I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.
— William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (via deaths-and-entrances)
All of Dostoevsky’s heroes question themselves as to the meaning of life. In this they are modern: they do not fear ridicule. What distinguishes modern sensibility from classical sensibility is that the latter thrives on moral programs and the former on metaphysical programs. In Dostoevsky’s novels the question is propounded with such intensity that it can only invite extreme solutions. Existence is illusory or it is eternal. If Dostoevsky were satisfied with this inquiry, he would be a philosopher. But he illustrates the consequences that such intellectual pastimes may have in a man’s life, and in this regard he is an artist.
— Albert Camus The Myth of Sisyphus (via deaths-and-entrances)
The delight that I felt came precisely from being too acutely aware of my own degradation, from the feeling that you’ve come up against a brick wall, that it’s bad but at the same time cannot be otherwise, that there is no way out, that you’ll never become a different person, that even if you still had sufﬁcient time or belief to change into something else, you probably wouldn’t want to change. And if you did want to, you probably wouldn’t do anything about it because, in fact, there’s simply nothing to change into.
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground (via deaths-and-entrances)
Everyone tries to make his life a work of art. We want love to last and we know that it does not last; even if, by some miracle, it were to last a whole lifetime, it would still be incomplete. Perhaps, in this insatiable need for perpetuation, we should better understand human suffering, if we knew that it was eternal. It appears that great minds are, sometimes, less horrified by suffering than by the fact that it does not endure. In default of inexhaustible happiness, eternal suffering would at least give us a destiny. But we do not even have that consolation, and our worst agonies come to an end one day. One morning, after many dark nights of despair, an irrepressible longing to live will announce to us the fact that all is finished and that suffering has no more meaning than happiness.
— Albert Camus, “The Rebel” (via hellanne)
You find my words dark. Darkness is in our souls, do you not think? Flutier. Our souls, shame-wounded by our sins, cling to us yet more, a woman to her lover clinging, the more the more.
— James Joyce, “Ulysses” (via yesyes)
Suffering is by no means a privilege, a sign of nobility, a reminder of God. Suffering is a fierce, bestial thing, commonplace, uncalled for. It is intangible; no one can grasp it or fight against it; it dwells in time—it is the same thing as time.
— Cesare Pavese, Diary entry (October 30, 1940)
What is it that we call loneliness. It can’t simply be the absence of others, you can be alone and not lonely, and you can be among people and yet be lonely. So what is it?
— Pascal Mercier, “Night Train To Lisbon” (via mirroir)
Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic, be a suffragette, be anything you like, but for pity’s sake be it to the top of your bent.
— Violet Trefusis in a letter to Vita Sackville-West (via letters-to-nobody)
You want everything so much and when you get it it’s over and you don’t give a damn.
— Ernest Hemingway, “The Garden Of Eden” (via stxxz)
I change too quickly: my today refutes my yesterday. When I ascend I often jump over steps, and no step forgives me that.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, ”Thus Spoke Zarathustra” (via winterkristall)
Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive — that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. “In the time of your life — live!” That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition.
— Tennessee Williams, “The Catastrophe of Success” (via lifeinpoetry)