Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Topics of Quotes in Perspectives on Ideas, Vol. One.

Perspective on Ideas
Volume One
Compiled By
Raymond Stopper


angels and saints
beginnings and endings
Bertrand Russell
Blacks in America
body and soul
camp (lifestyle)
camp fire
capital punishment
cause and effect
childhood and children
Christ and Christianity
Civil Rights
Civil War
class (social)
cocktail parties
Cold War
common sense
competition and cooperation
conceit (pride)
concise expression
Constitution (U.S.)
critical thinking
Dark Ages
decision making
déjà vu
drill and routine
drugs and alcohol
ego and egotism
Emily Dickinson
ends and means
expert and expertise
fat man
Francis Bacon
free speech
free will
George Eliot
German dictatorship
Greek literature
handwriting and social class
heresy and orthodoxy
indecent humor
Indian summer
insurance salesman
itching and scratching
Judgment Day
[JF] Kennedy
King Arthur
knight errantry
legislating and legislators
letter to the editor
Lost Generation
Mae West
male and female
Martin Luther King
mass movement
men and gods
men and women
mental state
middle age
Middle Ages
middle class
moral responsibility
moral victory
movies and books
National Socialism
Native Americans
New England
North and South
nuclear holocaust
old age
olive trees
Oriental spirit
parents and children
Peace Corps
personal relationship
point of view
political conventions
Pony Express
present and future
press (the)
press conference
problem solving
public opinion
public relations
right and wrong
roller coaster
rural life
San Francisco
simulations and virtual reality
small town
social behavior
superior person
team and teamwork
thinking and thought
true believer
unity and multiplicity
wives and husbands
wood pile
word choice

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Volume One: List of Works from Which Quotes Taken

Perspectives on Ideas
Volume One
Compiled By
Raymond Stopper

List of Works from Which Quotes Were Taken

Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years. Sandburg, Carl. NY: Dell Publishing Co., Inc. 1926 (1960). Abraham Lincoln’s character was complex—melancholy, humorous, thoughtful. An avid newspaper reader whose sense of the past came from books.

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years 1861-1865. Sandburg, Carl. NY: Dell Publishing Co., Inc. 1925 (1954). Lincoln’s purpose in the Civil War was to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery. The uncontrolled freedom of the press to insult his character probably led to creating an environment that encouraged his assassination.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The. Twain, Mark. NY: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1884 (1982). Mark Twain. Whether to do the right thing according to the society of his time—turn Jim, the escaped slave, in to authorities or to do the wrong thing—set Jim free.

Americans, The: The Colonial Experience. Boorstin, Daniel J. New York: Vintage Books. 1958. The Puritans created a theocracy; the Virginians tried to duplicate English society.

Best and the Brightest, The. Halberstam, David. New York: Random House. 1972. JFK’s men became completely different when they worked for LBJ. Picked not as representative of the population, but because they were the brightest.

Blithedale Romance, The. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1852 (1983). Less a romance than a novel. An early American feminist story. View of the obsessed reformer.

Booknotes: America’s Finest Authors on Reading, Writing, and the Power of Ideas. Lamb, Brian. New York: Time Books, Random House. 1997. On C-Span, Brian Lamb interviewed only people who wrote nonfiction. He would have nothing to do with fiction. Questions Brian Lamb asked on his program, Booknotes: Where do you write? Do you use a computer? How did you research this? What first got you interested in writing about this? How did you get a publisher’s attention? Why are all these folks in your dedication?

Brothers Karamazov, The. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. NY: Airmont Publishing Co. 1879-1880 (1966). All of the brothers, in one way or another, contributed to the murder of their father.

Civilization: A Personal View. Clark, Kenneth. New York and Evanston: Harper & Row Publishers. 1969. Civilization needs confidence, energy and creativity. Civilization is fragile and can be destroyed.

Complete Plays of Aristophanes. Used the traditional freedom of Old Comedy to ridicule public figures, institutions and even the gods. His favorite butts were Cleon and Euripides. Also Socrates. Was conservative in his views, disapproving of Euripides’ humanizing of the gods and heroes. Another indication of the license permitted Old Comedy is the open but never prurient obscenity of the plays. His masterpiece is The Birds. Birds found “Cloudcuckooland,” a city in the clouds, to prevent the smoke from sacrifices to the gods from reaching them. The gods capitulate.

Country Doctor, A. Jewett, Sarah Orne. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1884 (1994). Nan faced a choice: become a doctor or get married; you couldn’t do both. She chose to become a doctor against society’s expectations.

Country of the Pointed Firs, The. Jewett, Sarah Orne. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1896 (1994). Jewett captures the colorful language of the people of the rural seacoast of Maine and the richness and loneliness of their lives.

Criticism: The Major Texts. Bate, Walter Jackson, ed. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. 1952. . From Plato and Aristotle to Matthew Arnold and Edmund Wilson.

Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Pope John Paul II. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1994. The God of Catholicism, unlike the God or goal of Islam and Buddhism is a God that invites our souls to unite with Him.

Deephaven. Jewett, Sarah Orne. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1877 (1994). An idyllic summer vacation spent by two young girls in a declining Maine seaport town.

Don Quixote of La Mancha. Cervantes, Miguel de. New York: The New American Library of World Literature, Inc. 1605, 1615 (1964). Reading chivalric romances leads a gaunt country gentleman and his companion Sancho to fight a largely imaginary world. If for no other reason, read this classic novel for the steady stream of proverbs.

Double Helix, The: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA. Watson, James D. New York: Atheneum. 1968. Created the model of how genetic directions are written and transmitted. Science is not the well-planned and objective process it is supposed to be.

Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do. Third Edition. Gross, Gerald, ed. New York: Grove Press. 1993 (1962, 1985). Describes what an editor does and the process of editing.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Essays and Lectures. New York: Literary Classics of the United States. 1803-1882 (1983 Emerson’s unit of thought is the epigrammatic sentence. His use of images created poetic prose. His ideas are often cryptic, requiring reflection and interpretation.

Emma. Austen, Jane. London: Oxford University Press. 1816. Emma tries to manipulate people and therefore puts herself into embarrassing situations. She learns to recognize her shortcomings.

End Zone. DeLillo, Don. New York: Pocket Books. 1973. A novel that reveals the psychology of playing competitive college football. The players’ lives are defined by football.

Fanshawe: A Tale. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1828. Scholarly ascetic saves girl from kidnapping. Refuses money and an offer of marriage from the girl. Returns to his studies and dies young.

Flowering of New England, The. Brooks, Van Wyck. New York: EF Dutton and Company, Inc. 1936 (1952). Tells the story of the New England Renaissance in the period between the Revolution and the Civil War. It was a springtime surge of energy and intellect, a revolution against theology, which had crushed the human spirit and confidence. It was an age of scholarship and high standards. Noah Webster sought to standardize the English language to bind the Union. Emerson spoke to the individual in each of his hearers. The issue of slavery: Channing’s book showed the effects on the slave and the masters. If Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin didn’t start the Civil War, it certainly contributed to it. A sense of nostalgia for rural childhood. Agassiz: love and appreciation for nature. It was an exciting time to be alive.

Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley. Christianson, Gale. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1990. Haunting and melancholy style for which he is especially remembered. Bridged the two cultures, science and art. Loren’s themes: desolation, loneliness, autumn winds, cold and death…. Loomis: “I think the author’s [Eiseley’s] real value is in his ability to make us aware, to shake up our egotistic complacency, of the unfathomable mystery of life and the wonder of the world.” His is the myth of the loner gazing down from the mountain slope, of the solitary hiker in the woods, of man against society giving permanent form to Thoreau’s dream of turning his back on an impoverished world of polluted skies and teeming cities. Eiseley’s ability to evoke powerful visual images. Integrated poetry and prose; could hardly tell the difference. Epitaph: “We loved the earth but could not stay.”

From Time to Time: A Novel. Finney, Jack. NY: Simon & Schuster. 1995. Jack Finney. Return to the past and an attempt by a 20th-century character to prevent WWI. The attempt to rewrite history fails because of the sinking of the Titanic.

