Uit: Les Faux-monnayeurs
„- Je suis heureux que vous n’ayez pas signé. Mais, ce qui vous a retenu ?
– Sans doute quelque secret instinct… Bernard réfléchit quelques instants, puis ajouta en riant : – Je crois que c’est surtout la tête des adhérents ; à commencer par celle de mon frère aîné, que j’ai reconnu dans l’assemblée. Il m’a paru que tous ces jeunes gens étaient animés par les meilleurs sentiments du monde et qu’ils faisaient fort bien d’abdiquer leur initiative, car elle ne les eût pas menés loin, leur jugeote, car elle était insuffisante, et leur dépendance d’esprit, car elle eût été vite aux abois. Je me suis dit également qu’il était bon pour le pays qu’on pût compter parmi les citoyens un grand nombre de ces bonnes volontés ancillaires(1) ; mais que ma volonté à moi ne serait jamais de celles-là. C’est alors que je me suis demandé comment établir une règle, puisque je n’acceptais pas de vivre sans règle, et que cette règle je ne l’acceptais pas d’autrui.
– La réponse me paraît simple : c’est de trouver cette règle en soi-même ; d’avoir pour but le développement de soi.
– Oui…, c’est bien là ce que je me suis dit. Mais je n’en ai pas été plus avancé pour cela. Si encore j’étais certain de préférer en moi le meilleur, je lui donnerais le pas sur le reste. Mais je ne parviens pas même à connaître ce que j’ai de meilleur en moi… J’ai débattu toute la nuit, vous dis-je. Vers le matin, j’étais si fatigué que je songeais à devancer l’appel de ma classe(2) ; à m’engager.
– Echapper à la question n’est pas la résoudre.
– C’est ce que je me suis dit, et cette question, pour être ajournée , ne se poserait à moi que plus gravement après mon service. Alors je suis venu vous trouver pour écouter votre conseil.
– Je n’ai pas à vous en donner. Vous ne pouvez trouver ce conseil qu’en vous-même, ni apprendre comment vous devez vivre, qu’en vivant.“
André Gide (22 november 1869 – 19 februari 1951)
„Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as well as her stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from her plain garments, which by the side of provincial fashion gave her the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible,–or from one of our elder poets,–in a paragraph of to-day’s newspaper.She was usually spoken of as being remarkably clever, but with the addition that her sister Celia had more common-sense. Nevertheless, Celia wore scarcely more trimmings; and it was only to close observers that her dress differed from her sister’s, and had a shade of coquetry in its arrangements; for Miss Brooke’s plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared.The pride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactly aristocratic, were unquestionably “good:” if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers–anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of all political troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate.Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster’s daughter.Then there was well-bred economy, which in those days made show in dress the first item to be deducted from, when any margin was required for expenses more distinctive of rank.Such reasons would have been enough to account for plain dress, quite apart from religious feeling; but in Miss Brooke’s case, religion alone would have determined it; and Celia mildly acquiesced in all her sister’s sentiments, only infusing them with that common-sense which is able to accept momentous doctrines without any eccentric agitation.“
George Eliot (22 november 1819 – 22 december 1880)
Op 30-jarige leeftijd, portret doorFrançois D’Albert Durade
Uit: Omon Ra (Vertaald door Andrew Bromfield)
„When I woke up, the earth was no longer visible. All I could make out through the spy holes were the white spots of the distant and unattainable stars, blurred by the lenses. I imagined the existence of a huge, immensely hot sphere hanging entirely unsupported in the icy void, billions of kilometres from the closest stars, those tiny gleaming dots, of which all we know is that they exist, and even that’s not certain, because a star can die, while its light will carry on traveling out in all directions, so really we don’t know anything about stars, except that their life is terrible and senseless, since all their movements through space are predetermined and subject to the laws of mechanics, which leave no hope at all for any chance encounters. But then, I thought, even though we human beings always seem to be meeting each other, and laughing, and slapping each other on the shoulder, and saying goodbye, there’s still a certain special dimension into which our consciousness sometimes takes a frightened peep, a dimension in which we also hang quite motionless in a void where there’s no up or down, no yesterday or tomorrow, no hope of drawing closer to each other or even exercising our will and changing our fate; we judge what happens to others from the deceptive twinkling light that reaches us, and we spend all our lives journeying towards what we call the light, although its source may have ceased to exist long ago. And me, I thought, all my life I’ve been journeying towards the moment when I could soar up over the crowds of what the slogans called the workers and the peasants, the soldiers and the intelligentsia, and now here I am hanging in brilliant blackness on the invisible threads of fate and trajectory—and now I see that becoming a heavenly body is not much different from serving a life sentence in a prison carriage that travels round and round a circular railway line without ever stopping.“
Viktor Pelevin (Moskou, 22 november 1962)
De Brits-Indische schrijverstweeling Suresh en Jyoti Guptara werd geboren op 22 november 1988 in Frimley, Hants in het zuidoosten van Engeland. Zie ook mijn blog van 22 november 2008 en ook mijn blog van 22 november 2009 en ook mijn blog van 22 november 2010.
Uit: Conspiracy of Calaspia
‘”Not – Nurgor,’ he panted.‘Worse.’
Galar frowned.There wasn’t much worse in existence, not in the Visible World at any rate.He looked uneasily around him.
‘I can deal with whatever lives here,’ he said.
‘Os … ten,’ the man choked in a barely audible way.His voice shook.‘Ostentum.’
‘Yeh must be mistaken.’
‘No!’Suddenly the man was caught in a fit of jerks and his eyes rolled madly in their sockets.Galar gently slapped his patient’s cheek and grabbed a different, bigger flask that was tied to his belt.He sat the man up once more as soon as the fit had subsided and supplied him with water.The man spluttered and coughed before returning to moaning.This time his voice was clearer.
‘Leave me!It’s too late … save yourself!’
‘Nah, it’s you who needs the savin’,’ Galar asserted.
Before he could continue, the man grabbed his shoulder and hauled himself up.‘You don’t understand!It’s a trap!Begone, Dwarf!’Galar moved the handle of his axe to a readily accessible point.‘I am bait; why do you think they didn’t kill me?Ostentum are at the Pinnacle of Insanity, and the Master knows you will foil his plans.’
‘Who is this master?’ Galar asked sharply.
The man tried to say something, but his body was wracked by another spasm, and he fell back into the dirt, foaming at the mouth.
Galar’s wide features became a mask of worry.The man lifted his head, neck chords straining, and uttered a final syllable.‘Flee!’
All at once the air bristled with noise and movement.
‘Yer comin’ with me,’ Galar said firmly.He was going to kneel and pick up his wounded companion before he realised how very close the enemy was.Instead he leapt to his feet, swinging the golden axe in a swishing arc around his head before charging the foe.”
Suresh en Jyoti Guptara (Frimley, 22 november 1988)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 22 november ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.