V.

“A phrase (it often happened when he was exhausted) kept cycling round and round, preconsicously, just under the threshold of lip and tongue movement: “Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic.” It repeated itself automatically and Stencil improved upon on it each time, placing emphasis on different words—“events seem”; “seem to be ordered”; “ominous logic”—pronouncing them differently, changing the “tone of voice” from sepulchral to jaunty: round and round and round. Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic.”

pengv66

“A schlemihl is a schlemihl. What can you “make” out of one? What can one make out of himself? You reach a point, and Profane knew he had reached it, where you know how much you can and cannot do. But every now and again he got attacks of acute optimism.”

v-advance-copy-1963

“Some of us are afraid of dying; others of human loneliness. Profane was afraid of land or seascapes like this, where nothing else lived but himself.”

v-paperback-perennial-1990

“For that moment at least they seemed to give up external plans, theories, and codes, even the inescapable romantic curiosity about one another, to indulge in being simply and purely young, to share that sense of the world’s affliction, that outgoing sorrow at the spectacle of Our Human Condition which anyone this age regards as reward or gratuity for having survived adolescence.”

v_pb2

“Time of course has showed the question up in all its young illogic. We can justify any apologia simply by calling life a successive rejection of personalities. No apologia is any more than a romance—half a fiction—in which all the successive identities are taken on and rejected by the writer as a function of linear time are treated as separate characters. The writing itself even constitutes another rejection, another “character” added to the past. So we do sell our souls: paying them away to history in little installments. It isn’t so much to pay for eyes clear enough to see past the fiction of continuity, the fiction of cause and effect, the fiction of a humanized history endowed with “reason.”

v_it_pb

“It takes, unhappily, no more than a desk and writing supplies to turn any room into a confessional. This may have nothing to do with the acts we have committed, or the humors we do go in and out of. It may be only the room–a cube–having no persuasive powers of its own. The room simply is. To occupy it, and find a metaphor there for memory, is our own fault.”

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“What of Thought? The Crew had developed a kind of shorthand whereby they could set forth any visions that might come their way. Conversations at the Spoon had become little more than proper nouns, literary allusions, critical or philosophical terms linked in certain ways. Depending on how you arranged the building blocks at your disposal, you were smart or stupid. Depending on how others reacted they were In or Out. The number of blocks, however, was finite.
“Mathematically, boy,” he told himself, “if nobody else original comes along, they’re bound to run out of arrangements someday. What then?” What indeed. This sort of arranging and rearranging was Decadence, but the exhaustion of all possible permutations and combinations was death.”

9782020089265-us-300

“Could we have been so much in the midst of life? With such a sense of grand adventure about it all?”

5777470

“Life’s single lesson: that there is more accident to it than a man can ever admit to in a lifetime and stay sane.”

 

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