Future Shock. Toffler, Alvin. New York: Bantam Books. 1971. Coping with too much change in too short a time. Specifies the many types of changes with which the modern citizen must deal.

German Dictatorship, The: The Origins, Structure and Effects of National Socialism. Bracher, Karl Dietrich. New York: Praegar Publishers. 1970. “The German dictatorship has failed, but German democracy has not yet been secured.”

Great Gatsby, The. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1925 (1953). Gatsby attempts to relive the past and his love for Daisy. In spite of his fabulous parties, when he is shot to avenge a killing he did not commit, no one attends his funeral.

Greek Way, The. Hamilton, Edith. New York: Time, Inc. 1930 (1963). The ancient Greeks faced the world with candor and joy, created the scientific spirit and championed the mind in an irrational world.

House of the Seven Gables, The. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. New York: Literary Classics of the United States. 1851 (1983). The evils of one generation are eventually resolved by a future generation. The heir of the curser marries the heir of the cursed.

Iliad. In Anthology of World Masterpieces in One Volume. Homer. New York and London: WW Norton & Company. 800 BC (1980). Events of a few days near the end of the Trojan war, focusing on the withdrawal of Achilles from the contest and the disastrous effects of this act on the Greek campaign. The gods take sides. Achilles goes into battle knowing he is going to die. Achilles kills Hector who has run around the city three times before standing and fighting. Took place in the 13th century B.C. Four centuries later, the material was organized and attributed to Homer. Achilles embraces certain death rather than live a long life without glory.

Immense Journey, The. Eiseley, Loren. New York: Time, Inc. 1946 (1957). Series of essays concerned with the meaning of evolution. Eiseley views evolution as a continuing process, continuing to change to become—who knows what?

Innocents Abroad, The, or the New Pilgrims’ Progress. Twain, Mark. NY: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1869 (1984). Twain looked on hallowed European landmarks with a fresh and humorous point of view and without reverence for the past.

Justice at Nuremberg. Conot, Robert E. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. 1983. The purposes of the trial of the Nazi leaders at Nuremberg were to convict organizations and the individuals within them of conspiracy to kill five million Jews, to reveal the horror of the Nazi regime and to condemn wars of aggression in the future.

Kennedy. Sorenson, Theodore C. New York: Bantam Books. 1966. JFK sought the Presidency to get things done. Questioned, listened and learned. Knew that his most important role was to elucidate, educate and explain. His greatest lesson: never trust the experts. After listening to advice, the President made the decision.

Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Vol. One. Boswell, James. New York: EP Dutton & Co., Inc. 1791 (1949). Johnson’s biography is made up of trifling incidents as well as significant events. Boswell stage-managed encounters between Johnson and others. Turned a wealth of detail into a perceptive, lifelike portrait.

Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher. Thomas, Lewis. New York: the Viking Press. 1974. Cells are complex ecosystems. Evolution is a game with only the winners staying at the table. Every creature is interdependent.

Lolita. Nabokov, Vladimir. NY: Berkeley Medallion Books. 1955. A record of the author’s love affair with the English language. Combines parody, fancy, literary puzzles and a satirical overview of American culture.

Marble Faun, The, or The Romance of Monte Beni. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1860 (1983). Pure and innocent “faun,” Donatello, is made human by his first sin, killing Miriam’s stalker. Largely a travelogue of Rome. Setting does not blend with plot.

Medea. Euripides. Falling in love with Jason, Medea helps him to steal the Golden Fleece and to murder her brother to delay their pursuers. She persuaded the three daughters of Jason’s enemy Pelias that she could rejuvenate him if they would cut him in pieces, which they did and Jason’s Argonauts captured the city. Although he owed most of his success to her, Jason later repudiates her in order to marry Glauce, daughter of Creon. Medea murders her two children by Jason and escapes in a chariot drawn by winged serpents to Athens, where she marries Aegeus.
Euripides attacked, at least by implication, many attitudes accepted by the Athenians: the subordinate position of women (Alcestis) and foreign women in particular (Medea)…. In Medea, the sharp-tongued heroine makes his criticism of the treatment of women abundantly clear. It was in this reduction of tragic figures to human proportions that laid the groundwork for the New Comedy that was to come.

Middlemarch. Eliot, George. New York: Book-of-the-Month Club. 1871-1872 (1992). Full study of a provincial town in a previous age focused on the thwarted idealism of Dorothea Brooke and Dr. Lydgate.

Minority Report: HL Mencken’s Notebooks. NY: Alfred A. Knopf. 1956. A random collection of cynical and ironic notes on a variety of subjects.

Montaigne: Selected Essays. The Charles Colton-W. Hazlitt Translation. Bates, Blanchard, ed. New York: The Modern Library (Random House). 1580, 1588, 1595 (1949). ). Montaigne’s essays give the impression of not being planned, of moving as the mind muses, from idea to idea. Contrast to five-paragraph essay.

Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times. Mellow, James R. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company. 1980. Review of Hawthorne’s writing and political career. Hawthorne is preoccupied with secret sin that enables the sinner to recognize hidden sin in others. Wrote tales, sketches and romances/novels.

Northanger Abbey. Austen, Jane. London: Oxford University Press. 1818. After reading Ann Radcliffe’s novel Mysteries of Udolpho, Catherine sees Northanger Abbey as a house of nightmarish mysteries and is terrified by her own imagination.

Not So Wild a Dream. Sevareid, Eric. New York: Atheneum. 1946 (1976). The tragedy of war is not in the dead nor in the living; it is in the living dead. Experience as a reporter before and during WWII.

Notes from Turtle Creek. Browning, Ted. Chadds Ford, PA: Brandywine Conservancy. 1991. He observed and interpreted nature for us, not as a scientist…but as one with a spiritual connection to nature equal to the American Indians’ oneness with nature.

Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonnus, Antigone. Sophocles. Unknowingly, Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother. When famine strikes Thebes, Creon banishes him from the city because of his sins and he learns what he has done. Jocasta (his mother/wife) commits suicide and he blinds himself with her brooch. Shunned by his own sons, he curses them and wanders, an outcast, for may years. His faithful daughter Antigone leads him to a grove at Colonus. Creon tries to force his return to Thebes so that his body, buried outside the gates, would magically protect the city in war. But Theseus, the king of nearby Athens, defends him. Dying, Oedipus promises that his tomb will guard Athens from harm.

On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction. Second Edition. Zinsser, William. New York: Harper and Row Publishers. 1980. Good writing has an aliveness that keeps the reader reading from one paragraph to the next.

Once and Future King, The. White, THE. New York: GP Putnam’s Sons. 1939. The story of King Arthur who tried to channel the natural inclination for brutal fighting into fighting for good causes.

Outermost House, The: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod. New York: The Viking Press. 1928 (1956). The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval woods, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. The creation is still going on.

Passions of the Mind: A Novel of Sigmund Freud. Stone, Irving. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1971. Freud showed us how much of our rational lives was influenced by the unconscious.

Persuasion. Austen, Jane. Oxford University Press. 1818. With trenchant observation and in meticulous detail, Austen presented the quiet, day-to-day country life of the upper-middle class English. Couple breaks up and reunites.

Pickwick Papers, The. Dickens, Charles. London: Oxford University Press. 1837 (1992). A mixture of wit and wisdom; the introduction of Sam Weller and his widow-hating father; the sheer joy in using language.

Pride and Prejudice. Austen, Jane. London: Oxford University Press. 1813. Husband-hunting mother for her five daughters. Elizabeth becomes prejudiced against her future suitor, Darcy, because of his pride and arrogance.

Random Walk in Science, A. Mendoza, E., ed. New York: Crane, Russak & Co., Inc. 1973. The wit and intellect of the scientific mind. 133 selections of various lengths. Humorous and serious thoughts about science and scientists.

Road Ahead, The. Gates, William H. III with Nathan Mythrvold and Peter Rinearson. New York: Viking Penguin. 1995. There will be a day, not far distant, when you will be able to conduct business, study, explore the world, call up great entertainment, make friends, attend neighborhood markets, and show pictures to distant relatives—without leaving your desk or armchair. (1995)

Roughing It. Twain, Mark. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1872 (1984). A journey from St. Louis across the plains to Nevada, a visit to the Mormons and life and adventures in Virginia City. Facts left behind in creation of picture of the frontier spirit and its lusty humor.

