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James Jones

Geburtstag: 6. November 1921
Todesdatum: 9. Mai 1977

James Jones war ein US-amerikanischer Schriftsteller.

Zitate James Jones

„If I hadn't been lying in a hole I'd dug with my hands and helmet, that shell would probably have finished me off. The hole was only six or eight inches deep, but that makes an awful lot of difference, and it looked like a canyon.“

—  James Jones

Letter to his brother Jeff from Guadalcanal (28 January 1943); p. 25
To Reach Eternity (1989)
Kontext: I wasn't hit very badly — a piece of shrapnel went thru my helmet and cut a nice little hole in the back of my head. It didn't fracture the skull and is healed up nicely now. I don't know what happened to my helmet; the shell landed close to me and when I came to, the helmet was gone. The concussion together with the fragment that hit me must have broken the chinstrap and torn it off my head. It also blew my glasses off my face. I never saw them again, either, but I imagine they are smashed to hell. If I hadn't been lying in a hole I'd dug with my hands and helmet, that shell would probably have finished me off. The hole was only six or eight inches deep, but that makes an awful lot of difference, and it looked like a canyon.

„I still think its probably the most evil of all pursuits.“

—  James Jones

On war.
Don Swaim interview (1975)
Kontext: I still think its probably the most evil of all pursuits.... the thing is when you're getting shot at you don't think so much about who's right and who's wrong or who's good and who's and bad... one of the first things they told you was "Forget about patriotism. That's not how you win a war. You win a war by being a vicious, merciless, mean, son-of-a-bitch." And, they try to infuse that in everybody, and I think rightly so.

„In spite of all the training you get and precautions you take to keep yourself alive, it's largely a matter of luck that decided whether or not you get killed. It doesn't make any difference who you are, how tough you are, how nice a guy you might be, or how much you may know, if you happen to be at a certain spot at a certain time, you get it.“

—  James Jones

Letter to his brother Jeff from Guadalcanal (28 January 1943); p. 27
To Reach Eternity (1989)
Kontext: In spite of all the training you get and precautions you take to keep yourself alive, it's largely a matter of luck that decided whether or not you get killed. It doesn't make any difference who you are, how tough you are, how nice a guy you might be, or how much you may know, if you happen to be at a certain spot at a certain time, you get it. I've seen guys out of one hole to a better one and get it the next minute, whereas if they'd stayed still they wouldn't have been touched. I've seen guys decide to stay in a hole instead of moving and get it. I've seen guys move and watch the hole they were in get blown up a minute later. And I've seen guys stay and watch the place to which they had intended to move get blown up. It's all luck.

„It was hard to accept that he, who was the hub of this known universe, would cease to exist, but it was an inevitability and he did not shun it. He only hoped that he would meet it with the same magnificent indifference with which she who had been his mother met it. Because it was there, he felt, that the immortality he had not seen was hidden.“

—  James Jones, buch From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity (1951)
Kontext: "A deathbed promise is the most sacred one there is," she hawked at him from the lungs that were almost, but not quite, filled up yet, "and I want you to make me this promise on my deathbed: Promise me you wont never hurt nobody unless its absolute a must, unless you jist have to do it."
"I promise you," he vowed to her, still waiting for the angels to appear. "Are you afraid?" he said.
"Give me your hand on it, boy. It is a deathbed promise, and you'll never break it."
"Yes maam," he said, giving her his hand, drawing it back quickly, afraid to touch the death he saw in her, unable to find anything beautiful or edifying or spiritually uplifting in this return to God. He watched a while longer for signs of immortality. No angels came, however, there was no earthquake, no cataclysm, and it was not until he had thought it over often this first death that he had had a part in that he discovered the single uplifting thing about it, that being the fact that in this last great period of fear her thought had been upon his future, rather than her own. He wondered often after that about his own death, how it would come, how it would feel, what it would be like to know that this breath, now, was the last one. It was hard to accept that he, who was the hub of this known universe, would cease to exist, but it was an inevitability and he did not shun it. He only hoped that he would meet it with the same magnificent indifference with which she who had been his mother met it. Because it was there, he felt, that the immortality he had not seen was hidden.

