J.M. Coetzee J.M. Coetzee > Quotes


J.M. Coetzee quotes (showing 61-90 of 211)

“A few days ago I heard a performance of the Sibelius fifth symphony. As the closing bars approached, I experienced exactly the large, swelling emotion that the music was written to elicit. What would it have been like, I wondered, to be a Finn in the audience at the first performance of the symphony in Helsinki nearly a century ago, and feel that swell overtake one? The answer: one would have felt proud, proud that one of us could put together such sounds, proud that out of nothing we human beings can make such stuff. Contrast with that one´s feelings of shame that we, our people, have made Guantanamo. Musical creation on the one hand, a machine for inflicting pain and humiliation on the other: the best and the worst that human beings are capable of.”
J.M. Coetzee
“Von allen Abenteuern ist Selbstmord das literarischste, mehr noch als Mord.”
J.M. Coetzee, In the Heart of the Country
“Yet is it not the heart but the members of play that elevate us above the beasts: the fingers with which we touch the clavichord or the flute, the tongue with which we jest and lie and seduce. Lacking members of play, what is there left for beasts to do when they are bored but sleep?”
J.M. Coetzee, Foe
“It would be best if this obscure chapter in the history of the world were terminated at once, if these ugly people were obliterated from the face of the earth and we swore to make a new start, to run an empire in which there would be no more injustice, no more pain.”
J.M. Coetzee
“The mistake the two of us made,’ I said, ‘was that we skimped the foreplay. I’m not blaming you, it was as much my fault as yours, but it was a fault nonetheless.”
J.M. Coetzee, Summertime
“Well, that is what you risk when you fall in love. You risk losing your dignity.”
J.M. Coetzee, Summertime
“Restoration is a skilled profession. You might even call it an art in its own right, except that it is frowned on to be original. First rule of restoration: follow the intention of the artist. Never try to improve on him.”
J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man
“I urge you: don't cut short these thought-trains of yours. Follow them through to their end. Your thoughts and your feelings. Follow them through and you will grow with them.”
J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man
“...he seems to be on the brink of one of his bad spells again, one of the fits of lugubrious self-pity that turn into black gloom. He likes to think that they comes from elsewhere, episodes of bad weather that cross the sky and pass on. He prefers not to think they come from inside him and are his, part of him.”
J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man
“I truly believe I am not afraid of death. What I shrink from, I believe, is the shame of dying as stupid and befuddled as I am.”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
“But with this woman it is as if there is no interior, only a surface across which I hunt back and forth seeking entry. Is this how her torturers felt hunting their secret, whatever they thought it was? For the first time I feel a dry pity for them: how natural a mistake to believe that you can burn or tear or hack your way into the secret body of the other! The girl lies in my bed, but there is no good reason why it should be a bed. I behave in some ways like a lover—I undress her, I bathe her, I stroke her, I sleep beside her—but I might equally well tie her to a chair and beat her, it would be no less intimate.”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
“It seemed to me that all things were possible on the island, all tyrannies and cruelties, though in small; and if, in despite of what was possible, we lived at peace with another, surely this was proof that certain laws unknown to us held sway, or else that we had been following the promptings of our hearts all this time, and our hearts had not betrayed us.”
J.M. Coetzee, Foe
“She does not reply. She would rather hide her face, and he knows why. Because of the disgrace. Because of the shame. That is what their visitors have achieved; that is what they have done to this confidant, modern young woman. Like a stain the story is spreading across the district. Not her story to spread but theirs: they are its owners. How they put her in her place, how they showed her what a woman was for.”
J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace
“With the buck before me suspended in immobility, there seems to be time for all things, time even to turn my gaze inward and see what it is that has robbed the hunt of its savour: the sense that this has become no longer a morning's hunting but an occasion on which either the proud ram bleeds to death on the ice or the old hunter misses his aim; that for the duration of this frozen moment the stars are locked in a configuration in which events are not themselves but stand for other things.”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
“He does not know what freedom is. Freedom is a word, less than a word, a noise, one of the multitude of noises I make when I open my mouth.”
J.M. Coetzee, Foe
“...So that someone might want to put you in a book...So that you may be worth putting in a book...Live like a hero...Be a main character. Otherwise, what is life for?”
J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man
“From one seed a whole handful: that was what it meant to say the bounty of the earth.”
J.M. Coetzee, Life and Times of Michael K
tags: earth, seed
“أمور مخيفة تجري في الليل، بينما أنت وأنا نائمين، الثعلب يسرق أحشاء الأرنب، ولكن العالم يستمر في الدوران”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
“لقد آمنت طوال حياتي بالسلوك المتحضر، وفي هذه المناسبة، لاأستطيع أن أنكر أن الذاكرة تتركني مشمئزا من نفسي”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
“أناضل أنا مع القصة القديمة، آملا أنها قبل أن تنتهي، ستكشف لي عن السبب الذي جعلني أظن أنها جديرة بالعناء”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
“أي طير يملك قلبا ليغني في أيكة من الأشواك ؟”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
“..., según mi experiencia la poesía te habla y te llega a primera vista o no te llegará nunca. Hay un destello de revelación y un destello reflejo de respuesta. Es como el rayo. Como enamorarse.”
J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace
“الجريمة الكامنة في دواخلنا، يتوجب علينا إنزالها على أنفسنا، وليس على آخرين”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
“Well, cast your mind back to the books he wrote. What is the one theme that keeps recurring from book to book? It is that the woman doesn’t fall in love with the man. The man may or may not love the woman; but the woman never loves the man. What do you think that theme reflects? My guess, my highly informed guess, is that it reflects his life experience. Women didn’t fall for him—not women in their right senses. They inspected him, maybe they even tried him our. Then they moved on.”
J.M. Coetzee, Summertime
“How many of the ragged workingmen who pass him in the street are secret authors of works that will outlast them: roads, walls, pylons? Immortality of a kind, a limited immortality, is not so hard to achieve after all. Why then does he persist in inscribing marks on paper, in the faint hope that people not yet born will take the trouble to decipher them?”
J.M. Coetzee, Summertime
“The Empire does not require that its servants love each other, merely that they perform their duty.”
J.M. Coetzee, Aspettando i barbari
“هناك ما أطلق عليهم الارضيين، أولئك الذىن يقفون وأقدامهم مغروسة فى الأرض التى ولدوا فيها، وهنالك الفراشات، مخلوقات الضوء والهواء، سكان مؤقتون، يحطون هنا وهناك ، تزعم أنك فراشة، تريد ان تكون فراشة، وذات يوم تقع وقعة مفجعة، تُصدم وتسقط على الأرض ، وحين تلتقط أنفاسك تجد انك لم تعد تستطيع الطيران مثل كائن أثيرى ولا تستطيع المشى، لست سوى كتلة من اللحم الجامد، إنه بالتأكيد درس واضح لا يمكن أن تغمض عينيك وتصم أذنيك أمامه .”
J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man
“If i were pressed to give my brand of political thought a label, I would call it pessimistic anarchistic quietism”
J.M. Coetzee
“Die Wahrheit wird nicht im Zorn gesprochen. Die Wahrheit, wenn sie denn gesprochen wird, wird im Geist der Liebe gesprochen.”
J.M. Coetzee
tags: love, truth
“The sun's touch is kind.”
J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man


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