Modernist Quotes

Quotes tagged as "modernist" (showing 1-13 of 13)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
“I returned rather feebly to the subject of her daughter. 'I suppose she talks, she eats, and everything.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Marcel Proust
“This compulsion to an activity without respite, without variety, without result was so cruel that one day, noticing a swelling over his stomach, he felt an actual joy in the idea that he had, perhaps, a tumor that would prove fatal, that he need not concern himself with anything further, since it was this malady that was going to govern his life, to make a plaything of him, until the not-distant end. If indeed, at his period, it often happened that, though without admitting it even to himself, he longed for death, it was in order to escape not so much from the keenness of his sufferings as from the monotony of his struggle.”
Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

William Carlos Williams
“The rock has split, the egg has hatched, the prismatically plumed bird of life has escaped from its cage. It spreads its wings and is perched now on the peak of the huge African mountain Kilimanjaro.
Strange recompense, in the depths of our despair at the unfathomable mist into which all mankind is plunging, a curious force awakens. It is Hope long asleep, aroused once more. Wilson has taken an army of advisers and sailed for England. The ship has sunk. But the men are all good swimmers. They take the women on their shoulders and buoyed on by the inspiration of the moment they churn the free seas with their sinewy arms, like Ulysses, landing all along the European seaboard.
Yes, hope has awakened once more in men's hearts. It is NEW! Let us go forward!
The imagination, freed from the handcuffs of "Art", takes the lead! Her Feet are bare and not too delicate. In fact those who come behind her have much to think of. Hm. Let it pass.”
William Carlos Williams, Imaginations

Aldous Huxley
“He himself, Anthony went on to think, he himself had chosen to regard the whole process as either pointless or a practical joke. Yes, chosen. For it had been an act of the will. If it were all nonsense or a joke, then he was at liberty to read his books and exercise his talents for sarcastic comment; there was no reason why he shouldn't sleep with any presentable woman who was ready to sleep with him. If it weren't nonsense, if there was some significance, then he could no longer live irresponsibly. There were duties towards himself and others and the nature of things. Duties with whose fulfilment the sleeping and the indiscriminate reading and the habit of detached irony would interfere. He had chosen to think it nonsense, and nonsense for more than twenty years the thing had seemed to be – nonsense, in spite of occasional uncomfortable intimations that there might be a point, and that the point was precisely in what he had chosen to regard as the pointlessness, the practical joke.”
Aldous Huxley, Eyeless in Gaza

Joseph Conrad
“They wanted facts. Facts! They demanded facts from him, as if facts could explain anything!”
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

Marcel Proust
“He suffered greatly from being shut up among all these people whose stupidity and absurdities wounded him all the more cruelly since, being ignorant of his love, incapable, had they known of it, of taking any interest, or of doing more than smile at it as at some childish joke, or deplore it as an act of insanity, they made it appear to him in the aspect of a subjective state which existed for himself alone, whose reality there was nothing external to confirm; he suffered overwhelmingly, to the point at which even the sound of the instruments made him want to cry, from having to prolong his exile in this place to which Odette would never come, in which no one, nothing was aware of her existence, from which she was entirely absent.”
Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

Marianne Moore
“In the days of Prismatic Color
not in the days of Adam and Eve, but when Adam
was alone; when there was no smoke and color was
fine, not with the refinement
of early civilization art, but because
of its originality; with nothing to modify it but the
mist that went up, obliqueness was a variation
of the perpendicular, plain to see and
to account for: it is no
longer that; nor did the blue-red-yellow band
of incandescence that was color keep its stripe”
Marianne Moore, Complete Poems

Marianne Moore
Messengers much like ourselves? Explain it.
Steadfastness the darkness makes explicit?
Something heard most clearly when not near it?
Above particularities,
these unparticularities praise cannot violate.
One has seen, in such steadiness never deflected,
how by darkness a star is perfected.
Star that does not ask me if I see it?
Fir that would not wish me to uproot it?
Speech that does not ask me if I hear it?
Mysteries expound mysteries.
Steadier than steady, star dazzling me, live and elate,
no need to say, how like some we have known; too like her,
too like him, and a-quiver forever.

