Friday, August 05, 2005

A Series of Quotes from 'Lanark,' by Alasdair Gray

"'If more than 5% of the people like a painting then burn it for it must be bad.' James McNeil Whistler

'I do not pretend to understand art but I believe most so-called modern art is the work of lazy, half-baked people.' President Truman

'Going down to hell is easy: the gloomy door is open night and day. Turning around and getting back to sunlight is the task, the hard thing.' Vergil

'Humanity sets itself no problem which cannot eventualy be solved.' Marx" (283).

"Remember, Duncan, when most people leave school they have to live by work which can't be liked for its own sake and whose practical application is outside their grasp. Unless they learn to work obediently because they're told to, and for no other reason, they'll be unfit for human society" (168).

"The cake she baked me bit me till I cried/ The bed she made me was so hard I nearly died/ The shirt she washed me folded its arms and tied me up inside/ She's going domestic, she's got a great big domestic plan,/ But PLEASE baby believe me lady I am/ not a domestic man/ not a domestic man/ not a domestic man" (404).

"Do you remember when I was pregnant, and said I wanted a girl, and you said you wanted a boy so that someone would like the baby? You've always tried to BALANCE me as if I were a badly floating boat. You've brought no joy to my happiness or sorrow to my misery, you've made me the loneliest woman in the world" (458).

"'Creatures shall be seen on the earth who will always be fighting one another, with the greatest losses and frequent deaths on either side. There will be no bounds to their malice by their strong limbs the vast forests of the world shall be laid low; and when they are filled with food they shall gratify their deisres by dealing out death, affliction, labour, terror, and banishment to every living thing; and from their boundless pride they will desire to rise towards heaven, but the excessive weight of their limbs will hold them down. Nothing shall remain on the earth or under the earth or in the waters that shall not be pursued, distroyed, or spoiled, and that which is in one country removed into another. And their bodies shall be made the tomb and the means of transit of all the living bodies they have slain.

O earth, why do you not open and hurl them into the deep fissures of thy vast abysses and caverns, and no longer display in the sight of heaven so cruel and horrible a monster?'

-from Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks

'VLADIMIR: Suppose we repented.
ESTRAGON: Repented what?
VLADIMIR: Oh... (he reflects) We wouldn't have to go into the details.'

-from Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot'"


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