quotes_jan28_2001.htm

(Jan 28th to Feb 3rd)



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‘…The magic of Literature lies in the words, and not in any man. Witness, a thousand excellent, strenuous words can leave us quite cold or put us to sleep, whereas a bare half-hundred words breathed upon by some man in his agony, or in his exaltation, or in his idleness, ten generations ago, can still lead whole nations into and out of captivity, can open to us the doors of the three worlds, or stir us so intolerably that we can scarcely abide to look at our own souls. It is a miracle – one that happens very seldom. But secretly each one of the masterless men with the words has hope, or has had hope, that the miracle may be wrought again through him…’

  

This is from an address by RK to a Royal Academy Dinner in May 1906, collected in ‘A Book of Words’.


‘…The Elizabethans … stood on the edge of a new and wonderful world filled with happy possibilities. Their descendants, 350 years later, have been shot into a world as new and as wonderful, but not quite as happy. And in both ages you can see writers raking the dumps of the English language for words that shall range harder, hit harder, and explode over a wider area than the service-pattern words in common use.
This merciless search, trial, and scrapping of material is one with the continuity of life which, we all know, is as a tale that is told, and which writers feel should be well told…’

   

This is from an address by RK to the Royal Literary Society in June 1926, collected in ‘A Book of Words’.


…’They say youth is the season of hope, ambition, and uplift – that the last word youth needs is an exhortation to be cheerful. Some of you here know – and I remember – that youth can be a season of great depression, despondencies, doubts, waverings, the worse because they seem to be peculiar to ourselves and incommunicable to our fellows. There is a certain darkness into which the soul of the young man sometimes descends – a horror of desolation, abandonment, and realised worthlessness, which is one of the most real of the hells in which we are compelled to walk.’
‘I know of what I speak…’

   

This is from an address by RK at McGill University in Montreal in October 1907, collected in ‘A Book of Words’.

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