1. art
    Offline

    art Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    113

    Things we love

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by art, Jan 28, 2011.

    Hopefully, a thread where we can all share bits of work we love. Fiction, non-fiction, whatever. Little snippets of works, the odd paragraph, perhaps, that you think wonderful or exemplary.

    Clearly, it would seem appropriate to only share those bits that are in the public domain. Gutenberg. org is a wonderful resource and they have an admirably liberal policy on the sharing of their downloadable works.

    Below is an excerpt from one of Samuel Johnson's Rambler essays, written in 1752. It is typical Johnson: saying things that are perhaps pretty obvious but with such power and such clarity that it's like being punched in the face (in a very very nice way). Lovers of the semi-colon should brace themselves for a feast.




     
  2. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    took me ages to find this because i was reading a schools edition over talking about bed pressing a bulls **** is not suitable :)
    Shakespeare Act II scene 4 of Henry IV
    * Henry V. I'll be no longer guilty of this sin; this sanguine
    coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker,
    this huge hill of flesh,—

    * Falstaff. 'Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried
    neat's tongue, you bull's pizzle, you stock-fish!
    for breath to utter what is like thee! you
    tailor's-yard, you sheath, you bowcase; you vile
    standing-tuck,—

    * Henry V. Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again: and
    when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons,
    hear me speak but this.
     
  3. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,123
    Likes Received:
    5,323
    Location:
    California, US
    Few passages that are fun.

    In Titus Groan, by Peake, when Mr Flay begins to follow the tremendously fat Abiatha Swelter, the head Chef at Gormenghast. Swelter has just passed Flay, and Flay is waiting for him to get a distance away before following:

    Then, a few paragraphs later, as Flay catches up to Swelter pursuing his foul work:

     
  4. art
    Offline

    art Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    113
    Which all reminds me of my favourite Shakespeare insult (from somewhere or other): 'Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens.':cool:

    That is superb, Steerpike. He seems to have some of that happy facility (that many Victorian writers do - Dickens most spectacularly) of being able to inject humour not through overt joking but by the exquisite arrangement of well chosen words. Which is all to say, I think, that he is a writer.



    The last lines of My Life, a shorty story from Chekhov. Extraordinarily powerful yet very quiet.

    And when important things are said, and said beautifully, the effect is simply devastating.

    - Corinthians, 13
     
  5. abbigailrosewood
    Offline

    abbigailrosewood Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a bit from the famous Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

    'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. 'Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there—not in heaven—not perished—where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!'
     
  6. art
    Offline

    art Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    113
    Stirring stuff, Abigail.

    Some Dickens.

    The opening lines of Dombey and Son.

     
  7. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I just love this book Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, its just one scene from it.

    When Nat went into school on Monday morning, he quaked inwardly, for now he thought he should have to display his ignorance before them all. But Mr. Bhaer gave him a seat in the deep window, where he could turn his back on the others, and Franz heard him say his lessons there, so no one could hear his blunders or see how he blotted his copybook. He was truly grateful for this, and toiled away so diligently that Mr. Bhaer said, smiling, when he saw his hot face and inky fingers:

    "Don`t work so hard, my boy; you will tire yourself out, and there is time enough."

    "But I must work hard, or I can`t catch up with the others. They know heaps, and I don`t know anything," said Nat, who had been reduced to a state of despair by hearing the boys recite their grammar, history, and geography with what he thought amazing ease and accuracy.

    "You know a good many things which they don`t," said Mr. Bhaer, sitting down beside him, while Franz led a class of small students through the intricacies of the multiplication table.

    "Do I?" and Nat looked utterly incredulous.

    "Yes; for one thing, you can keep your temper, and Jack, who is quick at numbers, cannot; that is an excellent lesson, and I think you have learned it well. Then, you can play the violin, and not one of the lads can, though they want to do it very much. But, best of all, Nat, you really care to learn something, and that is half the battle. It seems hard at first, and you will feel discouraged, but plod away, and things will get easier and easier as you go on."

    Nat`s face had brightened more and more as he listened, for, small as the list of his learning was, it cheered him immensely to feel that he had anything to fall back upon. "Yes, I can keep my temperfather`s beating taught me that; and I can fiddle, though I don`t know where the Bay of Biscay is," he thought, with a sense of comfort impossible to express. Then he said aloud, and so earnestly that Demi heard him:

    "I do want to learn, and I will try. I never went to school, but I couldn`t help it; and if the fellows don`t laugh at me, I guess I`ll get on first rateyou and the lady are so good to me."

    "They shan`t laugh at you; if they do, I`llI`lltell them not to," cried Demi, quite forgetting where he was.

    The class stopped in the middle of 7 times 9, and everyone looked up to see what was going on.

    Thinking that a lesson in learning to help one another was better than arithmetic just then, Mr. Bhaer told them about Nat, making such an interesting and touching little story out of it that the good-hearted lads all promised to lend him a hand, and felt quite honored to be called upon to impart their stores of wisdom to the chap who fiddled so capitally. This appeal established the right feeling among them, and Nat had few hindrances to struggle against, for every one was glad to give him a "boost" up the ladder of learning.
     
  8. abbigailrosewood
    Offline

    abbigailrosewood Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    I did not know there is one called Little men? I love her other work Little Women!
     
  9. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    The March family have 4 novels - Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys, the last one is harder to get hold of.
     

Share This Page