19th Century Quotes

Quotes tagged as "19th-century" (showing 1-30 of 52)
Louisa May Alcott
“The emerging woman ... will be strong-minded, strong-hearted, strong-souled, and strong-bodied...strength and beauty must go together.”
Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“But man is a fickle and disreputable creature and perhaps, like a chess-player, is interested in the process of attaining his goal rather than the goal itself.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead

Christopher Hitchens
“Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings.

I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Alexis de Tocqueville
“[N]ow that I am drawing to the close of this work, in which I have spoken of so many important things done by the Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: To the superiority of their women.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Leo Tolstoy
“Vronsky meanwhile, in spite of the complete fulfilment of what he had so long desired, was not completely happy. He soon felt that the realization of his longing gave him only one grain of the mountain of bliss he had anticipated. That realization showed him the eternal error men make by imagining that happiness consists in the gratification of their wishes. When first he united his life with hers and donned civilian clothes, he felt the delight of freedom in general, such as he had not before known, and also the freedom of love—he was contented then, but not for long. Soon he felt rising in his soul a desire for desires—boredom. Involuntarily he began to snatch at every passing caprice, mistaking it for a desire and a purpose.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“So he was queer, E.M. Forster. It wasn't his middle name (that would be 'Morgan'), but it was his orientation, his romping pleasure, his half-secret, his romantic passion. In the long-suppressed novel Maurice the title character blurts out his truth, 'I'm an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort.' It must have felt that way when Forster came of sexual age in the last years of the 19th century: seriously risky and dangerously blurt-able. The public cry had caught Wilde, exposed and arrested him, broken him in prison. He was one face of anxiety to Forster; his mother was another. As long as she lived (and they lived together until she died, when he was 66), he couldn't let her know.”
Michael Levenson

Oscar Wilde
“I wrote when I did not know life;
now that I know life, I have no more to say.”
Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde
“The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“By the nineteenth century, society had given up burning witches. Yet the sexual exploitation of children continued. In late-nineteenth-century Britain, for example, men who raped young girls were excused because they did it to cure venereal disease. There was a widely held belief that children would take "poisons" out of the body. In fact, leprosy, venereal disease, depression, and impotence were part of a wide range of maladies believed cured by having sex with the young. An English medical text of the time reads, "Breaking a maiden's seal is one of the best antidotes for one's ills. Cudgeling her unceasingly, until she swoons away, is a mighty remedy for man's depression. It cures all impotence.”
Patrick J. Carnes, Sexual Anorexia: Overcoming Sexual Self-Hatred

“Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.”
Lester B. Pearson

Ian McEwan
“The nineteenth century was closer than most women thought.”
Ian McEwan, The Children Act

Jerome K. Jerome
“I look in the glass sometimes at my two long, cylindrical bags (so picturesquely rugged about the knees), my stand-up collar and billycock hat, and wonder what right I have to go about making God's world hideous. Then wild and wicked thoughts come into my heart. I don't want to be good and respectable. (I never can be sensible, I'm told; so that don't matter.) I want to put on lavender-colored tights, with red velvet breeches and a green doublet slashed with yellow; to have a light-blue silk cloak on my shoulder, and a black eagle's plume waving from my hat, and a big sword, and a falcon, and a lance, and a prancing horse, so that I might go about and gladden the eyes of the people. Why should we all try to look like ants crawling over a dust-heap? Why shouldn't we dress a little gayly? I am sure if we did we should be happier. True, it is a little thing, but we are a little race, and what is the use of our pretending otherwise and spoiling fun? Let philosophers get themselves up like old crows if they like. But let me be a butterfly.”
Jerome K. Jerome, Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow

Leo Tolstoy
“Among the people to whom he belonged, nothing was written or talked about at that time except the Serbian war. Everything that the idle crowd usually does to kill time, it now did for the benefit of the Slavs: balls, concerts, dinners, speeches, ladies' dresses, beer, restaurants—all bore witness to our sympathy with the Slavs.

With much that was spoken and written on the subject Konyshev did not agree in detail. He saw that the Slav question had become one of those fashionable diversions which, ever succeeding one another, serve to occupy Society; he saw that too many people took up the question from interested motives. He admitted that the papers published much that was unnecessary and exaggerated with the sole aim of drawing attention to themselves, each outcrying the other. He saw that amid this general elation in Society those who were unsuccessful or discontented leapt to the front and shouted louder than anyone else: Commanders-in-Chief without armies, Ministers without portfolios, journalists without papers, and party leaders without followers. He saw that there was much that was frivolous and ridiculous; but he also saw and admitted the unquestionable and ever-growing enthusiasm which was uniting all classes of society, and with which one could not help sympathizing. The massacre of our coreligionists and brother Slavs evoked sympathy for the sufferers and indignation against their oppressors. And the heroism of the Serbs and Montenegrins, fighting for a great cause, aroused in the whole nation a desire to help their brothers not only with words but by deeds.

