Tuesday, February 14, 2006

some lovely quotations

I'm always collecting sentences and passages I adore - here are some on the subject of love:

Romantic love has suffered a demotion following the wars of the sexes in recent decades, with the result that we’ve forgotten it is the source of some of our civilization’s greatest acts of heroism and genius. For what else did knights slay dragons in the Middle Ages, did Petrarch write poetry, did Dante take on The Divine Comedy, Zeus turn himself into a swan, and Penelope weave her gorgeous web? Even evolutionary psychologists say we are never so strong as when we are in love, never so poised for high achievement or fierce battle. (It has to do with dopamine levels, apparently.) Instead of trying to curb the power of this love plot in one of the sexes, as feminists like the late Carolyn Heilbrun have done, might it not be better to re-sanction it in both?

-Cristina Nehring, from Atlantic Monthly July/Aug 2005, “Fidelity with a wandering eye”

To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god.

-Jorge Luis Borges

Love is too strong a word, but pleasure that is at all rooted in the flesh is helpful to literary work because it cancels all other pleasures, for instance the pleasures of society, those which are the same for everyone. And even if this love leads to disillusionment, it does at least stir, even by so doing, the surface of the soul which otherwise would be in danger of becoming stagnant.

- Marcel Proust, from The Captive, p. 239

If Holly could marry that “absurd foetus,” then the army of wrongness rampant in the world might as well march over me. Or, and the question is apparent, was my outrage a little the result of being in love with Holly myself? A little. For I was in love with her. Just as I'd once been in love with my mother's elderly colored cook and a postman who let me follow him on his rounds and a whole family named McKendrick. That category of love generates jealousy, too.

- Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, p. 71-2

Well, in a kind of classical situation in life what would happen at that point is you’d have a broken heart and without much imagination but with the sense that you have to get over this, you suffer the loss of the love and life moves on and you have a scar in the place of it. In [the character Leo Gursky's] case he does something very, very different that I think takes a necessary leap of the imagination - he says, “She may well be the cause of my love but I am the source of that love, and if I am the source of it her existence is not necessary to my continuing love. What if I were to salvage that love whether she allows it or not, whether she receives it or not and what if it becomes the core of my own vitality of my life.” And through this act of insistence, and again I think an act of the imagination, he refuses the idea of loss, of the broken heart - he turns it into some material of which his life is based.

-Nicole Krauss, from an interview about her novel The History of Love

1 comment:

mkh said...

I have always loved that Borges quote). Thanks for the list.