Scarlet Letter, The. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. NY: Literary Classics of the United States. 1850 (1983). The book treats Hawthorne’s favorite themes: first, all men are guilty of secret sin. Second, greater than Dimmesdale’s is Chillingworth’s sin, for he has invaded the sanctity of another’s soul.

Schweitzer Album, The: A Portrait in Words and Pictures. Anderson, Erica. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1965. The essence of Dr. Schweitzer’s life and thought is respect and reverence for all life.

Sketches by Boz. Dickens, Charles. London: Oxford University Press. 1836. Sketches on a variety of topics, including poverty, pub conversation, journalism, prison life, life in London, Christmas, the unhappiness of Nicodemus Dumps, etc. who was always down in the dumps.

Spectator, The. Volume One. Addison and Steele and Others. Smith, Gregory, ed. New York: Dutton, Everyman’s Library. 1711 (1964). Entertaining essays designed to encourage moral reform; unlike sermons, they were not severe. Assault the vice, not the person.

Star Thrower, The. Eiseley, Loren. New York, London: Harcourt Brace Ivanovich. 1978. Eiseley bridged the two cultures of science and art and related nature and humanity. His essays are poetic in style, suggestive, ironic and often paradoxical. The title essay is about a lonely man who walks the beach in the dawn and returns beached starfish to the sea.

Story of Philosophy, The. 28th Printing. Durant, Will. New York: Pocket Books. 1953 (1976). This book is an attempt to make the specialized knowledge of philosophy accessible to the average reader. From Plato to John Dewey.

Strictly Speaking: Will America Be the Death of English? Newman, Edwin. Indianapolis/New York: the Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1974. Edwin Newman. For direct and precise language would make conversation more interesting…would help to substitute facts for bluster…and would promote the practice of organized thought and even of occasional silence.

Tales and Sketches, Parts One, Two, Three and Four. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, (1830-1852) 1982. “Young Goodman Brown”; “The Ambitious Guest”; “My Kinsman, Major Molineaux”; “The Devil in Manuscript”; “The May Pole of Merry Mount”; “The Minister’s Black Veil”; “David Swan, A Fantasy”; “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”; “Legends of the Province House: Lady Eleanore’s Mantle”; “The Birth Mark”; “Drowne’s Wooden Image”; “Rappaccini’s Daughter”; “Main Street”; “Ethan Brand”; “Feathertop, A Moralized Legend”; and “The Artist of the Beautiful” are some of the more famous examples.

Tender Is the Night. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1933 (1961). Female mental patient marries her psychiatrist and eventually gains her independence from him. Europe after WWI.

This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1920 (1948). Virtually a record of the “Lost Generation” in its college days, the novel treats Fitzgerald’s characteristic theme of true love blighted by money lust and is remarkable for its honest and detailed descriptions of the early “Jazz Age.”

Thousand Days, A: John F. Kennedy in the White House. Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. New York: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1965. JFK quickened heart and mind, inspired the young, met crises, led society to new possibilities of justice and the world to new possibilities of peace.

Time Present, Time Past. Bradley, Bill. NY: Alfred A. Knopf. 1996. JFK quickened heart and mind, inspired the young, met crises, led society to new possibilities of justice and the world to new possibilities of peace.

True Believer, The: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. Hoffer, Eric. New York: Time Incorporated. 1951 (1963). ‘True Believers’ are frustrated people driven by guilt, failure and self-disgust to bury their own identity in a cause oriented to some future goal.

Universe and Dr. Einstein, The. Barnett, Lincoln. NY: Time, Inc. Book Division. 1948 (1957). We can no longer know the reality of the world around us through our senses. It can only be described by mathematical equations. Since everything in the universe is moving there is no stationary frame of reference to use in measuring its motion, although nothing moves faster than light. E = mc2. Mass becomes energy at the square of the speed of light and becomes radiation. The Einstein universe is curved, but can’t be visualized; can only be described mathematically.

V Was for Victory: Politics and American Culture During WWII. Blum, John Morton. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1976. The selling of the war to Americans; popular concepts of our own fighting men, our allies, and the enemy; the return of prosperity after the long Depression and its effect on consumers, business big and small, and government; how we treated Italians and Italian-Americans, Japanese and Japanese-Americans, and our attitude toward Jewish refugees; the growth of black self-awareness and its results; party politics of the time….

Walden Or, Life in the Woods. Thoreau, Henry David. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1854 (1985). Convinced that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, Thoreau lived alone in a cabin at Walden Pond, outside Concord, New Hampshire, from 1845 to 1847. His aim was to front only the essential facts of life, to emancipate himself from slavery to material possessions.

War and Peace. Tolstoy, LN. Hammondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, Ltd. 1869 (1957). Tolstoy alternated literary forms, using fiction to tell his story of the maturing of Pierre Bezukhov, Andre Bolkonsky and Natasha Rostova during the Napoleonic campaigns in Russia, and essays in which he discusses the ironies and absurdity of war.

Watchers at the Pond. Russell, Franklin. New York: Time Incorporated. 1961 (1966). The diversity of life in this miniature universe seemed infinite. In an hour, one bladderwort caught five hundred thousand creatures. The worm gulped down the rotifer and the frog swallowed the worm; the kingfisher killed the frog and the hunt passed endlessly from creature to creature. The lungs of the pond were the leaves. Billions of leaves hung, rustled, whispered, gleamed, and flickered. Thousands of breathing valves or stomata through which the leaf inhaled carbon dioxide and exhaled oxygen. In one summer, the trees would release more water than was contained in the pond.

Waverly, or ‘Tis Sixty Years Since. Scott, Sir Walter. London: The Caxton Publishing Company. Melrose Edition. 1814. Hanoverian Edward Waverly is converted to the Jacobite (Stewart?) cause, falls in love with a young, beautiful but fanatical Jacobite lady, fights for the Jacobite cause, is rejected by the Jacobite beauty and marries the steadfast, loyal Rose. Portraits of the highlanders and their courage.

Western Canon, The: The Books and School of the Ages. Bloom, Harold. New York, San Diego, London: Harcourt Brace & Company. 1994. Literature does not exist to alter individuals or society; people read to enlarge their lonely existence by understanding the complexity of motivation and point of view in the world without didacticism and moralizing.

Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down Over Germany in World War II. Childers, Thomas. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. 1995. The author, an historian, used the letters home by the crew of the Black Cat to re-create the lives of the crew who, as the war with Germany was ending, were shot down practically as people were celebrating VE Day. The ironies and mistakes of war are vividly illustrated. The reader is with the men as they train and fly their missions.

Writer’s Book, The. Hull, Helen, ed. New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc. 1950. Novelists can make readers feel as if they participated in the events of the novel while journalists enable readers only to witness events. Short story writers are psychologists analyzing people under stress. People want to read stories about the emotions they experience. Eric Barnouw: two kinds of audience satisfaction: one consists of stimuli to practically all the senses as in watching a play; the other is stirred by mere suggestion into a great deal of thinking and feeling.

Writer’s Chapbook, The. Plimpton, George, ed. New York: Viking. 1989. A collection of thoughts on reading and writing dealing with questions like the following: What is a writer? How does one write a novel? Why are poems so difficult to read? How do writers write? What are the characteristics of good writing? What is communication? What is literature?

Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews. Cowley, Malcolm, ed. New York: The Viking Press, Inc. 1957 (1965). Malcolm Cowley: There would seem to be four stages in the composition of a story: the germ of the story, then a period of more or less conscious meditation, then the first draft and finally the revision. Interviews with authors like EM Forster, James Thurber, Thornton Wilder, William Faulkner, Simenon, Frank O’Connor, Robert Penn Warren, Nelson Algren, etc.

