Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.

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“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

 

Antoni Arissa Untitled 1930-1936“Antoni Arissa Untitled 1930-1936 ”

 

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Living on a Hint

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.

— Henry David Thoreau

In the Case of Good Books

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“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” 
 Mortimer J. Adler

image: Lin Kristensen acquired from Wikimedia Commons

Illumination

Kent

But sometimes illumination comes to our rescue at the very moment when all seems lost; we have knocked at every door and they open on nothing until, at last, we stumble unconsciously against the only one through which we can enter the kingdom we have sought in vain a hundred years – and it opens.

~ Marcel Proust

image – Rockwell Kent

“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.” – Pythagoras

“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.”  – Pythagoras

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” – Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Leon Spilliaert
Leon Spilliaert

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”- Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Ralph Eugene Meatyard

“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”- Edith Sitwell

Edith Sitwell
Edith Sitwell

“Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it. – Amir” – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

‘Stargazer’ - Sam Wolfe Connelly
‘Stargazer’ – Sam Wolfe Connelly

“For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of – to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others… and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.” – Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse

René Magritte - La vie privée, (The private life) 1946
René Magritte – La vie privée, (The private life) 1946

“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Fred Stein, 1946
Fred Stein, 1946

“In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.” – Rumi

Félix Thiollier (1842-1914): Figure contemplant les monts du Menzenc, 1895-1905.
Félix Thiollier (1842-1914): Figure contemplant les monts du Menzenc, 1895-1905.

“I don’t think…” then you shouldn’t talk, said the Hatter.”- Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

“Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing.” – William S. Burroughs

“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.” – George Eliot

“It is always assumed by the empty-headed, who chatter about themselves for want of something better, that people who do not discuss their affairs openly must have something to hide.” – Honore de Balzac, Pere Goriot

Nancy Cunard-Curtis Moffat, c. 1925
Nancy Cunard-Curtis Moffat, c. 1925

“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.” – Elbert Hubbard

Robert George Harris
Robert George Harris

“If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet…maybe we could understand something.” – Federico Fellini

Julien Spianti, Elsewhere
Julien Spianti, Elsewhere

 

Solitary drinker Lafayette Hotel Greenwich Village New York 1948 Photo: Berenice Abbott
Solitary drinker Lafayette Hotel Greenwich Village New York 1948 Photo: Berenice Abbott

To think with a limp

“Even though she herself had walked from the wreckage unscathed, some spirit shrapnel lodged itself deep inside her, beyond the reach of surgeons, poisoning her thoughts and causing her to think with a limp.”

Rhidian Brook: The Aftermath (ISBN 9780241957479)

Andre Coquelin

photo: Andre Coquelin

Donkey-Skin by Charles Perrault: Curiosity made him put his eye to the keyhole

“Donkey-Skin” Illustration by Harry Clarke

“It was with difficulty that he withdrew from this gloomy little alley, intent on discovering who the inmate of the tiny room might be. He was told that it was a scullion called Donkey-skin because of the skin which she always wore, and that she was so dirty and unpleasant that no one took any notice of her, or even spoke to her; she had just been taken out of pity to look after the geese.”

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“Curiosity made him put his eye to the keyhole”

Donkey Skin  (French: Peau d’Âne) is a French literary fairytale written in verse by Charles Perrault. It was first published in 1695 in a small volume and republished in 1697 in Perrault’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé

It’s an unsettling tale of a King who wanted to marry his daughter, after his wife’s death>

“A king had a beautiful wife and a rich castle, including a marvelous donkey whose droppings were gold. One day his wife died, after making him promise not to marry except to a woman whose beauty and attributes equaled hers. The king grieved, but was, in time, persuaded to seek another wife. It became clear that the only woman who would fit the promise was his daughter.

She went to her fairy godmother who advised her to make impossible demands as a condition of her consent: a dress as bright as the sun, a dress the colour of the moon, a dress all the colours of the sky, and finally, the hide of his marvelous donkey (which produced gold, and thus was the source of his kingdom’s wealth). Such was the king’s desire to marry her that he granted all of them. The fairy godmother gave her a marvelous chest to contain all she owned and told her that the donkeyskin would make an excellent disguise.

Illustration by Gustave Doré

The princess fled and eventually found a royal farm where they let her work in the kitchen, despite her ugliness in the donkeyskin. On feast days, she would dress herself in the fine gowns her father had given her, and one such day, the prince came by her room and peeped through the keyhole. He fell in love at once, fell ill with his longing, and declared that nothing would cure him but a cake baked by Donkeyskin, and nothing they could say of what a dirty creature she was dissuaded him.

When Donkeyskin baked the cake, a ring of hers fell in it. The prince found it and declared that he would marry only the woman whose finger it fit. Every other woman having failed, he insisted that Donkeyskin try, and it fit. When she had dressed herself in her fine gowns, his parents were reconciled with the match. Donkeyskin later found that her father had remarried to a beautiful widow and everyone lived happily ever after.

 

It was also a 1970 French musical film directed by Jacques Demy. It is also known by the English titles Once Upon a Time and The Magic Donkey.  It stars Catherine Deneuve and Jean Marais, with music by Michel Legrand. Donkey Skin also proved to be Demy’s biggest success in France.

Peau_ane

For the full Perrault story, and the rest of his fairy tales, read them online or download here:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29021/29021-h/29021-h.htm#Donkey-skin