1. “…I longed to enter upon an existence of virtue; not that I had any great regard for virtue itself, but because I valued my own happiness.”

    — Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself by Robert Montgomery Bird (via straymessages)

  2. Joan Chase’s During the Reign of the Queen of Persia (with an introduction by Megan O’Rourke) goes on sale April 15, 2014

  3. —Sylvia Townsend Warner, Summer Will Show
via elanormcinerney

    —Sylvia Townsend Warner, Summer Will Show

    via elanormcinerney

  4. “There are a number of difficulties with dirty words, the first of which is that there aren’t nearly enough of them; the second is that the people who use them are normally numskulls and prudes; the third is that in general they’re not at all sexy, and the main reason for this is that no one loves them enough.”

    — 

    William Gass, On Being Blue
    on sale March 11, 2014


    You can read Michael Gorra’s introduction to this new edition at the NYRBlog.

  5. “There was a feeling almost of knowing, or being on the edge of knowing, what had been hidden from you, a deceptive simplification, and later, when I thought about it, I realized it was just a feeling, and that whatever it was that was on the verge of being understood disappeared as soon as you turned away..”

    — Alfred Hayes In Love,  (via inwonderment)

  6. "Canadians, do not vomit on me!"

    image

    Our favorite copyeditor just mentioned that this was her favorite line from her favorite NYRB classic, Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights—and we knew we had to share it with you.

  7. “Courage, Love, Illusion (or dream, if you will) — he who possesses all three, or two, or at least one of these things wins whatever there is to win; those who lack all three are the failures.”

    — Edward Lewis Wallant, The Tenants of Moonbloom (via monamade)

  8. “The tragedy and evil of buying a ready-made suit”

    image

    From the BBC adaptation of Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky

    Now the tragedy and evil of buying a ready-made suit is this—that it ends, just like that, in “Yes. . . .” You think it would be a good idea if you bought a suit; you delightedly resolve to buy a suit; you work yourself up into a heavenly climax about a suit—and then suddenly it is all over and you are merely saying “Yes. . . .” You stare at it. You pat the pockets; you turn round and look at yourself sideways; you see what it would look like if it wasn’t buttoned. But whatever you do, there is nothing else to be said. “Yes. . . .” You look at the cuffs—but they’re no help to you—they’re excellent. You examine the lining—it couldn’t be better. Perhaps it is too tight under the arms. But it is not. It is no good. You are faced by the depressing fact that you are going to buy it.

    —Patrick Hamilton, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky

  9. “Hey wait.
    Well love after all is a habit like any other.
    A habit, maybe. Like any other, no.”

    — Renata Adler, Pitch Dark (via susanazialcita)

  10. “And life awaits man as the sea awaits the river. You can make meander after meander, twist, turn, seep into the earth — your meanders are your own affair. But life is there, patient, without beginning or end, waiting for you, like the ocean. We were a little apart from the world, little streams damned up by school and protected from violent suns and torrential rains… But however much care it took of us, and our frizzy little pigtailed heads, school could not stop our waters from gathering, and the time came when it opened its sluices and left us to the current.”

    — The Bridge of Beyond, Simone Schwarz-Bart (via edtechpentameter)

  11. “The approach of love is something as stealthy and imperceptible as the catching of a cold. A man of spirit never knows he has it until the last moment. He experiences a little dryness in the throat or a slight thickness in the head, but these symptoms are nothing. They have frequently visited him before without leading to anything more serious. Moreover, they seem to be passing off during the day. Dozens of his friends about him have colds, but he, owing to some special dispensation, is going to escape. The symptoms return. His throat seems sore. He swallows nothing continually to see how sore it is. He sincerely believes that it is very mildly sore. Also he knows that you can easily have a sore throat without having a cold. Nevertheless, as all these colds are about he had better take something. He knows that prevention is better than cure, and he is a great believer in taking these things at the very first sign—however morbid and fantastic doing so may seem. He takes something. His throat is no better, but decidedly worse, and he is a little thicker in the head. But he has no cold. Those around him who have colds (poor devils) are in one class; he is in another. Then, one night in bed, he realizes that his breathing is causing him pain and that he is in something like a fever. He is no worse than he was before, but suddenly he changes his whole attitude. A minute ago he had no cold: this minute he succumbs. He has an appalling cold, and he is one of the poor devils.”

    — 

    —Patrick Hamilton, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky


  12. “It was one of those evenings when everything and everyone has withdrawn from you as if by some conspiracy.”

    — From Transit by Anna Seghers. Nearly every page contains a few of these perfect little crystalline observations. (via bloomcity)

  13. “He was a terrific Oh nothinger, and his Oh nothings were certain omens of the utterance of anything but nothings.”

    — Patrick Hamilton, Twenty-Thousand Streets Under the Sky

  14. elanormcinerney:

Sylvia Townsend Warner | Summer Will Show

A page from your favorite “lesbian Marxist masterpiece.”

    elanormcinerney:

    Sylvia Townsend Warner | Summer Will Show

    A page from your favorite “lesbian Marxist masterpiece.

  15. “The weight of all her unhappy years seemed for a moment to weigh her bosom down to the earth; she trembled, understanding for the first time how miserable she had been; and in another moment she was released. It was all gone, it could never be again, and never had been. Tears of thankfulness ran down her face. With every breath she drew, the scent of the cowslips flowed in and absolved her.”

    — Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes (via backfromthedeadred)