Wuthering Heights. Bronte, Emily. NY: Pocket Books, Inc. 1847 (1954). Raw emotion. The story of Heathcliff and Catherine. A gypsy orphan, Heathcliff is picked up from the streets of Liverpool by Earnshaw and brought home to be reared as one of his own children. Heathcliff’s passionate and ferocious nature finds its complement in Earnshaw’s daughter Catherine and he falls passionately in love with her. His violent love for Catherine brings her to her grave at the birth of her daughter Cathy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Perspectives on Ideas 01 Summarized

Perspectives on Ideas 01: A Collection of Quotations

Perspectives on Ideas 01 is the first volume of quotes of about eight volumes or as long as I live to publish them, based on a list of books that will be published in my next blog and on topics, listed from A to Y. Each volume of Perspectives on Ideas is based on a different set of books. These are all books that I have read and annotated and from which I have selected quotations that could be of value, both for meditation, thought and reflection and as sources of ideas to reinforce the reader's ideas in writing and in speeches.

What sets this collection of quotations apart from others is that many of the books from which the quotations have been take are unfamiliar. In addition, most lengthy quotes have been summarized in a brief sentence that gives the essence of the quotation in plain English.

The next issues of this blog will contain a list of the books from which Perspectives on Ideas 01 have been taken and a list of the topics under which the quotations have been grouped.

I encourage my readers to send me quotations they have taken from the books they have read. Please include the quote and the name and author of the book from which the quote has been taken. I will credit the sender in using the quote. I would especially like to hear from people who have found interesting ideas in Perspectives on Ideas 01. Look soon for Perspectives on Ideas, Volume 02.

Thank you for reading Perspectives on Ideas 01.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Quotes: Youth.

JFK wanted to create urban and suburban environments in which young people could grow up with a purpose in life and belief that society was rational.
Youth 607 But the President’s particular concern was how to turn the urban and suburban communities, so often chaotic and demoralized, into places where young people could grow up with a sense of purpose in their lives and a belief in the rationality of their society. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Children brought up to believe that all childhood should be fun.
Youth 209 …an American girl of fifteen who had been brought up on the basis that childhood was intended to be all fun…. Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night.

His regret was for the loss of his youth.
Youth 224 …but Dick’s lungs burst for a moment with regret for Abe’s death, and his own youth of ten years ago. Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night.

When old people tell you can’t do something, try it and you will find that you can.
Youth 329 What old people say you cannot do you try and find that you can. Thoreau, Walden.

Youth is a joy so joyful and a sorrow so sorrowful.
Youth 368 Youth: A chaos of the mind and body—a time for weeping at sunsets and at the glamour of moonlight—a confusion and profusion of beliefs and hopes, in God, in Truth, in Love, in Eternity—an ability to be transported by the beauty of physical objects—a heart to ache or swell—a joy so joyful and a sorrow so sorrowful…. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

The easiest sacrifice is the sacrifice of one’s life; but the sacrifice of five or six years to intense study is too difficult for most youths.
Youth 28 Though these young men unhappily fail to understand that the sacrifice of life is, in many cases, the easiest of all sacrifices, and that to sacrifice, for instance, five or six years of their seething youth to hard and tedious study, if only to multiply ten-fold their powers of serving the truth and the cause they have set before them as their goal—such a sacrifice is utterly beyond the strength of many of them. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Schoolboys as individuals are great; as a group they are merciless.
Youth 186 Schoolboys are a merciless race, individually they are angels, but together, especially in schools, they are often merciless. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Youth is a savage.
Youth 129 I was young and hence a savage. Mencken, Minority Report.

Mature people are unable to pass on the lessons they have learned to youth and that is good because youth will remain idealistic and try to create.
Youth xviii Maturity cannot really pass on the lessons of its experience to youth; that is nature’s secret way of preserving the idealism of youth, as a source spring of human creativity through trial and error. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

While they looked foolish to others, the youths felt that they were looked at with admiration.
Youth 500 Lounging near the doors, and in remote corners, were various knots of silly young men, displaying various varieties of puppyism and stupidity; amusing all sensible people near them with their folly and conceit; and happily thinking themselves the objects of general admiration. Dickens, Pickwick.

JFK had youthful vitality in contrast to the pessimism of older leaders.
Youth and age 653 …the contrast between his youthful vitality and the weary pessimism of most older leaders. Sorenson, Kennedy

The stages of life and the cares and griefs crowded into those stages.
Youth and age 597 They are grandfather and grandmother to a dozen grown people and have great-grand children besides; their bodies are bent, their hair is gray, their step tottering and infirm…the lightsome pair whose wedding was so merry…the young couple indeed [have] grown old so soon…the rusting link that feebly joins the [old time and the new time], and is silently loosening its hold and dropping asunder…seems but yesterday—and yet what a host of cares and griefs are crowded into the intervening time…. Dickens, Sketches by Boz.

The serenity of age compared to the riotous behavior of youth.
Youth and age 263 The mild serenity of age takes the place of the riotous blood of youth. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Lincoln consoles a young girl who lost her father in the war: it is bitterer for you because you are young, while the older expect it to happen.
Youth and Age 242 Lincoln in a letter to a young girl who lost her father in the war: In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares; the older have learned to expect it. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Young men should invent and execute new projects rather than judge or counsel or maintain a settled business.
Youth and Age 116 F. Bacon: Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new projects than for settled business.... Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

The old are satisfied with a modicum of success.
Youth and Age 116 F. Bacon: Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

Young people want to be like everyone else, but the old know the advantages of being a little bit different.
Youth and age 429 "In these days the young folks is all copy-cats, 'fraid to death they won't be all just alike; as for the old folks, they pray for the advantage o' bein' a little different." Jewett, The country of the Pointed Firs.

Now that I’m old, I can see what I couldn’t when I was young.
Youth and age 433 "I see it all now as I couldn't when I was young." Jewett, The country of the Pointed Firs.

Contrast between the old captain waiting for death and the young girl waiting to begin her war with the world.
Youth and age 257 The poor old captain waiting to be released, stranded on the inhospitable shore of this world, and eager Nan, who was sorrowfully longing for the world’s war to begin. Jewett, A Country Doctor.

Men are socialists at twenty and conservatives at forty.
Youth and age 53 Sevareid’s father: “If a man isn’t a socialist at twenty and a conservative at forty, there’s something wrong with him.” Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

The young are insolent, arrogant and exult in youth as opposed to the despondence and self-pity of the old; they therefore are antagonistic toward each other.
Youth and age 461 But though every old man has been young, and every young one hopes to be old, there seems to be a most natural misunderstanding between these two stages of life…[arising] from the insolent arrogance or exultation in youth and the irrational despondence or self-pity in age. Steele, 8/25/1711. The Spectator.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quotes: Writing 03. Wrongs. WWII.

Writing 03
Today’s reader has an attention span of about twenty seconds and is inundated by temptations to many other attractive activities.
Writing and the reader 9 [The reader] is a person with an attention span of about twenty seconds…assailed on every side by forces competing for his time by newspapers and magazines, by television and radio and stereo, by his wife and children and pets, by his house and yard and all the gadgets that he has bought to keep them spruce, and by that most potent of competitors, sleep. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Using five words when one word will do.
Writing and usage 14 It only takes a John Dean testifying on TV to have everyone in the country saying “at this point in time” instead of “now.” Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Perfect phrasing of an idea translated into modern expressions.
Writing and word choice 39 Thomas Paine’s “These are the times that try men’s souls”: Times like these try men’s souls; how trying it is to live in these times; these are trying times for men’s souls; soulwise, these are trying times. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

We don’t know when childhood ends and adulthood begins.
Writing for children 242 P.L. Travers: If we’re completely honest, not sentimental or nostalgic, we have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins…one unending thread, not a life chopped up into sections out of touch with one another. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

Basic motivation for writing: you’re bothered by something and you need to say it.
Writing Motivation 29 James Baldwin on motivation for writing: Something that irritates you and won’t let go. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

The speed with which Dr. Johnson wrote—and no reading it over and revising it; sent off as is.
Writing Process 201 Mr. Langdon remembers Johnson, when on a visit to Oxford, asking him one evening how long it was till the post went out; and on being told about half an hour, he exclaimed, “Then we shall do very well”…[and] instantly sat down and finished an “Idler,” which it was necessary should be in London the next day…[but when] Mr. Langdon having signified a wish to read it, “Sir, (said he) you shall not do more than I have done myself”…folded it up and sent it off. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

All writers have an inner critic that tells them something is wrong with what they have written.
Writing process 35 Hemingway: the most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector…the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

You write until you know what you’re going to say next and you stop.
Writing process 58 Hemingway: You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

Most writing is done away from the typewriter.
Writing process 83 Henry Miller: After all, most writing is done away from the typewriter, away from the desk…occurs in the quiet, silent moments, while you’re walking or shaving or playing a game…your mind is working on this problem in the back of your head. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

I always try my material out on my dogs.
Writing process 98 John Steinbeck: I’ve always tried out my material on my dogs first. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

Writing process 101 E.M. Forster: How do I know what I think until I see what I say? Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

Writing is like an iceberg.
Writing process 111 Hemingway: [The iceberg principle]: There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

The fundamental purpose for writing: to make it clear and simple.
Writing purpose 49 …to express myself clearly and simply to someone else. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Say the truth, not what others want to hear.
Writing speaking 583 Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Thoreau, Walden.