Also there was an accompanying fact that pleased Koznyshev. It was the manifestation of public opinion. The nation had definitely expressed its wishes. As Koznyshev put it, ' the soul of the nation had become articulate.' The more he went into this question, the clearer it seemed to him that it was a matter which would attain enormous proportions and become epoch-making.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Emma Thompson
“Difficult for actors to extemporise in nineteenth-century English. Except for Robert Hardy and Elizabeth Spriggs, who speak that way anyway.”
Emma Thompson, The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film

Charlotte Brontë
“No; you shall tear yourself away, none shall help you: you shall yourself pluck out your right eye; yourself cut off your right hand: your heart shall be the victim, and you the priest to transfix it.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Elizabeth Gaskell
“At all times it is a bewildering thing to the poor weaver to see his employer removing from house to house, each one grander than the last, till he ends in building one more magnificent than all, or withdraws his money from the concern, or sells his mill, to buy an estate in the country, while all the time the weaver, who thinks he and his fellows are the real makers of this wealth, is struggling on for bread for his children, through the vicissitudes of lowered wages, short hours, fewer hands employed, etc. And when he knows trade is bad, and could understand (at least partially) that there are not buyers enough in the market to purchase the goods already made, and consequently that there is no demand for more; when he would bear and endure much without complaining, could he also see that his employers were bearing their share; he is, I say, bewildered and (to use his own word) "aggravated" to see that all goes on just as usual with the millowners. Large houses are still occupied, while spinners' and weavers' cottages stand empty, because the families that once filled them are obliged to live in rooms or cellars. Carriages still roll along the streets, concerts are still crowded by subscribers, the shops for expensive luxuries still find daily customers, while the workman loiters away his unemployed time in watching these things, and thinking of the pale, uncomplaining wife at home, and the wailing children asking in vain for enough of food--of the sinking health, of the dying life of those near and dear to him. The contrast is too great. Why should he alone suffer from bad times?”
Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton

Hannah Arendt
“Significantly, it was Disraeli who said, "What is a crime among the multitude is only a vice among the few"—perhaps the most profound insight into the very principle by which the slow and insidious decline of nineteenth-century society into the depth of mob and underworld morality took place. Since he knew this rule, he knew also that Jews would have no better chances anywhere than in circles which pretended to be exclusive and to discriminate against them; for inasmuch as these circles of the few, together with the multitude, thought of Jewishness as a crime, this "crime" could be transformed at any moment into an attractive "vice." Disraeli's display of eroticism, strangeness, mysteriousness, magic, and power drawn from secret sources, was aimed correctly at this disposition in society.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

David Downie
“During the wars of the Empire while husbands and brothers were in Germany, anxious mothers gave birth to an ardent, pale, and neurotic generation,” wrote Alfred de Musset in 1836. “Behind them a past destroyed, still writhing on its ruins with the remnants of centuries of absolutism, before them the dawn of an immense horizon, the first gleams of the future, and between these two worlds—like the ocean separating the Old World from the New—something vague and floating, a troubled sea filled with wreckage, traversed from time to time by some distant sail or ship trailing thick clouds of smoke: the present … only the present remained, the spirit of the time, angel of the dawn that’s neither night nor day.” All that was left for the Lost Generations of Musset and other Romantics, the forebears of modernist revival rebels, was the bottle, the hookah, and the whorehouse, followed by the sanatorium, the madhouse, and the morgue.”
David Downie, A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

Israelmore Ayivor
“16th century advertisements cannot market 21st century products. Look for what is necessary at the present moment.”
Israelmore Ayivor, Become a Better You

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Between 1882 and 1968, more black people were lynched in MIssissippi than in any other state.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Nineteenth-century Russian literature, swooning with compassion for the suffering brother, had created for Nerzhin, and for everyone reading it for the first time, the image of a haloed, silvery-haired People, embodying all wisdom, moral purity, and spiritual grandeur.
But that was far away, on bookshelves; it was somewhere else, in the villages and fields at the crossroads of the nineteenth century. The heavens unfolded, the twentieth century came, and those places had long since ceased to exist under Russian skies.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

Hannah Arendt
“As far as the Jews were concerned, the transformation of the "crime" of Judaism into the fashionable "vice" of Jewishness was dangerous in the extreme. Jews had been able to escape from Judaism into conversion; from Jewishness there was no escape. A crime, moreover, is met with punishment; a vice can only be exterminated.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Virginia Woolf
“Es curioso advertir que, en toda crisis, siempre aparece una frase incongruente que insiste en acudir en nuestro auxilio.”
Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Charles Baudelaire
“Romanticism is a grace, celestial or infernal, that bestows us eternal stigmata.”
Charles Baudelaire

