1. Just about anything from Monsieur l’Abbé T. in Thérèse Philosophe. This radical priest is on fire every time he opens his mouth! Lines like:
“Everyone agrees that God knows what will occur throughout eternity. But, they say, even before he knows what the results of our actions will be, he has foreseen that we will betray his grace and commit these same acts. Thus, with this foreknowledge, God, in creating us, knew in advance that we would be eternally damned and eternally miserable.”
2. Pistorius in Hermann Hesse’s Demian. “Don’t talk shit, man! One doesn’t hear of Abraxas by accident!”
3. “Pablo would be waiting for me, and Mozart too.” (Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf.)
4. “(I still have that suitcase, and even now when I chance to come upon it, I run my fingers around the hole torn in it. It is a wound which cannot heal as wounds heal on bodies or on hearts. Things have longer memories than people.)”—Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (may his memory be for a blessing), Volume II of The GULAG Archipelago.
5. “Rosy-fingered Eos, mentioned so often in Homer and called Aurora by the Romans, caressed, too, with those fingers the first early morning of the Archipelago.”—Ibid.
6. “To taste the sea all one needs is one gulp.”—Ibid.
7. “Mama, I make this vow to you: I will teach my sons to love life, respect man, and hate only one thing—WAR.”—Isabella Leitner, Fragments of Isabella.
8. “….You can rarely decide for another that he or she should not do this or that. How can anyone forbid you to love when Christ said that there is nothing higher than love? And he made no exceptions, for love of any kind whatsoever.”—Aleksandr Isayevich, November 1916.
9. “The voice lost in a faraway village church had found me again and filled the whole room. I spoke loudly and incessantly like the peasants and then like the city folk, as fast as I could, enraptured by the sounds that were heavy with meaning, as wet snow is heavy with water, convincing myself again and again and again that speech was now mine and that it did not intend to escape through the door which opened onto the balcony.”—The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski.
10. Last but not least, my love Dante:
Midway life’s journey I was made aware
That I had strayed into a dark forest,
And the right path appeared not anywhere.
Ah, tongue cannot describe how it oppressed,
This wood, so harsh, dismal, and wild, that fear
At thought of it strikes now into my breast.
So bitter it is, death is scarce bitterer.
But, for the good it was my hap to find,
I speak of the other things that I saw there.
I cannot remember well in my mind
How I came thither, so was I immersed
In sleep, when the true way I left behind.