Monday, December 19, 2016

reloaded at the railway station like tiresome, badly packaged goods

As I did last year, I'll make these posts of paired quotations from books I've read over the past twelve months; and they won't be necessarily the best books, although some of them ... the books that tell narrative stories fairly straightforwardly will be mostly left out, I think, as will the poems needing specific indents and staggers that I don't know how to code.

If – If what, madam? and he snatched my hand, bowed his face upon it, held it there, not looking up to mine. I could then speak – If thus urged, and by SIR CHARLES GRANDISON – I did not speak my heart – I answer – Sir – I CAN – I DO:

I wanted, I thought, just then, to shrink into myself.
(Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, 1753, vol. 6, ch XXV)

Yet how grotesque it was that as we made our way to the Gnigl sportsground to compete for our athletic awards we passed hundreds of severely wounded war victims, many of them almost totally crippled, who were being reloaded at the railway station like tiresome, badly packaged goods! Our whole treatment of human beings is grotesque, and nothing is more grotesque than war and all its concomitant circumstances. Even in Salzburg there was an enormous notice over the concourse of the railway station stating that WHEELS MUST TURN FOR VICTORY. One day it fell apart and simply collapsed on the heads of the hundreds of dead underneath.

(Thomas Bernhard, Gathering Evidence: a Memoir, 1985, tr. David McLintock)

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