“But something special happened to American poetry in the 19th century when Walt Whitman broke with more traditional English poetics and fashioned an American poetic style as innovative and imaginative as the new nation itself. He created a persona narrator whose ambition it was to embrace all the ideals and spirit of rebellion and revolutionary zeal of its history, while creating a language free of old world formalists constraints. His new music was influenced by the Hebraic bible in its use of incantation and rhythmic repetition, and his stories were also both biblical and innovative in nature.”
Phillip Schultz

Hannah Arendt
“Darwinism met with such overwhelming success because it provided, on the basis of inheritance, the ideological weapons for race and well as class rule and could be used for, as well as against, race discrimination. Politically speaking, Darwinism as such was neutral, and it has led, indeed, to all kinds of pacifism and cosmopolitanism as well as to the sharpest forms of imperialistic ideologies. In the seventies and eighties of the last century, Darwinism was still almost exclusively in the hands of the utilitarian anti-colonial party in England. And the first philosopher of evolution, Herbert Spencer, who treated sociology as part of biology, believed natural selection to benefit the evolution of mankind and to result in everlasting peace. For political discussion, Darwinism offered two important concepts: the struggle for existence with optimistic assertion of the necessary and automatic "survival of the fittest," and the indefinite possibilities which seemed to lie in the evolution of man out of animal life and which started the new "science" of eugenics.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

A.S. Byatt
“The men and women of the Golden Age, Hesiod wrote, lived in an eternal spring, for hundreds of years, always youthful, fed on acorns from a great oak, on wild fruits, on honey. In the Silver Age, which is less written about, the people lived for 100 years as children, without growing up, and then quite suddenly aged and died. The Fabians and the social scientists, writers and teachers saw, in a way earlier generations had not, that children were people, with identities and desires and intelligences. They saw that they were neither dolls, nor toys, nor miniature adults. They saw, many of them, that children needed freedom, needed not only to learn, and be good, but to play and be wild. But they saw this, so many of them, out of a desire of their own for a perpetual childhood, a Silver Age.”
A.S. Byatt, The Children's Book

Hannah Arendt
“The birth and growth of modern antisemitism has been accompanied by and interconnected with Jewish assimilation, the secularization and withering away of the old religious and spiritual values of Judaism. What actually happened was that great parts of the Jewish people were at the same time threatened by physical extinction from without and dissolution from within. In this situation, Jews concerned with the survival of their people would, in a curious and desperate misinterpretation, hit on the consoling idea that antisemitism, after all, might be an excellent means for keeping the people together so that the assumption of external antisemitism would even imply an external guarantee of Jewish existence. This superstition, a secularized travesty of the idea of eternity inherent in a faith in chosenness and a Messianic hope, has been strengthened through the fact that for many centuries the Jews experienced the Christian brand of hostility which was indeed a powerful agent of preservation, spiritually as well as politically. The Jews mistook modern anti-Christian antisemitism for the old religious Jew-hatred—and this all the more innocently because their assimilation had by-passed Christianity in its religious and cultural aspect. Confronted with an obvious symptom of the decline of Christianity, they could therefore imagine in all ignorance that this was some revival of the so-called "Dark Ages." Ignorance or misunderstanding of their own past were partly responsible for their fatal underestimation of the actual and unprecedented dangers which lay ahead. But one should also bear in mind that lack of political ability and judgment have been caused by the very nature of Jewish history, the history of a people without a government, without a country, and without a language. Jewish history offers the extraordinary spectacle of a people, unique in this respect, which began its history with a well-defined concept of history and an almost conscious resolution to achieve a well-circumscribed plan on earth and then, without giving up this concept, avoided all political action for two thousand years. The result was that the political history of the Jewish people became even more dependent upon unforeseen, accidental factors than the history of other nations, so that the Jews stumbled from one role to the other and accepted responsibility for none.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Carragh Sheridan
“Non allontanò le labbra dalla bocca di lei.
«Accetto anche l'inferno – disse piano con voce rotta – sono disposto a qualsiasi sacrificio pur di averti ancora nella mia vita».
Sapeva che la stava perdendo, lei era troppo corretta e onesta per vivere nell'inganno o nella menzogna, ma James non era più in grado di controllare i propri sentimenti ed era in balia di quel dolore che lo stava dilaniando.
Affondò il viso nel collo di lei lasciandosi avvolgere dal suo profumo, dal calore di quel corpo disperatamente desiderato.
«Ci faremmo solamente del male – disse Theresa sofferente – è troppo tardi per noi».
«Sposami Theresa» disse James pianissimo in un ultimo disperato tentativo.
«Non posso» sussurrò lei con voce impercettibile mentre scivolava fuori dal suo abbraccio.
James percepì un freddo intenso fuori dalle sue braccia, il freddo di un addio.”
Carragh Sheridan, Fin de Siècle. Passione proibita

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