Saturday, March 3, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas March 3, 2007

376 For a microcosm of the problems faced by a society there is no substitute for biography. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

22 Bird song has been so much analyzed for its content of business communication that there seems little time left for music, but it is there. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

23 The nightingale has twenty-four basic songs, but gains wild variety by varying the internal arrangement of phrases and the length of pauses. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Blacks in America
152 The effort to purge the movies, the stage, the radio and the comic-strips of the old-time Negro types has worked…evil…do not hate people we laugh at and with…when the last Amos 'n' Andy program is suppressed, the Negro, ceasing to be a charming clown, will become a menacing stranger, and his lot will be a good deal less comfortable than it used to be. Mencken, Minority Report.

189 One of the things that makes a Negro unpleasant to white folk is the fact that he suffers from their injustice. Mencken, Minority Report.

234 The good humor of the American Negro is largely founded on cynicism. Mencken, Minority Report.

xvii …and in the “Negro revolution” of America, a flight, not so much from poverty as from anonymity. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

1091 …a blockhead makes a blockhead of his companion. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Considerations by the Way.

Body and Soul
349 I consider the body as a system of tubes and glands…a bundle of pipes and strainers, fitted to one another after so wonderful a manner as to make a proper engine for the soul to work with. Addison, 7/12/1711. The Spectator.

319 The book did not flourish here, but other types of printed matter grew in profusion...everything dissuaded the colonial printer from undertaking the long volume...scarcity of type...a prudent printer preferred small jobs which quickly repaid his investment rather than books, whose market was uncertain and on which the financial return might be postponed for a year of more. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

310 Franklin’s group did not chat wittily about polite literature; it had topics for debate: Is it justifiable to put private men to death, for the sake of public safety or tranquility, who have committed no in the case of the plague, to stop infection...? Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

116 For as long as we’ve had paper documents or collections of documents, we have been ordering information linearly, with indexes, tables of contents, and cross-references of various kinds to provide alternate means of navigation. Gates, The Road Ahead.

408 …books…are as dull as their readers. Thoreau, Walden.

146 Catherine: What in the name of all that feels has he to do with books, when I am dying? E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

154 Catherine: I don’t want you Edgar: I’m past wanting you; return to your books; I’m glad you possess a consolation, for all you had in me is gone. E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

362 But I’ve most of them [books] written on my brain and printed in my heart, and you cannot deprive me of those. E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

363 Those books, both prose and verse, are consecrated to me by other associations. E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

302 He [the Virginia gentleman] was judged less by the furnishings of his mind, than by the furniture of his house, less by his intellect and learning, than by the charity and graciousness of his conduct. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

319 Even the most literate of [colonial Americans]--men like Franklin and Jefferson--did not express their most important ideas in books. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

320 The scarcity and the poor quality of paper was another deterrent to book printing...George Washington had to write to his generals on odd scraps of paper because nothing better could be had; loose dispatches were sent to officers because paper was too precious to be used for envelopes...wrote on fly-leaves torn from printed books and on the blank pages of old account-ledgers...for lack of paper, weekly issues of newspapers failed to appear, and often...were printed on whatever miscellaneous colors, sizes, and qualities of paper the printer could find. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

321 Such paper as was made in the American colonies...while tolerable for newspapers, pamphlets, broadsides, almanacs and primers, was not fit for a book which had to last years. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience.

324 Whatever is useful, sells. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

324 The American printer was the servant of literacy rather than of literature. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience.

633 …Omar’s fanatical compliment to the Koran…”Burn the libraries; for their value is in this book.” Emerson, Representative Men: Plato, or The Philosopher.

57 The books of an older period will not fit this. Emerson, The American Scholar.

57 [Books] are for nothing but to inspire. Emerson, The American Scholar.

58 [The best books] impress us with the conviction that one nature wrote and the same reads. Emerson, The American Scholar.

15 Katherine Anne Porter: All the old houses that I knew when I was a child were full of books, bought generation after generation by members of the family. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

351 E. M. forster: The human race did without [books] for thousands of years and may decide to do without them again. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

502 As the Supreme Being has expressed, and as it were printed his ideas in the creation, men express their ideas in books, which by this great invention of these latter ages may last as long as the sun and moon, and perish only in the general wreck of nature. Addison, 9/10/1711. The Spectator.

502 There is no other method [than books] of fixing those thoughts which arise and disappear in the mind of man, and transmitting them to the last periods of time: no other method of giving a permanency to our ideas and preserving the knowledge of any particular person, when his body is mixed with the common mass of matter, and his soul retired into the world of spirits. Addison, 9/10/1711. The Spectator.

502 The circumstances which gives authors an advantage above all these great masters [of sculpture and painting] is this, that they can multiply their originals…which shall be as valuable as the originals themselves. Addison, 9/10/1711. The Spectator.

237 It [large black-letter volume] must have been a work of vast ability in the somniferous school of literature. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

306 In books of chivalry…the knight goes off, attacks everything he meets that is bigger and stronger than himself, seeks all opportunities of being knocked on the head; and after seven years rambling returns to his mistress, whose chastity has been attacked in the mean time by giants and tyrants, and undergone as many trials as her lover’s valor. Addison, 6/23/1711. The Spectator.

221 [Nature—that callous and cruel engine, red in tooth and fang]…whenever I hear that phrase or its intellectual echoes I know that some passerby has been getting life from books. Henry Beston, The Outermost House.

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