Today’s Quote

May 17, 2018

“I’ve simply always lacked even the slightest religious impulse—when people talk about their faith, I can’t connect with what they’re talking about. This isn’t a decision I came to, or a deep belief or principle; I’m just religion-deaf, the way tone-deaf people hear sounds but not music. I suppose my religion is reading.”

AVID READER

By Robert Gottlieb


Today’s Quotes

October 5, 2015

BookCover220From note 16, Chapter III: American Scripture, Making the Declaration of Independence, by Pauline Maier

“With regard to the values and educational methods of the eighteenth century, note that Jefferson himself kept a ‘Commonplace Book.’ Its pedagogical purpose was suggested by Jefferson’s teacher, the Rev. James Maury, who instructed his own son to ‘reflect, and remark on, and digest what you read,’ and to dwell on any remarkable beauties of diction, justness or sublimity of sentiment, or masterly strokes of true wit which may occur in the course of your reading.”

From note 97, Chapter IV: American Scripture, Making the Declaration of Independence, by Pauline Maier

“At Chicago, Lincoln . . . said that the argument that the principles of the Declaration of Independence do not apply to blacks was identical to ‘the pauline-maierarguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class.’ Douglas’s argument was like that of ‘the same old serpent’ who says ‘you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it. Turn it whatever way you will—whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for enslaving people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it all the same old serpent . . . .”


Today’s Quote

July 3, 2015

lzColm-3“For any writer who has known early loss and dislocation, the task is to find metaphors, to work out ways of dealing with experience that are indirect to begin with, and then slowly move toward the original wound by something lurking in the prose. Writing becomes a skin-tight camouflage; the camouflage then carries with it traces of the original impulse to write and to make the writing matter to the reader, traces that gradually become more right with truth and dense with feeling than the original impulse itself.”

Colm Tóibín

From the essay The Hard-Won Truth of the North

The New York Review, July 9, 2015 issue.


Today’s Quote

February 9, 2015

John Adams

From American Scripture, Making the Declaration of Independence, By Pauline Maier

Adams, J” . . . . the committee appointed Mr. Jefferson and me, to draw them (i.e., the ‘Articles’) up in form, and cloath them in a proper Dress. The Sub Committee met, and considered the Minutes, making such Observations on them as then occured: when Mr. Jefferson desired me to take them to my Lodgings and make the Draught. This I declined and gave several reasons for declining. 1. That he was a Virginian and I a Massachusettensian. 2. that he was a southern Man and I a northern one. 3. That I had been so obnoxious for my early and constant Zeal in promoting the Measure, that any draught of mine, would undergo a more severe Scrutiny and Criticism in Congress, than one of his composition. 4thly and lastly that would be reason enough if there were no other, I had great Opinion of the Elegance of his pen and none at all of my own . . . He accordingly took the Minutes  and in a day or two produced to me his Draught . . . “


Today’s Poem

October 1, 2014
Holmes2Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1841-1935

Cacoëthes Scribendi

(An itch for scribbling.)

 If all the trees in all the woods were men,
And each and every blade of grass a pen;
If every leaf on every shrub and tree
Turned to a sheet of foolscap; every sea
Were changed to ink, and all earth’s living tribes
Had nothing else to do but act as scribes,
And for ten thousand ages, day and night,
The human race should write, and write, and write,
Till all the pens and paper were used up,
And the huge inkstand was an empty cup,
Still would the scribblers clustered round its brink
Call for more pens, more paper, and more ink.
 
Oliver Wendell Holmes
—The Oxford Book of Comic Verse
Edited by John Gross