… it is often our mightiest projects that most obviously betray the degree of our insecurity.
– W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz
Paradoxically, it is this willed closure or neatness of finish that the true artist needs to resist, fending off the urge to smooth out the rough surfaces of pain, necessity, and accident.
– Mary Kinzie, Introduction to Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea
The television was on. It had been on for hours. Years. It was there. TV on demand, a great freedom. Hasn’t Burroughs said there was more freedom today than ever before. Wasn’t that like saying things were more like today than they’ve ever been.
– Lynne Tillman, The Complete Madame Realism
The shocking effects of high explosive and spinning metal strip dignity from death in battle. The crews of burnt-out tanks are reduced to hunched, simian homunculi, and infantry who suffer direct hits from shells may vanish as if they had never existed, or have their passing marked by the discovery of disconnected tatters of mortality.
– The Oxford History of Modern Warfare
There’s a plot afoot all right, and I’ll gladly name the forces propelling it—hysteria, ignorance, malice, stupidity, hatred, and fear. What a repugnant spectacle our country has become! Falsehood, cruelty, and madness everywhere, and brute force in the wings waiting to finish us off.
– Philip Roth, The Plot Against America