[James] was possessed by the vision of an ideal society; he saw (not fancied) the relations between the members of such a society. And no one in the end has ever been more aware — or with more benignity, or less bitterness — of the disparity between possibility and fact…
The example that Henry James offered us was not that of a style to imitate, but an integrity so great, a vision so exacting, that it was forced to the extreme of care and punctiliousness for exact expression. James did not provide us with ‘ideas’ but with another world of thought and feeling. For such a world some have gone to Dostoevsky, some to James; and I am inclined to think that the spirit of James, so much less violent, with so much more reasonableness and so much more resignation than that of the Russian, is no less profound, and is more useful, more applicable for our future.
Eliot, T. S., quoted Guardian Review, 6 Sep 2003, 35.
[Ideology is] the habitual ritual of showing respect for certain formulas to which, for various reasons having to do with emotional safety, we have very strong ties, of whose meaning and consequences in actuality we have no clear understanding.
Trilling. Lionel, from “The Meaning of the Literary Idea”, quoted by Andrew Delbanco, New York Review of Books, 4 November 1999, 36.
But jealous souls will not be answered so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they are jealous.
Tolstoy, Leo, Anna Karenina, Part 6, Chs 6 & 14.
Believe it, my brothers! He died too early; he himself would have recanted his teaching had he lived to my age! He was noble enough to recant.
But he… immaturely… hated man and the earth…
Nietzsche, Zarathustra, “Of Voluntary Death”.
JOLTING OUT OF COMPLACENCY see HABIT, 7/96
… every day my sense of joy
Grows more acute, my soul (intensified
By power and insight) more enlarged, more keen;
While every day my hairs fall more and more,
My hand shakes, and the heavy years increase –
The horror quickening still from year to year,
The consummation coming past escape
When I shall know most, and yet least enjoy…
I dare at times imagined to my need
Some future state revealed to us by Zeus,
Unlimited in capability
For joy, as this is in desire for joy,
– To seek which, the joy-hunger forces us. [But it can’t be… See SELF-AWARENESS, 5/92.]
Browning, from “Cleon”.
JOY AND DREAD
Whoever does not, sometime or other, give his full… and joyous consent to the dreadfulness of life, can never take possession of the unutterable abundance and power of our existence; can only walk on its edge… To show the identity of dreadfulness and bliss, these two faces on the same divine head, indeed this one single face, which just presents itself this way or that according to our distance from it, or the state of mind in which we perceive it –: this is the true significance of the Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus. [The rest is also good.]
Rilke, letter, 1923, quoted in Mitchell, Selected Poetry (Picador/Pan, 1987), 317.
JOY AND PAIN
Her song said that no springing
Paradise but evermore
Hangeth on the singing
That has chords of weeping,
And that sings the after-sleeping
To souls which wake too sore.
Thomson, Francis, from ‘The Mistress of Vision’; ‘the Lady of fair weeping’ is speaking. In Walter de la Mare’s Come Hither anthology (Constable, 1923).
JOY AND WOE
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro’ the world we safely go,
Joy and Woe are woven fine,
A Clothing for the Soul divine;
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
Blake, from “Auguries of Innocence”.
JOY IN INSECURITY
Go not too near a House of Rose –
The depredation of a Breeze
Or inundation of a Dew
Alarm its walls away – //
Nor try to tie the Butterfly,
Nor climb the Bars of Ecstasy,
In insecurity to lie
Is Joy’s insuring quality.
JOY see DELIGHT AND LAUGHTER, 5/92
JUDGE see ACTION AND THOUGHT, 4/98
… And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left. …
… Then shall the king [Jesus] say unto them that shall be on the left hand, – Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels.
… And these shall go into everlasting punishment.
Matthew, xxv, 32, Tyndal translation, in Bridges, The Spirit of Man, No 376.
… to be just, we have to choose. Just towards the Archangel, or just towards men? Just towards the skin disease, or just to healthy flesh? … After I have cleansed and washed and taught him, then his desire will be changed: he will disown the man he was. So why should I play ally to the man whom he himself will soon abhor? Why should I, as the creeping leper would have had me, hinder him from being re-born in comelier form?
Why should I take sides with that which is, against that which will be? With that which vegetates, against that which promises better things?
St.-Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands (Hollis and Carter, 1952) 38.