Robertson Davies idézet

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Robertson Davies

Születési dátum: 28. augusztus 1913
Halál dátuma: 2. december 1995

William Robertson Davies, CC, OOnt, FRSC, FRSL was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best known and most popular authors and one of its most distinguished "men of letters", a term Davies is variously said to have both gladly accepted for himself and to have detested. Davies was the founding Master of Massey College, a graduate residential college associated with the University of Toronto.

Idézetek Robertson Davies

„Once or twice I have tried to talk to film people about my ugly heroine.“

—  Robertson Davies

Writing (1990).
Kontextus: Once or twice I have tried to talk to film people about my ugly heroine. I explain to them the extraordinary psychological fascination of the medieval legend of the Loathly Damsel, whose splendour of spirit is confined within a hideous body, and she becomes beautiful only when she is understood and loved. I advise you not to talk to resolutely Hollywood minds about the Loathly Damsel. Their eyes glaze, and their cigars go out, and behind the lenses of their horn-rimmed spectacles I see the dominating symbol of their inner life: it is a dollar sign.

„One might think, to hear some people talk, that this had been a particularly fine summer. From their point of view, I suppose, it has.“

—  Robertson Davies

Three Worlds, Three Summers — But Not the Summer Just Past (1949).
Kontextus: One might think, to hear some people talk, that this had been a particularly fine summer. From their point of view, I suppose, it has. They have rushed about the lakes in noisy little boats; they have permitted themselves to be dragged behind other little boats, standing more or less upright on ironing boards; they have immersed themselves in lakes into which countless summer cottage privies drain; they have laboriously pursued summer flirtations, and some of them have achieved gritty conquests on the sands; they have sat in hot little boats waiting to catch fish which they have then had to eat; they have passed many hours changing their skins from pinkish-drab to brown, erroneously believing that they are "storing up sunshine" against the winter months; they have motored penitential distances; they have taken thousands of feet of film of people whose names they will not be able to remember in November. They have amused themselves after their fashion, and I have no quarrel with them.

„Nabokov is more like a master swordsmith making a fine blade; nothing is amiss, nothing is too much, there is no fuss, and the finished product must be handled with great care, or it will cut you badly.“

—  Robertson Davies

Review of Nabokov's Lolita (1958).
Kontextus: Many authors write like amateur blacksmiths making their first horseshoe; the clank of the anvil, the stench of the scorched leather apron, the sparks and the cursing are palpable, and this appeals to those who rank "sincerity" very high. Nabokov is more like a master swordsmith making a fine blade; nothing is amiss, nothing is too much, there is no fuss, and the finished product must be handled with great care, or it will cut you badly.

„The ironist is not bitter, he does not seek to undercut everything that seems worthy or serious, he scorns the cheap scoring-off of the wisecracker.“

—  Robertson Davies, könyv The Cunning Man

Part 2, section 6.
The Cunning Man (1994)
Kontextus: The ironist is not bitter, he does not seek to undercut everything that seems worthy or serious, he scorns the cheap scoring-off of the wisecracker. He stands, so to speak, somewhat at one side, observes and speaks with a moderation which is occasionally embellished with a flash of controlled exaggeration. He speaks from a certain depth, and thus he is not of the same nature as the wit, who so often speaks from the tongue and no deeper. The wit's desire is to be funny; the ironist is only funny as a secondary achievement.

„Have you never read the manifesto of the Marchbanks Humanist Party? How does it begin?
The more taboos and prohibitions there are in the world
The poorer the people will be.
The more sharp weapons the people have
The more troubled the state will be.“

—  Robertson Davies

Introduction.
The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks (1985)
Kontextus: Have you never read the manifesto of the Marchbanks Humanist Party? How does it begin?
The more taboos and prohibitions there are in the world
The poorer the people will be.
The more sharp weapons the people have
The more troubled the state will be.
The more cunning and skill man possesses
The more vicious things will appear.
The more laws and orders are made prominent
The more thieves and robbers there will be.
And who wrote that, do you suppose?" "You, I imagine." "No, you don't imagine. That's what's wrong with you, and your kind; you don't, and can't imagine. Those words were written by the Chinese sage Lao Tzu in the sixth century BC.

„Viewed unsympathetically, this is nothing, a chance association-by-knees; yet if we cherish life, and are not mere creatures of death and sepulcher, deluded by the notion that only our own experience is real and our demise the end of the world, we see in it a reminder that we are all beads on a string — separate yet part of a unity.“

—  Robertson Davies, könyv A Voice from the Attic

A Voice from the Attic (1960)
Kontextus: An old friend of mine who died recently at a great age was, in infancy, held on the knee of an elderly godmother who had been, in her infancy, held on the knee of yet another godmother who had been held on the knee of Queen Anne, who died in 1714. Viewed unsympathetically, this is nothing, a chance association-by-knees; yet if we cherish life, and are not mere creatures of death and sepulcher, deluded by the notion that only our own experience is real and our demise the end of the world, we see in it a reminder that we are all beads on a string — separate yet part of a unity.

„If you attack stupidity, you attack an entrenched interest with friends in government and every walk of public life“

—  Robertson Davies

The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks (1949)
Kontextus: If you attack stupidity, you attack an entrenched interest with friends in government and every walk of public life, and you will make small progress against it.

„He sets a thief to guard his purse
Who trusts a dial with his hours“

—  Robertson Davies

The Golden Ass (1999)
Kontextus: He sets a thief to guard his purse
Who trusts a dial with his hours
Or bids a sand-glass bleed away his nights,
His days, his loves, his pleasures and his powers.
The burthen of his years
Is Time's soft footfall, Time's soft
Falling
Through his joys and tears.

