New Deal! New site. - 0 Comments

New deal, people! I'm moving my self-centered book musings over to a new site:

November 20, 2008: Le Guin on Politicians - 0 Comments

"He was a hard shrewd politician, whose acts of kindness served his interest and whose interest was himself. His type is panhuman. I had met him on Earth, and on Hain, and on Ollul. I expect to meet him in Hell."

- Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness, 1969.

October 26, 2008: Susenyos' modest confession - 0 Comments

"I have not changed my religion, I have only improved it. I do not hold my faith because it is that of the Portuguese, nor because it is the faith of Rome, but because it is the true faith. And do not deceive yourselves--for this faith I am prepared to die if necessary, but all those who contradict it will die first."

- Susenyos, King of Ethiopia, ca. 1620, as quoted in Silverberg, The Realm of Prester John, 1972.

October 26, 2008: Giulano Dati on ecumenicism - 0 Comments

"Although a few profess erroneous creeds,
Nevertheless from Christ their faith proceeds."
- Giulano Dati, Treatise on the Supreme Prester John, Pope and Emperor of India and of Ethiopia, c. 1495.

October 16, 2008: On the King's Coins - 0 Comments

". . . but I dreamed the head of a king
was carried on all, that they teemed on rooftops . . ."

- Charles Williams, 'Bors to Elaine: on the King’s Coins' from Taliessin Through Logres, 1938.

October 12, 2008: Easterbrook on doom - 0 Comments

"Most contemporary fund-raising turns on high-decibel assertions that everything's going to hell. It is not."

- Gregg Easterbrook, The Progress Paradox, 2003

October 6, 2008: Stuntz on Tradition - 0 Comments

"Burke taught conservatives to respect tradition even when its rationale seems obscure, for tradition often represents the accumulated wisdom of generations past."

- Bill Stuntz, "Where Are the Burkeans?", 2008

September 28, 2008: Robinson on truth, devotion, and grace - 0 Comments

"Experience had taught them that truth had sharp edges and hard corners, and could be seriously at odds with kindness. They had learned that excessive devotion to even the highest things seemed and probably was sanctimonious, and that the one sufficient measure of excess was that look of annoyance, confirmed in themselves by a twinge of embarrassment, that meant the line had been crossed. They recognized grace in the readiness of the darkest sinner to take a little joke, a few self-effacing words, as an apology."

-- Robinson, Home, 2008

September 20, 2008: Flaubert's chemist on priests - 0 Comments

"Bravo!" said the chemist. "Now just send your daughters to confess to fellows which such a temperament! I, if I were the Government, I'd have the priests bled once a month. Yes, Madame Lefrancois, every month—a good phlebotomy, in the interests of the police and morals."

"Be quiet, Monsieur Homais. You are an infidel; you've no religion."

The chemist answered: "I have a religion, my religion, and I even have more than all these others with their mummeries and their juggling. I adore God, on the contrary. I believe in the Supreme Being, in a Creator, whatever he may be. I care little who has placed us here below to fulfil our duties as citizens and fathers of families; but I don't need to go to church to kiss silver plates, and fatten, out of my pocket, a lot of good-for-nothings who live better than we do. For one can know Him as well in a wood, in a field, or even contemplating the eternal vault like the ancients. My God! Mine is the God of Socrates, of Franklin, of Voltaire, and of Beranger! I am for the profession of faith of the 'Savoyard Vicar,' and the immortal principles of '89! And I can't admit of an old boy of a God who takes walks in his garden with a cane in his hand, who lodges his friends in the belly of whales, dies uttering a cry, and rises again at the end of three days; things absurd in themselves, and completely opposed, moreover, to all physical laws, which prove to us, by the way, that priests have always wallowed in turpid ignorance, in which they would fain engulf the people with them."

- Flaubert, Madame Bovary, 1857.

September 14, 2008: Trollope makes the gift richer by delaying it - 0 Comments

"But she was highly ambitious, and she played her game with great skill and great caution. Her doors were not open to all callers; - were shut even to some who find but few doors closed against them; - were shut occasionally to those whom she most specially wished to see within them. She knew how to allure by denying, and to make the gift rich by delaying it. We are told the Latin proverb that he who gives quickly gives twice; but I say that she who gives quickly seldom gives more than half."

- Trollope, Phineas Finn, 1869.