"Love does not traffic in a marketplace, nor use a huckster's scales. Its joy, like the joy of the intellect, is to feel itself alive. The aim of Lov
"Love does not traffic in a marketplace, nor use a huckster's scales. Its joy, like the joy of the intellect, is to feel itself alive. The aim of Love is to love: no more, and no less. You were my enemy: such an enemy as no man ever had. I had given you all my life, and to gratify the lowest and most contemptible of all human passions, hatred and vanity and greed, you had thrown it away. In less than three years you had entirely ruined me in every point of view. For my own sake there was nothing for me to do but to love you."
This is another book that I wish I could have given 3½ star to because I'm not sure whether to give it a 3 or a 4.
De Profundis is the 50 000-word letter (yes, imagine writing that by hand with ink.) that Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, whilst in prison. Some say it is a love letter, other says it is not. It's not the relationship between them that makes the "love letter or not" debatable - because there is no denying that Wilde loved Douglas - it's the fact that most of the time, Wilde portrays Douglas as a - how should I put this - douchebag.
The letter begins with a very detailed account of how Wilde was put into prison in the first place. He describes detailed and with his own words the moments between him and Douglas and everything that lead to to the trial. I thought this part was the most interesting. I'm not that fond of autobiographies and memoirs but I've always been interested in Oscar Wilde (or anything else LGTB-related for that matter) and hearing Wilde put everything into his own words and describing, to Douglas, how he was to blame for the misery and downfall of Wilde, and still loving the man, was very fascinating. Like always, his language is beautiful and there are lots of wit and aphorism. He writes about how much he loved Douglas and the things he had done for him yet at the same time, condemns him for behaving so selfish and rude.
What makes me hesitate about giving it a four star instead of a three is the middle part of the letter when Wilde all of the sudden goes into deep contemplation and comparison between religion, Christ and artists. I find religion interesting too but those pages were simply put, boring. The third half of the book becomes better however when he goes back to talk about Douglas actions and the philosophy of life. It's filled with emotions and you can tell that there is a lot of misery, sorrow and grief. One of my favourite passages that describe the sorrow very well and at the same time shows the beauty is this:
"Of course to one so modern as I am, `Enfant de mon siècle,’ merely to look at the world will be always lovely. I tremble with pleasure when I think that on the very day of my leaving prison both the laburnum and the lilac will be blooming in the gardens, and that I shall see the wind stir into restless beauty the swaying gold of the one, and make the other toss the pale purple of its plumes, so that all the air shall be Arabia for me. Linnaeus fell on his knees and wept for joy when he saw for the first time the long heath of some English upland made yellow with the tawny aromatic brooms of the common furze; and I know that for me, to whom flowers are part of desire, there are tears waiting in the petals of some rose. It has always been so with me from my boyhood. There is not a single colour hidden away in the chalice of a flower, or the curve of a shell, to which, by some subtle sympathy with the very soul of things, my nature does not answer. Like Gautier, I have always been one of those ‘pour qui le monde visible existe.’"
I was planning on continuing this review but now I am left speechless again and I think I will, after all, give this a four star. Here are several memorable quotes however to read and admire.
"I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men, and the colour of things: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all things in a phrase, all existence in an epigram: whatever I touched I made beautiful."
"To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul."
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some one else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. "
"We are the zanies of sorrow. We are clowns whose hearts are broken."
"There is no room for Love and Hate in the same soul. They cannot live together in that fair cavern house. Love is fed by imagination, by which we become wiser than we know, better than we feel, nobler than we are: by which we can see Life as a whole: by which, and by which alone, we can understand others in their real as in their ideal relations. Only what is fine, and finely conceived, can feel Love. But anything will feed Hate."
"After my terrible sentence, when the prison dress was on me, and the prison house closed, I sat amidst the ruins of my wonderful life, crushed by anguish, bewildered with terror, dazed through pain. But I would not hate you. Every day I said to myself: 'I must keep love in my heart today, else how shall I live through the day?'"
"The most terrible thing about it is not that it breaks one's heart — hearts are made to be broken — but that it turns one's heart to stone."
"Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain."
"Morality did not help me. I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. But while I see that there is nothing wrong in what one does, I see that there is something wrong in what one becomes."
Memorable quotes "The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was rMemorable quotes "The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included."
"Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met with in the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them." ...more
"It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. EverybodMemorable Quotes (there's several)
"It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like “Poo-tee-weet?”"
"There are no characters in this story and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters. But old Derby was a character now."
"He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next."
"We went to the New York World's Fair, saw what the past had been like, according to the Ford Motor Car Company and Walt Disney, saw what the future would be like, according to General Motors. And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep."
"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops."
"And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes."
""He was a funny-looking child who became a funny-looking youth - tall and weak and shaped like a bottle of Coca-Cola."
"'The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. '"
"He ate a pear. It was a hard one. It fought back against his grinding teeth. It snapped in juicy protest."
"If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still--if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice."