Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quoth Erin, The Cutest Raven

One of my favorite people on the face of the planet (I am unfortunately usually chocked full with countless exaggerations, but in this case I'm being as understated as possible) is Liz from Mean Mama.

A few posts ago she quoted Nathaniel Hawthorne from a letter to his sister referring to his relationship with his wife. I went to the site she found the letter on, read the letter and began to think of all my favorite quotes/letters from famous men. Men hold a dear and near place in my heart, not just because I'm a heterosexual female, but because of the great impact that certain men have made in my life. Despite their faults as human beings, they've moved me in vast ways.

I thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes from men I consider to be great.

Cliche? Yes, it might be! Wise and true? Yes, it certainly is! - "All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost," J.R.R Tolkien

He might not be as well known, and I've faltered when reading some of his work (i.e. Howards End), but he was wise and wise and wise -“If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country." E.M. Forster

Strange, trans-morphic, sickly. A man who made a whole new literary style to befuddle hundreds of thousands of 11th grade literature students- "I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." Franz Kafka

I could write about Thoreau for days and days. A smart, well-read man, who loved the world around him so much that he became a hermit on Walden Pond in order to embrace it thoroughly. Immersed, finely executed, hard working and humble. - "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost: that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler." Henry David Thoreau

Oddly enough, some of my most remembered quotes were quotes about my favorite author, Henry James. He was elitist, brilliant and well known for his ridiculous long winded nature. He had an unlikely friendship with a much younger Edith Wharton and also Virginia Woolf. Most of his novels/novellas are about Americans traveling or living abroad in Europe and he inspired a whole slew of writers (including Wharton) that began to write on the same subject. I love this quote from Wharton about a moment with Henry James - "Tranquil white clouds hung above it in a windless sky, and the silence and solitude were complete as we sat looking across at the crumbling towers, and at their reflection in a moat starred with water-lilies, and danced over by great blue dragonflies. For a long time no one spoke; then James turned to me and said solemnly: 'Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."

Ironically, James was never involved with a woman. I say ironically because of his complex understanding (which a lot of critics see as misogynist) and involvement in the creation of female characters. Regardless, he liked to conjecture about himself, and like me was definitely prone to exaggeration -"I'm that queer monster the artist, an obstinate finality, an inexhaustible sensibility." Henry James

Finally, I'll end with a quote from the arrogant bastard, James Joyce. I loved him as a child, but the older I get the more fed up I become with him...what is genius and how does one accomplish creating works that contain genius? He's so confusing! -"A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery."

"I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality." James Joyce

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I have new items available at my other site, please go and check it out and share the link!! Ultra Cute Crochet


liz woodbury said...

OH! this is my favorite thing, so far, in 2011. not just the sweet sweet things you said about me (though that almost made me cry, truth be told), but this whole post, all of these wise words. i love it. xo

ThePeachy1 said...

great post. making me remember contemplating the meaning behind great writers. I think now, we all explain so clearly to be "understood" and lack the possibility of debate and immortality.

ladytruth said...

Reading their work and sometimes just staring at their words make me feel so silly and insignificant trying to write my posts week by week. Sigh ... but being a genius comes at a steep price, unfortunately. I'll just stay insignificant a little while longer :)

Vic said...

My friend and I argue about James Joyce sometimes. I think he's interesting, she hates him with a passion. I once read a poem with a line that went :

"James Joyce--
I'd rather throw
dead batteries at
than read him"

I think that's how she feels.

Deidra said...

Thanks for a good dose of culture today! I feel a little smarter now.

Cindy said...

The Thoreau quote is one of my all-time faves and one that I seriously think of all the time. Thanks for spreading the goodness. You have a really cute page! :)))

nova said...

HA! I've never heard that James Joyce one before. He was a brilliant man, hey? It worked!

steff said...

i love that kafka quote. creativity is very often emotionally violent. at least for me.

Angela Christensen said...

Excellent post, Erin: just in time to help me put my brain in gear for the post-holiday season. Thank you.

Coming soon: a photo of Rodney modeling his Boxer balaclava: another triumph from Ultra Cute Crochet!
Angie at Eat Here