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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Quotes from Joseph Conrad Polish born British Writer (1857-1924)





The terrorist and the secret policeman both come from the same basket.

A caricature is putting the face of a joke on the body of a truth.

A man's most open actions have a secret side to them.

Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions.

All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.

An artist is a man of action, whether he creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the issue of a complicated situation.

Any work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line.

As in political so in literary action a man wins friends for himself mostly by the passion of his prejudices and the consistent narrowness of his outlook.

As to honor - you know - it's a very fine mediaeval inheritance which women never got hold of. It wasn't theirs.

Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.

Don't talk to me of your Archimedes' lever. He was an absentminded person with a mathematical imagination. Mathematics commands all my respect, but I have no use for engines. Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world.

Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength; and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life.

Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it.

For all that has been said of the love that certain natures (on shore) have professed for it, for all the celebrations it has been the object of in prose and song, the sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.

Going home must be like going to render an account.

Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.

Hang ideas! They are tramps, vagabonds, knocking at the back-door of your mind, each taking a little of your substance, each carrying away some crumb of that belief in a few simple notions you must cling to if you want to live decently and would like to die easy!

History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is as utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird.

I don't like work... but I like what is in work - the chance to find yourself. Your own reality - for yourself, not for others - which no other man can ever know.

I had ambition not only to go farther than any man had ever been before, but as far as it was possible for a man to go.

It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.

It is respectable to have no illusions, and safe, and profitable and dull.

It is to be remarked that a good many people are born curiously unfitted for the fate waiting them on this earth.

Nations it may be have fashioned their Governments, but the Governments have paid them back in the same coin.

Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.

Resignation, not mystic, not detached, but resignation open-eyed, conscious, and informed by love, is the only one of our feelings for which it is impossible to become a sham.

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.

The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.

The East Wind, an interloper in the dominions of Westerly Weather, is an impassive-faced tyrant with a sharp poniard held behind his back for a treacherous stab.

The last thing a woman will consent to discover in a man whom she loves, or on whom she simply depends, is want of courage.

The sea - this truth must be confessed - has no generosity. No display of manly qualities - courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness - has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power.

There are men here and there to whom the whole of life is like an after-dinner hour with a cigar; easy, pleasant, empty, perhaps enlivened by some fable of strife to be forgotten - before the end is told - even if there happens to be any end to it.

There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.

They talk of a man betraying his country, his friends, his sweetheart. There must be a moral bond first. All a man can betray is his conscience.

This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man will never on his heap of mud keep still.

To a teacher of languages there comes a time when the world is but a place of many words and man appears a mere talking animal not much more wonderful than a parrot.

Truth of a modest sort I can promise you, and also sincerity. That complete, praiseworthy sincerity which, while it delivers one into the hands of one's enemies, is as likely as not to embroil one with one's friends.

Who knows what true loneliness is - not the conventional word but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion.

Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love - and to put its trust in life.

Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality.

You can't, in sound morals, condemn a man for taking care of his own integrity. It is his clear duty.

You shall judge a man by his foes as well as by his friends.

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