For a moment he paused there, the wind blowing his long grey locks about his head, and twisting into grotesque and fantastic folds the nameless horror of the dead man’s shroud. ~ The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
There are horrors beyond horrors, and this was one of those nuclei of all dreamable hideousness which the cosmos saves to blast an accursed and unhappy few. ~ The Shunned House by H. P. Lovecraft
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. ~ Invictus by William Ernest Henley
It was worse than anything. Mrs. Hall, standing open-mouthed and horror-struck, shrieked at what she saw, and made for the door of the house. Everyone began to move. They were prepared for scars, disfigurements, tangible horrors, but nothing! The bandages and false hair flew across the passage into the bar, making a hobbledehoy jump to avoid them. Everyone tumbled on everyone else down the steps. For the man who stood there shouting some incoherent explanation, was a solid gesticulating figure up to the coat-collar of him, and then—nothingness, no visible thing at all! ~ The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
But dreams come through stone walls, light up dark rooms, or darken light ones, and their persons make their exits and their entrances as they please, and laugh at locksmiths. ~ Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
At a single strain of music, the scent of a flower, or even one glimpse of a path of moonlight lying fair upon a Summer sea, the barriers crumble and fall. Through the long corridors the ghosts of the past walk unforbidden, hindered only by broken promises, dead hopes, and dream-dust. ~ Old Rose and Silver by Myrtle Reed
“O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.” ~ Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
“I don’t remember forms or faces now, but I know the girl was beautiful. I know she was; for in the bright moonlight nights, when I start from my sleep, and all is quiet about me, I see, standing still and motionless in one corner of this cell, a slight and wasted figure with long black hair, which streaming down her back, stirs with no earthly wind, and eyes that fix their gaze on me, and never wink or close.” ~ The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
“There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery.” ~ Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
The sky was a midnight-blue, like warm, deep, blue water, and the moon seemed to lie on it like a water-lily, floating forward with an invisible current. ~ One of Ours by Willa Cather
Is this the real me? Is that the real you? Who knows? Maybe these four quotes from literature about reality will help us sort it out.
Affery, like greater people, had always been right in her facts, and always wrong in the theories she deduced from them. ~ Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality. ~ Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad
Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem. ~ The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else’s manufacture, is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own make, as good money! ~ Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Yesterday NPR interviewed Salman Rushdie about his new memoir, Joseph Anton. In the book Rushdie talks about the experience of living in hiding after a fatwa was issued calling for the death of the author and anyone associated with the book’s publication.
Where does the title come from? In the interview Rushdie states:
“The police asked me to come up with a pseudonym, partly because I needed to rent properties and so on, and obviously couldn’t do it in my own name,” he says. “And I was asked to make it not an Indian name. And so, deprived of one nationality, I retreated into literature — which is, you could say, my other country — and chose this name from the first names of Conrad and Chekhov: Joseph Conrad, Anton Chekhov equals Joseph Anton.”
The interview is fascinating. Rushdie draws parallels between his situation and Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds. Not only that, he suggests that his experience might have been a sort of foretelling of the 9/11 attacks.
I love Netflix. One of the shows that I’m watching on it is Lost. The first season of Lost was the start of a huge adventure. I absolutely loved it. It was exciting. It kept me guessing. And there were loads of literary references.
Walkabout, the fourth episode of season one, features Jack asking Kate, “Tell me something, how come every time there’s a hike into the Heart of Darkness you sign up?”