A man’s style of writing: strong, concise, clear, with proper words; women are diffuse.
Writing style 51 Emma on writing style: ...and yet it is not the style of a woman; no, certainly, it is too strong and concise; not diffuse enough for a woman...thinks strongly and clearly--and when he takes a pen in hand, his thoughts naturally find proper words. Austen, Emma

With a good style you can make any subject interesting.
Writing style 89 Style: the author who writes really well can make even an unlikely subject seem interesting. Marek, R. Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

An effective style requires the least effort of understanding.
Writing style 393 Spencer…defined [writing] style as that which requires the least effort of understanding. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

You need to try to understand why people behave as they do.
Writing, character 58 Joyce Cary: You’ve got to find out what people believe, what is pushing them on…. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Too much editing is when you don’t get the sense of the story.
Writing, editing 91 Thurber on Harold Ross: In fact, Ross read so carefully that often he didn’t get the sense of your story. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Writing, editing 91 Thurber on Harold Ross: He used to fuss for an hour over a comma. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Professional writing cites support from other professionals’ published work.
Writing, professional 165 …findings… buttressed with citations from German, English, Italian and American medical journals. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

To write professionally, we have to admit to what we don’t know.
Writing, professional 359 …if we are going to publish at all, we have to be tentative…we must freely and openly admit everything we don’t know and cannot yet deduce before we set forth our puny hypotheses as medical knowledge. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

He explained what he knew as a basis for further research.
Writing, professional 557 He had avoided pontificating, yet had confided all he had learned about the unconscious and the emerging structure of the human psyche, simply, as starting points for further research and exploration. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Use a case history to reveal your methods.
Writing, professional 626 …a full case history which will reveal your methods. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Learning who discovered a new idea and who developed someone else’s idea.
Writing, professional 677 A big bone of contention, as it was with other scientific bodies, was the element of priority: who first discovered a new idea or developed an old one…. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Writing, Professional 48 Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all others are jackasses. Mencken, Minority Report.

Every topic needs a treatise with the usual tables and graphs.
Writing, Professional 107 If there is no scientific treatise on the subject, equipped with all the usual tables and graphs, then there sure ought to be one. Mencken, Minority Report.

The professional writing in journals on English compares poorly to the writing in scientific journals.
Writing, Professional 122 The papers printed in the English Journal, the Proceedings of the Modern Language Association and similar periodicals seldom show any professional competence or contribute anything worth knowing to the subject…would certainly be unusual to find any similar rubbish in a journal of chemistry, astronomy or zoology, or even in a medical journal. Mencken, Minority Report.

F. Scott Fitzgerald had 122 rejection slips pasted around his room.
Writing, rejection 109 I had one hundred and twenty-two rejection slips pinned in a frieze about my room. F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing.

I revise as I write.
Writing, revision 79 Dorothy Parker: I can’t write five words but that I change seven. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Thurber rewrote to make his writing smooth and seemingly effortless.
Writing, revision 88 Thurber: [Rewriting] …a constant attempt on my part to make the finished version smooth, to make it seem effortless. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

You have a story when you must tell it to someone else.
Writing, speaking 181 Frank O’Connor: The moment you grab somebody by the lapels and you’ve got something to tell, that’s a real story. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

To redress wrongs, use reason, not force.
Wrongs 223 Wrongs have to be redressed by reason, not by force. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

Rebuilding Europe and Japan means rebuilding industry in the United States to meet their competition.
WWII 44 …for it becomes manifest that the United States, which escaped unscathed from both wars, will have to destroy deliberately much of the sort of property that was destroyed in Europe and Asia by military vandalism…its plants will need modernizing to meet the competition of the new plants built to replace the war's ruins. Mencken, Minority Report.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Quotes: Writing 02

Writing (Cont.)
The importance of a good title for a book.
Writing 32 E.M. Forster: Where Angels Fear to Tread should have been called “Monteriano,” but the publisher thought this wouldn’t sell. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Summing up complex problems is a creative act.
Writing 61 Joyce Cary: to sum up [complex problems] for action is an act of creative imagination. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Thurber had been rejected by The New Yorker twenty times before it accepted something.
Writing 83 Malcolm Cowley on James Thurber: …The New Yorker, which rejected him twenty times before accepting a short piece on a man caught in a revolving door. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Gertrude Stein said that writing was simply telling what you know.
Writing 118 Thornton Wilder: Gertrude Stein once said laughingly that writing is merely ‘telling what you know.’ Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Faulkner: If I hadn’t existed someone else would have written what I wrote.
Writing 122 Faulkner: If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoevski, all of us. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Writing 133 Faulkner: A writer needs three things, experience, observation and imagination. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

In constructing characters, the writer is trying to find himself.
Writing 147 Simenon: Every writer tries to find himself through his characters, through all his writing. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Stories choose their writers.
Writing 195 RP Warren: You don’t choose a story, it chooses you. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Writers observe; they don’t really live.
Writing 241 N. Algren: I mean, a writer doesn’t really live, he observes. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

People often talk out books they plan to write and then can’t write them; the act of communication has been completed.
Writing 266 Angus Wilson: …so many people have talked out to me books they would otherwise have written; once you have talked, the act of communication has been made. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Writing 271 Wm. Styron: …writing is hell. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Setting a schedule for writing, 2 hours a day, for example, you tend to write very fast.
Writing 305 F. Sagan: When you make a decision to write according to a set schedule [two hours a day in her case] and really stick to it, you find yourself writing very fast. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Having read Tolstoi, Dostoevski and Shakespeare, I recognize my limitations.
Writing 308 F. Sagan: I recognize limitations in the sense that I’ve read Tolstoi and Dostoevski and Shakespeare. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Writers write what interests them and hope their readers will also be interested.
Writing 14 Ira Wolfert: All writers write what interests them and hope it will interest others. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

You write to try to understand something.
Writing 28 John Hersey: [Why write?] A search for understanding. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

I have had enough rejection slips to wall paper four or five rooms.
Writing 39 Ann Petry: I have collected enough rejection slips for my short stories to paper four or five good sized rooms. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

There is a time to shut off the inner censor, the tendency to stop until you have the right word.
Writing 88 Jacques Barzun: It is…important not to let the vigilant censor within freeze everything…that sudden stoppage due to the lack of the right word. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

If you don’t have a good story to tell and the passionate desire to tell it, nothing will help you to publish.
Writing 127 Paul Gallico: If you haven’t a fine story to tell and do not believe passionately in the need for your telling it, not all the textbooks in the world, or the gathered wisdom of the ages will help you to make a sale. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

You cannot tell others how to write, but a number of writers tell how they write.
Writing 157 M.D. Orr: No one can tell another how to write; [however,] I have listened to many teachers of writing as well as professional writers tell how they write…. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

When asked how he finds plots for writing murder mysteries, he said he thinks of someone he hates and he creates a plot around how to kill him.
Writing 162 M.D. Orr: A psychology professor asked me some time ago how I got the plots for my…murder mysteries [and] I promptly told him with a straight face, that whenever I hated a person enough actually to kill him, I relieved the impulse by putting him into a story and plotting a death commensurate with my dislike for him. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

My life consists of a desire to write vs. the struggle against elements trying to keep me from writing.
Writing xi Fitzgerald: The history of my life is the history of the struggle between an overwhelming urge to write and a combination of circumstances bent on keeping me from it. Foreword. Quoted by Charles Scribner III. F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing.

