Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas, May 30, 2007. Grammar. Greatness.

Grammar 68 At the same time, his [JFK’s] emphasis on a course of reason--rejecting the extremes of either side--helped produce the parallel construction and use of contrasts with which he later became identified. Sorenson, Kennedy [Grammar reinforces meaning.]

Grammar 313 Winston Churchill: [Mr. Somervell] took a fairly long sentence and broke it up into its components by means of black, red, blue, and green inks[;] subject, verb object: relative clauses, conditional clauses, conjunctive and disjunctive clauses—each had its color and its bracket. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book. [Winston Churchill learned color-coded grammar.]

Grammar and life 134 “Might, could, would—they are contemptible auxiliaries.” George Eliot, Middlemarch. [Auxiliaries weaken writing.]

Greatness 508 His [the sculptor named Story’s] real misfortune, perhaps, was that his undeniable facility never deepened into greatness. Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times. [He was too facile in his sculpting to achieve greatness.]

Greatness 203 …the supremely great figures in history—Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Newton, Goethe—must be to some extent a kind of summation of their times. Clark, Civilization. [Great figures in history summed up their times.]

Greatness 229 Great men have a curious way of appearing in complementary pairs. Clark, Civilization. [Great men seem to appear in complementary pairs.]

Greatness 1072 He learns to welcome misfortune, learns that adversity is the prosperity of the great. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Worship. [Adversity is an opportunity for greatness.]

Greatness 1186 Walter Savage Landor: “The great man is he who hath nothing to fear and nothing to hope from another.” Emerson, Uncollected Prose. [Greatness does not fear others or hope in others.]

Greatness 630 The heroes of the hour are relatively great: … are such, in whom, at the moment of success, a quality is ripe which is then in request. Emerson, Representative Men: Uses of Great Men. [Greatness is a matter of timing; the world is ready for them.]

Greatness 632 …great men exist that there may be greater men. Emerson, Representative Men: Uses of Great Men. [Great men lead to greater men.]

Greatness 710 Great men are more distinguished by range and extent than by originality. Emerson, Representative Men: Shakespeare, or the Poet. [Great men are not so much original, but have range and extent.]

Greatness 729 Bonaparte was the idol of common men, because he had in transcendent degree the qualities and powers of common men. Emerson, Representative Men: Bonaparte, or the Man of the World. [Bonaparte represented the capability for greatness in the common man.] [So did Truman. However, from what I have learned about Truman, he was a voracious reader who had capabilities for learning and decision making far beyond most of us. RayS.]

Greatness 739 We cannot, in the universal imbecility, indecision, and indolence of men, sufficiently congratulate ourselves on this strong and ready actor, who took occasion by the beard, and showed us how much may be accomplished by the mere force of such virtues as all men possess in less degrees; namely by punctuality, by personal attention, by courage, and thoroughness. Emerson, Representative Men: Bonaparte, or the Man of the World. [Bonaparte was great because of his punctuality, personal attention, courage and thoroughness.]

Greatness 761 I join Napoleon with him [Goethe] as being both representatives of the impatience and reaction of nature against the morgue of conventions…. Emerson, Representative Men, Goethe, or the Writer. [Goethe and Bonaparte defied conventions.]

Greatness 265 Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh: to be great is to be misunderstood. Emerson, Self-Reliance. [The great are usually misunderstood.] [Reba, if you’re reading this, Emerson would have been better to stop at my summary in bold face. I’ll never forget that you said, in response to this quote, that definitions had to be reversible, and that to be misunderstood does not imply greatness. RayS.]

Greatness 595 Greatness of soul is…knowing how to put oneself in order and circumscribe oneself. Montaigne, Selected Essays. [Greatness is knowing how to organize and limit oneself.]

Greatness 472 Perhaps that is the final test of greatness—to be so among one’s own. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream. [The final test of greatness is to be accepted as such by one’s own.] [But prophets are ignored in their own homes. RayS.]

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