Katherine's Reviews > After Many a Summer Dies the Swan

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley
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's review
Jun 17, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read from June 14 to 17, 2010

"Gothic with a Gothicity raised, so to speak, to a higher poer, more medieval than nay building of the thirteenth century" (18).
"Not having been brought up in a free country, Jeremy had automatically begun to smile as this person, whom he guessed to be his host and employer, came hurrying towards him" (28).
"...in spite of God's being love, there was a note in his voice of renascent exasperation" (38).
"...then, with the elaborate by-play of Guy Fawkes talking to Catesby on the stage of a provincial theatre, he took Mr. Stoyte by the arm and led him a few feet away, up the steps" (38).
"Poised on the almost invisible vibration of its wings, a humming bird was drinking..." (42).
"...then walked away with as much dignity as her two little strips of white satin would permit her..." (55).
“ ‘Right knowledge is hardly less rare than sustained good will to act on it’” (102).
“ ‘Poverty and suffering ennoble only when they are voluntary’” (106).
“His gravest offence had been to accept the world in which he found himself as normal, rational and right. Like all others he had allowed the advertisers to multiply his wants; he had learnt to equate happiness with possessions, and prosperity, with money to spend in a shop” (107).
“Bondage is the life of personality, and for bondage the personal self will fight with tireless resourcefulness and the most stubborn cunning. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance; and he had failed to be vigilant. It wasn’t a case, he reflected ruefully, of the spirit being willing and the flesh weak. That was altogether the wrong antithesis. The spirit is always willing; but the person, who a mind as well as a body, is always unwilling—and the person, incidentally, is not weak but extremely strong” (111).
“ ‘Liberation from time,’ he said. ‘Liberation from craving and revulsion. Liberation from personality’” (123).
“ ‘Potential good is anything that helps you to get out of prison. Actualized good lies outside the prison, in timelessness, in the state of pure, disinterested consciousness’” (124).
“ ‘For what do such applications result in? The multiplication of possessable objects; the invention of new instruments of stimulation; the disseminations of new wants through propaganda aimed at equating possession with well-being and incessant stimulation with happiness. But incessant stimulation from without is a source of bondage; and so the preoccupation with possessions. And now you’re threatening to prolong our lives, so that we can go on being stimulated, go on desiring possessions, go on waving flags and hating our enemies and being afraid of air attack—go on and on, generation after generation, sinking deeper and deeper into the stinking slough of our personality.’ He shook his head. ‘No, I can’t quite share your optimism about science’” (126).
“ ‘You can have all the virtues—that’s to say, all except the two that really matter, understanding and compassion’” (130).
“ ‘The feeling in question is a non-personal experience of timeless peace. Accordingly, non-personality, timelessness and peace are what it means’” (131).
“Mr. Propter laughed. ‘It’s good to be cynical,’ he said. ‘That is, if you know when to stop’” (132).
"'On the higher level, it exists in the form of knowledge of the world without desire or aversion; it exists as the experience of eternity, as the transcendendence of personality, the extension of consciousness beyond the limits imposed by the ego'" (136).
"'But nothing impairs the normal functioning of the organism like craving and revulsion, like greed and fear and worry'" (136).
"'Luckily,' he went on, 'most of us don't manage to behave like human beings all the time. We forget our wretched little egos and those horrible great porjections of our egos in the ideal world--forget them and relapse for a while into harmless animality'" (137).
" '...momentary glimpses into the nature of the world as it is for a consciousness liberated from appetite and time, of the world as it might be if we didn't choose to deny God by being our personal selves'" (138).
"'If you want to make the world safe for animals and spirits, you must hav ea system that reduces the amount of fear and greed and hatred and domineering to their minimum, which means that you must have enough economic security to get rid at least of that source of worry'" (168-169).
"'There's a hierarchy of idiocies. Naturally, you and I prefer the classiest variety'" (175).
"'Let's take the commonest word in all religious literature: love. On the human level the word means--what? Practically everything from Mother to the Marquis de Sade'" (184).
"Men and women are continually trying to lose their lives, the stale, unprofitable, senseless lives of their ordinary personalities. For ever trying to get rid of them and ina thousand different ways" (224).
"'I regret my sloth, but console myself with the thought that my fellow men are too contemptible for me to waste my time instructing or entertaining them'" (244).
"'From solitude in the Womb, we emerge into solitude among our Fellows, and return again to solitude within the grave. We pass our lives in the attempt to mitigate that solitude. But Propinquity is never fusion'" (244-245).
"'The amiable silliness of the liberal churches is good enough for quiet times; but note that it's always supplemented by the ferocious lunacies of nationalism, for use in times of crisis'" (282).
"'...characteristics,' he had added, 'which are admirable in Fish Ponds, but deplorable in rational Discourse...'" (287).
"'The criterion is the picture we paint of ourselves in our own fancy--the highly flattering portrait of the free soul making creative choices and being the master of its fate. Unfortunately, the picture bears no resemblance to ordinary human reality'" (327).
"'Nothing is ever anybody's fault. Even constipation'" (347)

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