You write because you have something you must say.
Writing 72 You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say. F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing.

Facing sharpened pencils and legal pads, I feel utter helplessness.
Writing 126 Yet even now when…I sit down facing my sharpened pencils and block of legal-sized paper, I have a feeling of utter helplessness. F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing.

I had to chase over much of London to verify the accuracy of a fact, which gained me no praise but would have aroused criticism if it had been inaccurate.
Writing xvii Let me observe, as a specimen of my trouble, that I have sometimes been obliged to run half over London, in order to fix a date correctly; which, when I had accomplished, I well knew would obtain me no praise, though a failure would have been to my discredit. Advertisement to the First Edition. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

There is a selection of words that perfectly expresses an idea.
Writing 178 Johnson: We have here an example of what has been often said, and I believe with justice, that there is for every thought a certain nice adaptation of words which none other could equal, and which, when a [writer] has been so fortunate as to hit, he has attained, in that particular case, the perfection of language. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

Dr. Johnson could never persevere in keeping a journal.
Writing 457 He [Johnson] told me that he had twelve or fourteen times attempted to keep a journal of his life but never could persevere. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

Read what you have written and if you find a passage that you think is particularly well written, strike it out.
Writing 470 Johnson: I would say to Robertson what an old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils: “Read over your compositions, and whenever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.” Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

Skill in writing will mean nothing if you have nothing to say.
Writing 1148 Literary accomplishments, skill in grammar and rhetoric, knowledge of books, can never atone for the want of things which demand voice. Emerson, Uncollected Prose.

Writing 756 Talent alone can not make a writer. Emerson, Representative Men, Goethe, or the Writer.

When I read about topics, I think there is nothing else to say, but when I experience the topic, I know that nothing has yet been said about it.
Writing 102 Whilst I read the poets, I think that nothing new can be said about morning and evening...but when I see the daybreak...I feel the pain of an alien world, a world not yet subdued by thought. Emerson, Literary Ethics.

When you write to yourself, you are writing to the public.
Writing 316 He that writes to himself writes to an eternal public. Emerson, Spiritual Laws.

The only thing worth publishing is that which you have had the curiosity to learn about.
Writing 316 That statement only is fit to be made public, which you have come at in attempting to satisfy your own curiosity. Emerson, Spiritual Laws.
Writing 483 All writing comes by the grace of God…. Emerson, Experience.

Plays have become copycat; no one will buy them unless they are like the rest of the plays being presented.
Writing 483 It is not the fault of the poets who write them, [plays] for some of them recognize where they go astray and know extremely well what they ought to do, but as plays have become a marketable commodity, they say, and say rightly, that the managers would not buy them if they were not of the usual kind. [RFS: Applies to TV today?] Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha. Part One: 1605.

Since your purpose is clear, say it plainly and don’t insert quotes.
Writing 47 His friend to Cervantes, quoted in the Prologue: And since this book of yours aims at nothing more than to destroy the authority and influence that books of chivalry have in the world and among the masses, you have no business to go begging for sentences from philosophers, maxims from Holy Writ, fables from poets, speeches from orators, or miracles from saints, but simply to see to it that your sentences are couched in plain, expressive and well-ordered words, your periods harmonious and lively, setting forth to the best of your ability your intention and explaining your ideas without being intricate or obscure. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha, Part 1: 1605.

The ultimate in using unnecessarily repeated words to hide meaning.
Writing 57 …when he read of those courtships and letters of challenge that knights sent to ladies, often containing expressions such as: “The reason for your unreasonable treatment of my reason so enfeebles my reason that I have reason to complain of your beauty”…bewildered the poor gentleman’s understanding for he racked his brain day and night to unbowel their meaning. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha, Part 1: 1605.

He refused to write on clichéd topics, instead scolding the College Board for not providing topics that were significant.
Writing 52 He [McGeorge Bundy] refused to answer either of two English essay questions: “How did you spend your summer vacation?” and “My Favorite Pet”…instead…writing an essay attacking the themes as meaningless and the college board people for having chosen such foolish and irrelevant subjects when there were so many great issues before Americans in today’s world. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest

When you write in the field of politics, you must keep your emotions in check and avoid preaching.
Writing 300 John Dos Passos: A writer in this field [politics] should be both engaged and disengaged…must have passion and concern and anger—but he must keep his emotions at arm’s length in his work[;] if he doesn’t, he’s simply a propagandist and what he offers is a “preachment.” Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

You can’t teach style.
Writing 186 E.B. White [of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, which he co-wrote]: I don’t think [style] can be taught. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

We are all always learning to write.
Writing 101 Hemingway: We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

Montaigne wrote in the same manner as he thought through his ideas.
Writing xxxiii Often a sentence rambles on, idea suggesting idea, and clause added to clause, and then suddenly returns to the original thought…wanted the style of the essays to convey an impression of the movement of the writer’s thought. Introduction by Blanchard Bates: Montaigne, Selected Essays.

The ancients borrowed whole passages and included them in their works.
Writing 15 The philosopher Chrysippus mixed into his books not only passages but entire works of other authors…and Apollodorus said that should you cut out of his writings all that was not his own, his paper should be left blank. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

When we put our stupidities in print, we make them look respectable.
Writing 558 We dignify our stupidities when we put them in print. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Writing reports like driving and love-making is one of those things that everyone thinks he can do well without any instruction from others.
Writing 49 Report writing, like motor-car driving and love-making, is one of those activities which almost every Englishman thinks he can do well without instruction [with]…results…usually abominable. Margerison. A Random Walk in Science.

Authors often addressed their readers directly.
Writing 853 Preface: The antique fashion of prefaces recognized this genial personage as the “Kind Reader,” the “Gentle Reader,” the “Beloved,” the “Indulgent,” or at coldest, the “Honored Reader,” to whom the prim old author was wont to make his preliminary explanations and apologies.... Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

Schweitzer carried thoughts in his head for years before attempting to write them down.
Writing 136 Albert Schweitzer: Some of my thoughts I had to carry for years in my head before I found time to put them on paper. Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

Writers write wherever they can regardless of obstacles to concentration.
Writing 141 He [Schweitzer] writes wherever and whenever he can, in hotels, railroad stations, automobiles, restaurants.... Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

Unlike other writers, Sevareid had to see his ideas on paper to know that they were expressed effectively.
Writing 178 I had to write my broadcasts down on paper myself and could judge their effectiveness only if they looked right on paper. Sevareid, Not So Wild A Dream.

He wrote fluently as if taking dictation and wondered that God would want someone like himself transmit His ideas.
Writing 312 …he wrote with such an impulsive flow of thought and emotion, that he fancied himself inspired; and only wondered that Heaven should see fit to transmit the grand and solemn music of its oracles through so foul an organ pipe as he. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

In crossing out adverbs, he had to use phrases that lengthened and interrupted the flow of text.
Writing 88 Many of Justice [Anthony] Kennedy’s orotund constructions, according to clerks, result from his insistence on removing adverbs from draft opinions; he will cross out the word “quickly,” for example, and substitute “with great speed.” Jeffrey Rosen, “Annals of Law: The Agonizer.” The New Yorker, November 1996.

A poetic way of saying, “He wrote a play.”
Writing 332 Servant: I was going to say he is going to lay/ The stocks and the scaffolds for building a play/ And neatly he hews them, and sweetly he glues them,/ And a proverb he takes, and an epithet makes,/ And he molds a most waxen and delicate song…. Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae.

He compresses many ideas into few words.
Writing 336 Euripides: A wise man, Agathon, compacts his words,/ And many thoughts compresses into few. Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae.

My prologues gave immediately an outline of the play.
Writing 398 Euripides: My prologues never were confused, abrupt, and desultory,/ But gave at once the pedigree, the outline of the story. Aristophanes, Frogs.

That’s a rather abrupt way of ending your letter.
Writing 454 ‘That’s rather a sudden pull up, ain’t it Sammy?’ inquired Mr. Weller. Dickens, Pickwick.

