Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The destiny of all these foreigners, cast up and crammed into this narrow, damp valley and condemned to live in unusual conditions for an unknown length of time, now came to an abrupt maturity. The strange circumstances into which they had been thrown speeded up inner processes already at work in them, driving each of them with more relentless force in the direction of his impulses. The way these impulses developed and were manifested here was different in both degree and form than might have been the case in any other circumstances.

Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Both the ill-will and the goodness of a people are the product of the circumstances in which they live and develop….I become more and more convinced of how wrong we are…to seek to introduce everywhere our own attitudes, our exclusively rational way of life and government. It seems to me more and more a senseless waste of effort. For it’s pointless to want to remove all abuses and preconceptions if you haven’t the strength or ability to remove what caused them.

Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls

Friday, September 08, 2006

During the day…he was a calm, decisive man, with a definite name, profession and rank, a clear aim and set tasks which were the reason for his coming to this remote Turkish province.…But at night, he was both all that he was now and all that he had ever been or should have been. And that man, lying in the darkness of the long February nights, seemed to…himself a stranger, complex, and at times quite unknown.

Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls

Sunday, September 03, 2006

In poetry or politics, a Romantic with a sense of the ridiculous can do great great things.

Adam Gopnik, “Life of the Party: Benjamin Disraeli and the politics of performance,” New Yorker, July 3, 2006