Marianne Moore, Complete Poems

Marianne Moore
“Even when the bird is walking we know that it has wings.”—VICTOR HUGO
my crow
the true
green-blue rainbow
— Victor Hugo, it is true
we know that the crow
“has wings,” however pigeon-toe-
inturned on grass.
We do. (adagio)
con dizionario
io parlo
this pseudo
which, savio
you speak too
— my vow and motto
(botto e totto)
io giuro
è questo
è peso morto.
And so
dear crow—
mio— I have to
let you go;
a bel bosco
tuttuto vagabondo, s
erafino uvaceo
Plato, addio.

(((((Impromptu equivalents for esperanto madinusa (made in U.S.A.) for those who might not resent them. azzurro-negro: blue-black vivorosso: lively con dizionario: with dictionary savio ucello: knowing bird botto e totto: vow and motto io giuro: I swear è questo credo: is this credo lucro è peso morto: profit is a dead weight gioièllo mio: my jewel a bel bosco: to lovely woods tuttuto vagabondo: complete gypsy serafino uvaceo: grape-black seraph sunto: in short verecondo: modest))))
Marianne Moore, Complete Poems

Marianne Moore
If it is unpermissible, in fact fatal
to be personal and undesirable
to be literal—detrimental as well
if the eye is not innocent-does it mean that
one can live only on top leaves that are small
reachable only by a beast that is tall?—
of which the giraffe is the best example—
the unconversational animal.
When plagued by the psychological,
a creature can be unbearable
that could have been irresistible;
or to be exact, exceptional
since less conversational
than some emotionally-tied-in-knots animal.
After all
consolations of the metaphysical
can be profound. In Homer, existence
is flawed; transcendence, conditional;
“the journey from sin to redemption, perpetual.”
Marianne Moore, Complete Poems

Joseph Conrad
“He is romantic—romantic,” he repeated. “And that is very bad—very bad. . . . Very good, too,” he added. “But is he?” I queried.
‘“Gewiss,” he said, and stood still holding up the candelabrum, but without looking at me. “Evident! What is it that by inward pain makes him know himself? What is it that for you and me makes him—exist?”
‘At that moment it was difficult to believe in Jim’s existence—starting from a country parsonage, blurred by crowds of men as by clouds of dust, silenced by the clashing claims of life and death in a material world—but his imperishable reality came to me with a convincing, with an irresistible force! I saw it vividly, as though in our progress through the lofty silent rooms amongst fleeting gleams of light and the sudden revelations of human figures stealing with flickering flames within unfathomable and pellucid depths, we had approached nearer to absolute Truth, which, like Beauty itself, floats elusive, obscure, half submerged, in the silent still waters of mystery. “Perhaps he is,” I admitted with a slight laugh, whose unexpectedly loud reverberation made me lower my voice directly; “but I am sure you are.” With his head dropping on his breast and the light held high he began to walk again. “Well—I exist, too,” he said.”
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

Joseph Conrad
“It was then that Brown took his revenge upon the world which, after twenty years of contemptuous and reckless bullying, refused him the tribute of a common robber’s success. It was an act of cold-blooded ferocity, and it consoled him on his deathbed like a memory of an indomitable defiance. . . . Thus Brown balanced his account with the evil fortune. Notice that even in this awful outbreak there is a superiority as of a man who carries right—the abstract thing—within the envelope of his common desires. It was not a vulgar and treacherous massacre; it was a lesson, a retribution—a demonstration of some obscure and awful attribute of our nature which, I am afraid, is not so very far under the surface as we like to think.”
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

Marianne Moore
Beauty and Beauty’s son and rosemary—
Venus and Love, her son, to speak plainly—
born of the sea supposedly, at Christmas each, in company,
braids a garland of festivity.
Not always rosemary— since the flight to Egypt, blooming differently.
With lancelike leaf, green but silver underneath,
its flowers—white originally—
turned blue. The herb of memory,
imitating the blue robe of Mary,
is not too legendary
to flower both as symbol and as pungency.
Springing from stones beside the sea,
the height of Christ when thirty-three—
it feeds on dew and to the bee
“hath a dumb language”; is in reality
a kind of Christmas-tree.”
Marianne Moore, Complete Poems