Writing and dictation 113 Dictated sentences tend to be pompous, sloppy and redundant. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

A writer will read half a library in order to write one book.
Writing and Research 545 The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

Writers borrow the techniques of the movies.
Writing and the media 293 Capote: I think most of the younger writers have learned and borrowed from the visual, structural side of movie techniques. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quotes: Writing 01

Writing 01
The writer strives to achieve the permanence of the moment as it slips off into time.
Writer 116 [Elizabeth Peabody]: The writer’s animating principle: a need to fix the moment permanently in all its hard factuality--and the inevitable defeat as the moment slipped into time. Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

I worry that in writing about life I am not living it.
Writer 197 Trouble is I get distracted when I start to write stories—get afraid I’m doing it instead of living…. Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise.

I wish [a favorite writer] were here to put the event into perspective for me.
Writer xiii I wish he [Ted Browning] were here to put it in perspective for us. D. Thomas, Editor, The Kennett Paper. Browning, Notes from Turtle Creek.

The complexity of feelings that accompany writing.
Writer 19 [The writer]: Solitary, lonely, tired of himself, wrought up to an abnormal sensitiveness, he wrestles abominably with intolerable complexities—shadowy notions that refuse to reveal themselves clearly, doubts that torture, hesitations that damn. Mencken, Minority Report.

Writer’s block vividly described.
Writer 19 Worse, [the writer] must plod his way through many days when writing is impossible altogether—days of doldrums, of dead centers, of utter mental collapse. Mencken, Minority Report.

The writer’s credo: to set down life as he sees it.
Writer 113 I’d rather live on less and preserve the one duty of a sincere writer—to set down life as he sees it as gracefully as knows how. F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing.

The writer believes that what he thinks and sees is what all others think and see.
Writer 64 He [the scholar]...learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind, he has descended into the secrets of all minds. Emerson, The American Scholar.

Writing is a way of life, moving through life, shaping it and recording it, while expressing something of myself in what I write.
Writer 34 William Goyen: But still, it [writing] is simply a way of life before all other ways, a way to observe the world and to move through life, among human beings, and to record it all…and to shape it, to give it sense, and to express something of myself in it. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

As a writer, I am a student of my emotions.
Writer 760 …devoted epicure of my own emotions…. Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance.

As a writer, I unearth the secrets of my life and the lives of others, which are some times hidden even from ourselves.
Writer 772 …to appreciate that quality of the intellect and heart, which impelled me…to live in other lives, and to endeavor—by generous sympathies, by delicate intuitions, by taking note of things too slight for record, and by bringing my human spirit into manifold accordance with the companions whom God assigned me—to learn the secret which was hidden even from themselves? Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance.

Writer’s block is a loss of confidence.
Writer’s block 226 William Maxwell: I don’t think a writer’s block is anything more than a loss of confidence. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

The inner personality of a writer is different from his social personality.
Writers 288 Hiram Haydn: “The inner man of books and the outer one of social exchanges often do not resemble each other.” Christianson, Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley

The writer reports the spirit of life.
Writers 746 [The writer]…who is to report the doings of the miraculous spirit of life that everywhere throbs and works. Emerson, Representative Men, Goethe, or the Writer.

We need the writer who can put things into perspective.
Writers 748 Society has, at all times, the same want, namely, of one sane man with adequate powers of expression to hold up each object of monomania in its right relations. Emerson, Representative Men, Goethe, or the Writer.

How much less would be mankind without Milton, Shakespeare, Plato?
Writers 98 If you would know the power of character, see how much you would impoverish the world, if you could take clean out of history the lives of Milton, Shakespeare, and Plato...and cause them not to much less the power of man would be. Emerson, Literary Ethics.

Women writers’ depth in plumbing emotions is not a limitation, but a different way of looking at the world.
Writers 201 Edna O’Brien on women’s depth in plumbing emotions: It is not a limitation of talent or intelligence, it is just a different way of looking at the world. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

Writers are like any other professionals who open their mouths on topics about which they know nothing.
Writers 304 John Barth: [Writers] are like good tennis players or good painters, who are just full of nonsense, pompous and embarrassing, or merely mistaken, when they open their mouths. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

Writers continue in purgatory so long as their ideas cause those in the world to be mistaken.
Writers 503 I have seen some Roman Catholic authors, who tell us that vicious writers continue in purgatory so long as the influence of their writings continues upon posterity. Addison, 9/10/1711. The Spectator.

He’s a writer? Of what practical value is that? He might as well have been a fiddler.
Writers 127 [His ancestors discussing Hawthorne’s profession in life]: “A writer of story-books! What kind of business in life,--what mode of glorifying God, or being serviceable to mankind in his day and generation—may that be?…might as well have been a fiddler!” Introductory: “The Custom House.” Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

Writing books often takes a considerable number of years.
Writing 341 The writing of this book has consumed much of the last ten years.... Blum, V Was for Victory

I couldn’t write anything until this came out with which I had nothing to do.
Writing 271 “Nothing that I tried to write would flow out of my pen, till a very little while ago--when forth came this sketch, of its own accord; and much unlike what I had proposed.” [Intro to Mosses of an Old Manse].

Thoreau on the lack of success of his first book: I have 900 volumes in my library, 700 of which are mine.
Writing 290 Thoreau on the failure of his A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers: Thoreau sardonically remarked that he had a “library of nearly 900 volumes, over 700 of which I wrote myself.” Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

Hawthorne thought about the possibilities of the story for over ten years before ever sitting down to write it.
Writing 303 That Hawthorn’s imagination had hovered over the possibilities of the story for a decade suggests the peculiar force the ideas held for him. Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

Students were assigned to write five essays a semester, each essay imitating the style of a different writer.
Writing 107 Students were required to compose at least five essays a semester, adopting the prose style of the figures assigned to them. Christianson, Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley

Eiseley always begins his essays with a personal anecdote.
Writing 201 Begins with the trademark personal anecdote. Christianson, Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley

He jotted a brief list of words, the essential ideas in the essay he wrote.
Writing 283 His outlines usually consisted of nothing more than a short list of words jotted in the left-hand margin, a habit acquired during his student days when timed examinations dictated an economy of style. Christianson, Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley

For Eiseley, the test of what he wrote was how it sounded to the ear.
Writing 284 For Eiseley, the ultimate test of word, sentence, and paragraph was not how they appeared on the printed page but how they played upon the ear. Christianson, Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley

Acting on ideas he had while in bed at night.
Writing 381 “...some of these poems have arisen out of dreams so powerful that I have literally leaped out of bed, dashed to my study, and written them down in almost a frenzy before they departed.” Christianson, Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley

Autobiography written as a series of vignettes.
Writing 425 Eiseley’s autobiography—plan: The special days and times are set down in sharply focused vignettes, like a sequence of still pictures recorded by electronic flash. Christianson, Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley

Bill Gates thought writing a book would be like writing a speech.
Writing xiii I innocently imagined writing a chapter would be the equivalent of writing a speech. Gates, The Road Ahead.

In the future documents will include multimedia.
Writing 129 Even those who don’t aspire to becoming the next C.B. DeMille...will routinely include multimedia in the documents they construct every day. Gates, The Road Ahead.

The new technology will be new means to express oneself.
Writing 134 New technology will offer people a new means with which to express themselves. Gates, The Road Ahead.

How would the word processor have affected Winston Churchill’s writing?
Writing 137 A Luddite might ask, “If Churchill had used a word processor, would his writing have been better?” Gates, The Road Ahead.

The new technology has helped journalists work efficiently.
Writing 137 There have been great journalists through history, but today it’s much easier to check facts, transmit a story from the field, and stay in touch electronically with news sources, editors, and even readers. Gates, The Road Ahead.

Today interviews are often conducted by e-mail.
Writing 143 When John Seabook was writing an article about me for The New Yorker, he conducted his interview primarily on e-mail. Gates, The Road Ahead.

He researched his material like a historian, but wrote his book like a novel.
Writing 272 In researching the book, I employed methods normally used by professional historians, but in telling the story I have turned to narrative techniques usually associated with fiction. Childers, Wings of Morning.

