"There is no more lamentable pursuit than a life of pleasure."

— W. Somerset Maugham, The Circle (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"From the second act onward everything was permitted her. She might hold herself awkwardly; she might fail to sing some note in tune; she might forget her words — it mattered not: she had only to turn and laugh to raise shouts of applause."

— Emile Zola, Nana (via talesofpassingtime)

"I’ll begin long before me, for no one should describe his life who lacks the patience to commemorate at least half of his grandparents’ existence before detailing his own."

— Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"I suppose it’s difficult for the young to realise that one may be old without being a fool."

— W. Somerset Maugham, The Circle (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"The grim portrait of Beethoven hanging over the piano, a gift from Greff, was removed from its nail, and an equally grim portrait of Hitler was hung on the same nail. Matzerath, who had no interest in serious music, wanted to banish the nearly deaf composer completely. But Mama, who loved the slow movements of Beethoven sonatas, had learned to play two or three of them at a slower tempo than indicated, and occasionally let them flow slowly forth on the piano, insisted that Beethoven be placed, if not over the sofa, at least over the sideboard. This resulted in the grimmest of confrontations: Hitler and the genius hung opposite each other, stared at each other, saw through each other, yet found no joy in what they saw."

— Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"This question of bread and butter excited them yet more, though Claude showed magnificent contempt for it all. The artist was robbed, no doubt, but what did that matter, if he had painted a masterpiece, and had some water to drink? Jory, having again expressed some low ideas about lucre, aroused general indignation. Out with the journalist! He was asked stringent questions. Would he sell his pen? Would he not sooner chop off his wrist than write anything against his convictions? But they scarcely waited for his answer, for the excitement was on the increase; it became the superb madness of early manhood, contempt for the whole world, an absorbing passion for good work, freed from all human weaknesses, soaring in the sky like a very sun. Ah! how strenuous was their desire to lose themselves, consume themselves, in that brazier of their own kindling!"

— Emile Zola, The Masterpiece (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"‘Ah,’ she said, ‘what’s described in them, is how young men seduce virtuous girls; how, on the excuse that they want to marry them, they carry them off from their parents’ houses; how afterwards they leave these unhappy girls to their fate, and they perish in the most pitiful way. I read a great many books,’ said grandmother, ‘and it is all so well described that one sits up all night and reads them on the sly. So mind you don’t read them, Nastenka,’ said she. ‘What books has he sent?’"

— Fyodor Dostoevsky, White Nights (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"Jealous! Yes, indeed she was jealous, so she suffered agony. But she snapped her fingers at other women; all the models in Paris might have sat to him for what she cared. She had but one rival, that painting, that art which robbed her of him."

— Emile Zola, The Masterpiece (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"Professor Redwood rose to eminence—I do not clearly remember how he rose to eminence! I know he was very eminent, and that’s all."

— H.G. Wells, The Food of the Gods (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"—She says you used to be clever when you were in college, writing, but you sort of faded out, Max went on agreeably. —She says the reason you were clever was because you didn’t know how to be honest."

— William Gaddis, The Recognitions (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"You have no right to preach to me, you neophyte, that have not passed the porch of life, and are absolutely unacquainted with its mysteries."

— Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"Yes,” responded Abbot; “if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that."

— Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"Gustav tends to sneer, but Säure really turns out to be an adept at the difficult art of papyromancy, the ability to prophesy through contemplating the way people roll reefers— the shape, the licking pattern, the wrinkles and folds or absence thereof in the paper. “You will soon be in love,” sez Säure, “see, this line here.”"

— Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"Far from the rest the pair would creep
And (elbows on the table) they
A game of chess would often play,
Buried in meditation deep,
Till absently Vladimir took
With his own pawn alas! his rook!"

— Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (via talesofpassingtime)

(via talesofpassingtime)

"I dare not flatter myself with the hope of a reply: love would have written to me with impatience, friendship with pleasure, even pity with complacence; but pity, friendship and love are equally strangers to your heart."

— Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (via talesofpassingtime)