of 'seeing' -- unambiguously the same as the character of the former. But the 'one burst of blazing light', the ultimate revelation (digging deeper and blowing higher) -- that this is what there is to see, that justice too is terror -- arrives only thanks to the proliferation of double or multiple meanings...the product of strayed meanings is new meaning.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 162
- What the children revealed now, that no image could ever reproduce, was its sublime and superb thingliness (again this word came unbidden). Perks had been merciful, I now saw, leaving me to ascend here in solitude, to permit me first contact unmediated. I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to share. Like Georgina, I fought an urge to shed my clothes.
Time, among other things, was destroyed. I don't know how long I sagged there, feeling the cool plaster through the shoulders of my suit, a Saint Sebastian in continuous ecstatic surrender to the one ubiquitous and unceasing arrow of the chaldron streaming toward me from above....In the chaldron's holistic force I also saw that Perkus's apparently schizophrenic inquiries all led to the same place, whether I could follow them or not. They sprang from the certainty that a thing as splendid as the chaldron could be hidden, hogged, privatized by the mayor and other overlords. This theft in turn described the basic condition of Manhattan and the universe. Whatever Perkus mourned or beckoned from the brink of vanishing -- Morrison Groom and his fabulous ruined films, Brando, the polar bear and Norman Mailer, ellipsis, every thwarted gasp of freedom -- all were here, sealed for safekeeping, and at the same time so healthy their promise grinned from the container.
Source: Chronic City, p. 333-334
- What's coming now is the very, very new era which nobody will look back on with longing.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 115
- What, after all, do I stand for besides an archaic code of gentlemanly behaviour towards captured foes, and what do I stand against except the new science of degradation that kills people on their knees, confused and disgraced in their own eyes?
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 108
- While one of the serf-sweepers was cleaning up the scattered fragments, Colin noticed Chick and Lisa who had just arrived on the other side of the rink. He waved to them, but as they did not see him he set off to meet them without taking the gyrator movement of the rink into account. The result was the rapid formation of a tremendous heap of people rushing to complain. Every second they were joined by a vast agglomeration of others, desperately beating their arms, their legs, their shoulders and their whole bodies in the air before collapsing on to the pile of the first fallen. As the sun had melted the surface of the ice, there was a horrible squelch under the heap of bodies.
In no time at all ninety per cent of the skaters were on the heap...
Source: Froth on the Daydream, p. 21-22
- Who does like it, anyway, always having the police all over the place with their transceivers and cameras on the street?
Source: The Safety Net, p. 54
- You may not believe in magic but something very strange is happening at this very moment.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 17
- [Blurtmehl speaking] "Yes, there's no such thing as security -- and yet there has to be a security system."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 101
- [From a semi-autobiographical novel written by Crevel:] "I accuse memory. Evil comes from what we ignore...so that memory is in reality a hallucination."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 72
- [Holzpuke] "No, but I have a few more questions for you -- about your friends. What you were saying just now -- that pride, that stubbornness, that being excluded -- or sense of being excluded -- those conclusions -- those ideas -- how big do you suppose it is, the group you have defined in this way?"
[Rolf] "You could figure that out very easily from your own files and those of other authorities working with you: we are all listed, aren't we -- it's not that we have a list of ourselves -- we don't know how many we are, but you should know, just take a look at this army, this phantom army -- review it -- let those hundreds of thousands of young women and men and their children parade before you, if only in your mind's eye, and ask yourself whether all their education, their potential intelligence, their strength and glory, exist merely to be kept under surveillance."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 239-240
- [N]ot even this was considered advisable now, since that day not long ago when one duck had veered off, in a completely unnatural way, from the flock that was so charmingly patterning the dark water; it swam toward the shore, and out of the bushes rushed Hendler, the young security guard, shouting "Take cover! Down!" and thrusting Kit and himself down onto the grass, flinging himself beside them, while the duck, which later turned out to be made of wood, ended its unnatural course at a projecting piece of turf and began to spin even more unnaturally. Handler had taken it for a floating bomb, camouflaged as a duck or hidden inside the duck. Fortunately he was mistaken...Ever since then he had been suspicious of the ducks, he even began to distrust the birds he had so long enjoyed observing. Presumably it was possible to develop remote-control mechanical birds which, filled with high explosives, would suddenly switch to horizontal flight and fly through an open window bearing havoc in their artificial breasts, in their artificial bellies..."Even the birds of the air aren't to be trusted anymore."...Come to think of it, mechanical birds were nothing new, and he recalled a conversation with Veronica on the terrace in Eickelhof, when Veronica had maintained that artificial birds flew "more naturally" than real ones, just as wound-up toy birds "walk more naturally than real ones..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 91-92,93
- [Offered in support of the notion of a continuous, central tradition around anarcho-terrorism from modernist to postmodernist literature], excerpted from postmodern remarks made to a novelist by a spokesman for terrorism...:
"The only possible heroes for our time...live willingly with death...Terror is the only meaningful act... Who do we take seriously? Only the lethal believer... Everything else is absorbed... Only the terrorist stands outside. The culture hasn't figured out how to assimilate him. It's confusing when [terrorists] kill the innocent. But this is...the language of being noticed, the only language the West understands... It's the novelist who understands the secret life, the rage that underlies obscurity and neglect. You're half murderers, most of you [novelists]."
These remarks from Don DeLillo's Mao II (1991) hark back to Chesterton's anarchist-terrorist poet Gregy, whose personal atmosphere is 'violent secrecy. The very empyrean [over his] head seemed to be a secret' , and who speaks on behalf of pairing 'the lawless of art and the art of lawlessness'. Chesterton calls what Gregy speaks up for as 'old cant' perhaps because in 1908 it was already a while since Alfred Jarry had taken to brandishing guns at literary banquets, where he put on an act as a terrorist.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 156
- [Surveillance] gave rise to tension, friction, intimate knowledge that should never have been allowed to turn into familiarities and yet did. It was difficult to behave all the time as if such things were normal...
Source: The Safety Net, p. 67
- [The old man] looked up smiling at Charles, whose eyes were shrunk fish-skins over his horrified soul.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 36
- [T]his constant surveillance was causing mental distress leading to psychic damage, and that anyway it was futile, for if they were going to strike at all it would be somewhere quite different.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 66
- [With reference to The Eater of Darkness] As the narrative unfolds, as if to intermit and oppose the unambiguous certainty of knowledge and power encoded in the weapon and its artist-inventor, the form of the unfolding ambiguities the tale's elements. The identity of the terrorist and of the narrator both lose outline and coherence; the inventor is frustrated by the narrator, and the attempt to capture the inventor and to bring him to justice fissions into multiple indeterminate plots. But there is a final surprise, one that exhibits the way Coates's typically modernist experimentation resolves itself into a double-writing. The ambiguation of the narrative reverses itself. We become more and more certain that the narrator's involvement with the terrorist and his invention has displaced the narrator's aggressions towards the beloved woman he's left behind in Paris. The resolution of the displacement brings the narrative elements out of the realm of ambiguous and uncertain impressions. In this result the machine is destroyed. But in a sense it is re-built: as the new sureness of knowledge the narrator has reached concerning his desires, with which he now is directly in touch, and in which he now fully trusts. The machine was the wrong model of this certain knowledge, but it was and remains a model, nevertheless. The light of sure knowledge not surprisingly is an eater of darkness.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 167-168
- [With regard to swallowing newspapers] So, after Blume, we'll swallow Küster, then Bobering, and it will all turn into a gray, horrible newspaper mush, with a few tiny dashes of liberalism. I have allowed our little paper to decay, I have allowed it to die..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 227