He doesn’t write easily; he searches too much for big words.
Writing 48 ...because he [Darcy] does not write with ease...he studies too much for words of four syllables. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

I explain my ideas; I’m not giving advice.
Writing xxix Montaigne: “All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice.” Hoffer, The True Believer

Groups could offer outlines and alterations, but no group could produce the precision and unity JFK desired.
Writing 370 Groups of advisers could suggest outlines and alterations, and they could review drafts, but group authorship could not produce the continuity and precision of style he [Kennedy] desired or the unity of thought and argument he needed. Sorenson, Kennedy

In America, it is considered a flaw if a person’s writings admit of more than one interpretation.
Writing 581 …in this part of the world it is considered a ground for complaint if a man’s writings admit of more than one interpretation. Thoreau, Walden.

Say it short.
Writing 76 ...and if there is anything to say, to sit down and write a letter and say just what you must, in a short way.... Austen, Emma

The writer decides whether to make the chapter long or short.
Writing 126 Shall this be a long or a short chapter?—This is a question in which you, gentle reader, have no vote, however much you may be interested in the consequences…. Sir Walter Scott, Waverley.

The many processes of editing in publishing.
Writing 19 The editor: the skills of identifying authors, negotiating with agents, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of texts, guiding a manuscript through the politics and perils of a [publishing] house, and adding body English to its passage into the marketplace will continue to be important to publishing. Marc Aronson. Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

Editors select manuscripts; publishers select editors.
Writing 23 You ask for the distinction between the terms “editor” and “publisher”: An editor selects manuscripts; a publisher selects editors. M. L. Schuster. Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

How is your book coming? It’s finished. All I have to do is write it.
Writing 24 Learn patience—sympathetic patience, creative patience—so that you will not be dismayed when you ask an author how his new book is coming along, and he tells you: “It’s finished—all I have to do now is write it.” Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

People no longer care about grammatical precision.
Writing 31 Dolores Simon: …there simply isn’t the old interest in grammatical precision among young people any more. R. Curtis. Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

If writing is weak it is because of weak thinking or weak structure.
Writing 154 Weak writing almost always indicates weak thinking or weak structure. Waxman, ML. Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

Books are finished when authors say they will do no more.
Writing 239 A book is done when the author can say to me with absolute conviction: “This is how I want to say it, damn it, and I stand by my words.” Wolf, WM. Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

When a book is full of big words, readers think it is full of weighty thoughts.
Writing 328 The individual in question, Mr. Theodosius, had written a pamphlet containing some very weighty considerations on the expediency of doing something or other; and as every sentence contained a good many words of four syllables, his admirers took it for granted that he meant a good deal. Dickens, Sketches by Boz.

Winthrop’s scientific writing began with some event in nature which could be observed in America.
Writing 245 About John Winthrop IV: Almost without exception [his scientific writings] arose from some particular and dramatic natural phenomenon or catastrophe--a lightning stroke, the tremor of an earthquake, the appearance of a comet, a lunar eclipse--which could be observed in America. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

A detective story in which the clues are in italics.
Writing 192 In my youth I once read a French detective tale where the clues were actually in italics; but that is not McFate’s way--even if one does learn to recognize certain obscure indications. Nabokov, Lolita.

Much of everyday American writing is impenetrable.
Writing viii Much of what is written in everyday American life is cold, pompous and impenetrable. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Good writing keeps the reader reading whether he wants to or not.
Writing 5 Good writing has an aliveness that keeps the reader reading from one paragraph to the next. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Clutter in American writing overwhelms us with unnecessary words, circular constructions and meaningless jargon. [The author’s sentence is cluttered. Critics of other people’s English should remember to admit to making the same mistakes themselves, as Orwell did. What is the meaning of “circular constructions” and “pompous frills”?]
Writing 7 Clutter is the disease of American writing…a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

We inflate our language to sound important.
Writing 7 Our national tendency is to inflate and thereby sound important. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Writing 12 Good writing doesn’t come naturally. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Writing 13 A clear sentence is no accident. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Writing 19 Few people realize how badly they write. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Writing 21 A writer will do anything to avoid the act of writing. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

The most wishy-washy sentence, filled with qualifying words.
Writing 24 Elliot Richardson: “And yet, on balance, affirmative action has, I think, been a qualified success”…a thirteen-word sentence with five hedging words…give it first prize as the most wishy-washy sentence of the decade. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

The best way to learn to write is to produce a certain number of words daily.
Writing 53 The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Writing 54 Unity is the anchor of good writing. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Short paragraphs make reading easier for the reader.
Writing 111 Short paragraphs put air around what you write and make it look inviting, whereas one long chunk of type can discourage the reader from even starting to read. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

He came alive when he wrote because he resolved his ideas and refreshed them.
Writing 109 He loved to write, came alive with a pen in his hand…wrote as he breathed, naturally, for writing resolved his ideas and refreshed them. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

When he wrote, he thought more clearly.
Writing 368 …he thought even more clearly with a pen in his hand…. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Virgil said not to publish until nine years after it was written.
Writing 481 Wasn’t it Virgil who had said that no man should publish his writings until nine years had passed? Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Everything Austen wrote was ready for publication, including notes and letters.
Writing 8 …she [Austen] never dispatched a note or letter unworthy of publication. [Biographical Notice] Austen, Northanger Abbey.

Jane Austen on the value of keeping a journal.
Writing 27 Not keep a journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenor of your life without one; how are the civilities and compliments of every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every evening in a journal; how are your various dresses to be remembered, and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be described in all their diversities, without having constant resource to a journal…it is this delightful habit of journalizing which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated; everybody allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female; nature may have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal. Austen, Northanger Abbey.

Writing about your experiences puts them in perspective.
Writing 425 On writing his book Life on the Run about his life as a professional basketball player: Having put that experience into perspective…. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Writing helps to clarify your ideas.
Writing 425 The act of writing has always been a method of clarification for me, a way of getting down to how I really feel about an issue, a decision, a place, a person. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

When I wrote this book, I didn’t know how I would feel when I finished it.
Writing 425 When I started writing this book, I had no idea how I would feel at the end. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Writing about your experiences in some ways completes them.
Writing 426 Thinking about events you have experienced, and developing perspective about them, in some ways completes them, and finding the words to express that perspective brings about a sense of closure. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Writing 202 Voltaire: “Books rule the world.” . Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire.

Cannon killed the feudal system; ink will kill modern society.
Writing 202 Napoleon: the advent of cannon killed the feudal system; ink will kill the modern social organization. . Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire.

I have not the power of a king, but I have the power of the pen.
Writing 218 Voltaire: “I have no scepter, but I have a pen. . Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire.

He worked on his book for fifteen years.
Writing 265 And so he [Kant] persevered, through poverty and obscurity, sketching and writing and rewriting his magnum opus for almost fifteen years; finishing it only in 1781, when he was fifty-seven years old. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Kant.

When he completed his masterpiece, Schopenhauer received a total remuneration of ten free copies.
Writing 306 For this, the most readable of his works, and replete with wisdom and wit, Schopenhauer received, as his total remuneration, ten free copies. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

He reviewed his earlier books to show how the reviews should have been written.
Writing 359 In his [Spencer’s] Autobiography he writes reviews of his own early books to show how it should have been done. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

No man is equal to his book.
Writing 398 Spencer: No man is equal to his book…the best products of his mental activity go into his book, where they come separated from the mass of inferior products with which they are mingled in his daily talk. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

Writing is a very physical and tactile act.
Writing 37 For me writing is an intensely physical and tactile act--kind of a deranged activity in which thinking, dreaming, writing, erasing, wadding are all bound up together. Browning, Notes from Turtle Creek.

He had to think about an idea for a week or so before writing about it.
Writing 38 One thing I found out early in the game was that there was no way I could simply walk up to that room after breakfast, think of something to write about and then just spit out in four or five hours...had to settle on an idea a week or so in advance and let it stew for a while. Browning, Notes from Turtle Creek.

Many writers feel as if they are taking dictation.
Writing 16 Malcolm Cowley: Instead of giving dictation, many writers seem to themselves to be taking it. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.