Saturday, November 13, 2010

Everybody loves fireworks

Author Robert Louis Stevenson was born on this day in 1850. He wrote:
"This world itself, traveling blindly and swiftly in overcrowded space, among a million other worlds traveling blindly and swiftly in contrary directions, may very well come by a knock that will set it into explosion like a penny squib. And what, pathologically looked at, is the human body with all its organs, but a mere bagful of petards?" -- Aes Triplex.

“The heartless voids and immensities of the universe.” That was Melville, wasn’t it? Or was it Flaubert? The universe was as inhospitable to Emma as it was to Ishmael, equally cruel, capricious and senseless on land or at sea. That was what he’d carried away from books. The inscrutable pointlessness of life. The hostility it had in store for us. A hero or heroine, brimming with hope and good will, sets out in a novel to engage with life, prepared for a skirmish, for its inevitable bumps and bruises, and ends up crushed, demolished.

Life took you where it would, but who needed books to learn that?  --  Chapter 22, The Misforgotten.

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