Inna Shpitzberg's Reviews > The Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel by E.L. Doctorow
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's review
Nov 15, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: 1000-guardian-state-of-the-nation, bloom-chaotic-read, 1-bloom-western-canon-read, 1001-read, 1000-guardian-read
Read from September 16, 2011 to November 10, 2014


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Reading Progress

10/17/2014 page 25
11/14/2014 page 35
10.0% "Reader, this is a note to you. If it seems to you elementary, if it seems after all this time elementary. If it' is elementary an seems to you at this late date to be pathetically elementary, like picking up some torn bits of cloth and tearing them again. If It is that elementary, then reader, I am reading you. And together we may rend our clothes in mourning."
11/14/2014 page 70
21.0% "Images are what things mean. Take the word image. It connotes soft, sheer flesh shimmering on the air, like the rainbowed slick of a bubble. Image connotes images, the multiplicity being an image. Images break with a small ping, their destruction is as wonderful as their being, they are essentially instruments of torture exploding through the individual's calloused capacity to feel powerful undifferentiated emotions"
11/14/2014 page 110
34.0% "And there were now people who couldn't get passports, and there were now people who couldn't find jobs, and there were now people jailed for contempt, and there were now people who couldn't find Mark Twain in the library because the Russians liked him and he was a bestseller over there."
11/14/2014 page 160
50.0% "And I went home reacquainted with the merciless radical temperament."
11/14/2014 page 160
50.0% "He wants to stabilize me with responsibility. That is a true blue American. puritan idea. In that idea is the fusion of the Jew and America, both of them heirs of the ancient seafarers: you ride the sea best with lead in your keel."
11/14/2014 page 180
56.0% "Examples abound. But historians of early America fail to mention the archetype traitor, the master subversive Poe, who wore a hole into the parchment and let the darkness pour through. This is how he did it: first he spilled a few drops of whisky just below the Preamble. To this he added the blood of his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia, whom he had married and who haemorrhaged from the throat. He stirred these flui"
11/14/2014 page 180
56.0% "He stirred these fluids in a small, elliptically stressed circle with the extracted tooth of the dead Ligeia. Then added some raven droppings. A small powerful odour arose from the Constitution; there was a wisp of smoke which exploded and quickly turned mustard yellow in colour. When Poe blew this away through the resulting aperture in the parchment the darkness of the depths rose, and rises still from that small ho"
11/14/2014 page 180
56.0% "When Poe blew this away through the resulting aperture in the parchment the darkness of the depths rose, and rises still from that small hole all these years incessantly pouring its dark hellish gases like soot, like smog, like the poisonous effulgence of combustion engines over Thrift and Virtue and Reason and Natural Law and the Rights of Man. It's Poe, not those other guys. He and he alone. It's Poe who ruined us"
11/14/2014 page 180
56.0% "It's Poe, not those other guys. He and he alone. It's Poe who ruined us, that scream from the smiling face of America."
11/14/2014 page 180
56.0% "Socrates was tried. He was found guilty. He was forced to drink hemlock. By this act his persecutors raised him to eternal life and consigned themselves to the real death and total obscurity of persecutors everywhere.
Jesus was tried. He was found guilty. He was tortured and executed. If Jesus had not been tried, if he had not been put to death, how would his teachings have endured?"
11/14/2014 page 220
68.0% "You know I'm not shittin' you, man. I can live with anyone's death except my own. You know it. Everywhere in my life people have been trying to die and lots of them have made it. As it is I've done too much for you - and for what? You don't talk, you don't reinforce their sense of you. All they have is my word. I remember your voice, but how can I expect them to remember your voice. You can't write out voices. All I"
11/14/2014 page 220
68.0% "All I can say about your voice is that it is so familiar to me that I cannot perceive the world except with your voice framing the edges of my vision. It is on the horizon and under my feet."
11/14/2014 page 250
78.0% "There is a smell in the house of something less than assured life. A sense in the way my father sits with his arms on the armchair that he has passed the line across his life at which whatever was success is now understood to be failure."
11/14/2014 page 250
78.0% "Technology is the making of metaphors from the natural world. Flight is the metaphor of air, wheels are the metaphor of water, food is the metaphor of earth. The metaphor of fire is electricity."
11/14/2014 page 260
81.0% "The Judge closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. There is such a thing as too much hope,' he said."
11/14/2014 page 290
90.0% "The monstrous reader who goes on from one word to the next. The monstrous writer who places one word after another. The monstrous magician."
11/15/2014 page 300
93.0% "Dr Spock is there. The Chaplain of Yale is there. The demonstration today is an act of civil disobedience. The young cats turn in their draft cards, the older cats aid and abet them. Arrest is invited. Sitting on the steps listening to the speakers is Norman Mailer. He wears a dark suit and vest. He leans forward, his left forearm on his left knee, his right fist on his right knee. Behind him, festooned in the deep s"
11/15/2014 page 300
93.0% "Here he was in Southern California. The air a strange drink of balmy poison. The sky hazy blue overhead, solid phlegm towards the horizon."
11/15/2014 page 310
96.0% "It is interesting to note, however, that WaIt Disney's early achievements in his original medium, the animated cartoon, employed animal characters of his own devising. The animated cartoon itself, except for Disney's subsequent climb into the respectability of public domain literature, came to express the collective unconsciousness of the community of the American Naive. A study today of the products of the animated"
11/15/2014 page 310
96.0% "A study today of the products of the animated cartoon industry of the twenties, thirties and forties would yield the following theology:
I. People are animals.
2.The body is mortal and subject to incredible pain.
3. Life is antagonistic to the living.
4. The flesh can be sawed, crushed, frozen, stretched, burned, bombed, and plucked for music
5·The dumb are abused by the smart and the smart destroyed
by their"
11/15/2014 page 310
96.0% "5·The dumb are abused by the smart and the smart destroyed
by their own cunning.
6. The small are tortured by the large and the large destroyed by their own momentum.
7.·We are able to walk on air, but only as long as our illusion supports us."
11/15/2014 marked as: read

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