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„Great drama, drama that may reach the alchemical level, must have dimension and its relevance will take care of itself.“

—  Robertson Davies

Alchemy in the Theatre (1994).
Kontextus: Great drama, drama that may reach the alchemical level, must have dimension and its relevance will take care of itself. Writing about AIDS rather than the cocktail set, or possibly the fairy kingdom, will not guarantee importance.... The old comment that all periods of time are at an equal distance from eternity says much, and pondering on it will lead to alchemical theatre while relevance becomes old hat.

„These people seemed to think that whizzing through space in a car really altered the universe for them, but they were wrong; each one remained right in the centre of his private universe, which is the only field of knowledge of which he has any direct experience.“

—  Robertson Davies

Samuel Marchbanks' Almanack (1967)
Kontextus: Was driving through the countryside today with some people who insisted upon frequent recourse to a roadmap in order to discover, as they put it, "Just where they were." Reflected that for my part I generally have a pretty shrewd idea of just where I am; I am enclosed in the somewhat vulnerable fortress which is my body, and from that uneasy stronghold I make such sorties as I deem advisable into the realm about me. These people seemed to think that whizzing through space in a car really altered the universe for them, but they were wrong; each one remained right in the centre of his private universe, which is the only field of knowledge of which he has any direct experience.

„Modern man is a debtor, or he is nothing, and money becomes more and more illusory.“

—  Robertson Davies

The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks (1949)
Kontextus: Readers will immediately divine that this was written before the advent of the credit card. After this invention grasped commerce in its clutch, Marchbanks found that unless he had one he was without Fiscal Credibility; if he had no debts he did not exist. Modern man is a debtor, or he is nothing, and money becomes more and more illusory.

„The word "religion" just means "law," the consideration of law and consequence. That's what interests me: what happens as a result of what people do.“

—  Robertson Davies

"Robertson Davies: Beyond the Visible World".
Kontextus: The word "religion" just means "law," the consideration of law and consequence. That's what interests me: what happens as a result of what people do. Also the reluctance people have to learn that certain actions will bring certain consequences … people don't learn. Over and over again they do the same stupid things without having learned what happens. … We are not wise because we are always looking for causes for things which are outside ourselves.

„He doesn't care nearly as much about individuals and individual fates as we would like to suppose. But by trying to ally ourselves with the totality of things, we may get into Tao as they say in the East and be part of it, really take part in it, and not just regard ourselves as a kind of miraculous creation and the rest just sort of stage scenery against which we perform.“

—  Robertson Davies

Judith Grant interview (1999)
Kontextus: I literally never meet anybody who ever talks about God as something other than a kind of big man. I think God is a wondrous spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, but only interested in men as part of a giant creation which is pulsing with life.
People say, when a relative dies: "Oh, how could God have taken her away so young and with so much before her?" God doesn't give a bugger about how young she is. He probably isn't noticing particularly. That's just the way a lot of things happen. A lot gets spilled, you know, in nature. When you look at what's going on out there now, those trees are dropping seeds by literally the hundreds of thousands and millions, and one or two of them may take on. I think that that is the way that God functions. He doesn't care nearly as much about individuals and individual fates as we would like to suppose. But by trying to ally ourselves with the totality of things, we may get into Tao as they say in the East and be part of it, really take part in it, and not just regard ourselves as a kind of miraculous creation and the rest just sort of stage scenery against which we perform.

„A sense of wonder is in itself a religious feeling. But in so many people the sense of wonder gets lost. It gets scarred over.“

—  Robertson Davies, könyv World of Wonders

"World of Wonders".
Kontextus: A sense of wonder is in itself a religious feeling. But in so many people the sense of wonder gets lost. It gets scarred over. It's as though a tortoise shell has grown over it. People reach a stage where they're never surprised, never delighted. They're never suddenly aware of glorious freedom or splendour in their lives. This is very unhappy, very unfortunate. The attitude is often self-induced. It is fear. People are afraid to be happy.

„I was a frequent visitor at the London Zoo; in the lion house there were always ninnies who mocked the captive lions. I often wished that the bars would turn to butter, and that the great, noble beasts would practise their particular form of wit upon the little, ignoble men.“

—  Robertson Davies

The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks (1949)
Kontextus: God knows I have little interest in animals, but I do not like to see them insulted. I used to feel the same thing in the days when I was a frequent visitor at the London Zoo; in the lion house there were always ninnies who mocked the captive lions. I often wished that the bars would turn to butter, and that the great, noble beasts would practise their particular form of wit upon the little, ignoble men.

„The truth is that art does not teach; it makes you feel, and any teaching that may arise from the feeling is an extra, and must not be stressed too much.“

—  Robertson Davies

Introduction to Fortune, My Foe and Eros at Breakfast (c. 1993).
Kontextus: The truth is that art does not teach; it makes you feel, and any teaching that may arise from the feeling is an extra, and must not be stressed too much. In the modern world, and in Canada as much as anywhere, we are obsessed with the notion that to think is the highest achievement of mankind, but we neglect the fact that thought untouched by feeling is thin, delusive, treacherous stuff.

„It is mankind's discovery of language which more than any other single thing has separated him from the animal creation.“

—  Robertson Davies

On Seeing Plays (1990).
Kontextus: It is mankind's discovery of language which more than any other single thing has separated him from the animal creation. Without language, what concept have we of past or future as separated from the immediate present? Without language, how can we tell anyone what we feel, or what we think? It might be said that until he developed language, man had no soul, for without language how could he reach deep inside himself and discover the truths that are hidden there, or find out what emotions he shared, or did not share, with his fellow men and women. But because this greatest gift of all gifts is in daily use, and is smeared, and battered and trivialized by commonplace associations, we too often forget the splendour of which it is capable, and the pleasures that it can give, from the pen of a master.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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