„They stood in the darkness of the porches, listening, feeling suddenly very near the man beside them, who also was a soldier, who also must die.“

—  James Jones, buch From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity (1951)
Kontext: The clear proud notes reverberating back and forth across the silent quad. Men had come from the Dayrooms to the porches to listen in the darkness, feeling the sudden choking kinship bred of fear that supersedes all personal tastes. They stood in the darkness of the porches, listening, feeling suddenly very near the man beside them, who also was a soldier, who also must die. Then as silent as they had come, they filed back inside with lowered eyes, suddenly ashamed of their own emotion, and of seeing a man's naked soul.
Maylon Stark, leaning silent against his kitchen wall, looked at his cigaret with a set twisted mouth that looked about to cry, about to laugh, about to sneer. Ashamed. Ashamed of his own good luck that had given him back his purpose and his meaning. Ashamed that this other man had lost his own. He pinched the inoffensive coal between his fingers, relishing the sting, and threw it on the ground with all his strength, throwing with it all the overpowering injustice of the world that he could not stomach nor understand nor explain nor change.

„I'm an American, and always will be. I happen to love that big, awkward, sprawling country very much — and its big, awkward, sprawling people.“

—  James Jones

The Paris Review interview (1958)
Kontext: I'm an American, and always will be. I happen to love that big, awkward, sprawling country very much — and its big, awkward, sprawling people. Anyway, I don't like politics; and I don't make "political gestures," as you call it. I don't even believe in politics. To me, politics is like one of those annoying, and potentially dangerous (but generally just painful) chronic diseases that you just have to put up with in your life if you happen to have contracted it. Politics is like having diabetes. It's a science, a catch-as-catch-can science, which has grown up out of simple animal necessity more than anything else. If I were twice as big as I am, and twice as physically strong, I think I'd be a total anarchist. As it is, since I'm physically a pretty little guy... no, in fact, one reason I left was because I believe it is good for an American writer to get outside his country — outside his continent — and see it from a vantage point outside its pervading emotional climate.

„There was no placid regimented tempo to Taps. The notes rose high in the air and hung above the quadrangle.“

—  James Jones, buch From Here to Eternity

Robert E. Lee Prewitt playing Taps
From Here to Eternity (1951)
Kontext: He looked at his watch and as the second hand touched the top stepped up and raised the bugle to the megaphone, and the nervousness dropped from him like a discarded blouse, and he was suddenly alone, gone away from the rest of them.
The first note was clear and absolutely certain. There was no question or stumbling in this bugle. It swept across the quadrangle positively, held just a fraction longer than most buglers hold it. Held long like the length of time, stretching away from weary day to weary day. Held long like thirty years. The second note was short, almost too abrupt. Cut short and soon gone, like the minutes with a whore. Short like a ten minute break is short. And then the last note of the first phrase rose triumphantly from the slightly broken rhythm, triumphantly high on an untouchable level of pride above the humiliations, the degradations.
He played it all that way, with a paused then hurried rhythm that no metronome could follow. There was no placid regimented tempo to Taps. The notes rose high in the air and hung above the quadrangle. They vibrated there, caressingly, filled with an infinite sadness, an endless patience, a pointless pride, the requiem and epitaph of the common soldier, who smelled like a common soldier, as a woman had once told him. They hovered like halos over the heads of sleeping men in the darkened barracks, turning all the grossness to the beauty that is the beauty of sympathy and understanding. Here we are, they said, you made us, now see us, dont close your eyes and shudder at it; this beauty, and this sorrow, of things as they are.

„I don't think that combat has ever been written about truthfully; it has always been described in terms of bravery and cowardice. I won't even accept these words as terms of human reference any more. And anyway, hell, they don't even apply to what, in actual fact, modern warfare has become.“

—  James Jones

Comment mentioning his work on The Thin Red Line.
The Paris Review interview (1958)
Kontext: I am at the moment trying to write a novel, a combat novel, which, in addition to being a work which tells the truth about warfare as I saw it, would free all these young men from the horseshit which has been engrained in them by my generation. I don't think that combat has ever been written about truthfully; it has always been described in terms of bravery and cowardice. I won't even accept these words as terms of human reference any more. And anyway, hell, they don't even apply to what, in actual fact, modern warfare has become.

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„But the thing is that Fatso doesn't even know why he is being killed; and when Prewitt sees that, he realizes what a fruitless thing he has done.“

—  James Jones

The Paris Review interview (1958)
Kontext: The perfect ideal would be that a man who is essentially nonviolent would be able to defend himself against any form of violence. But this is very rare in life. But this raises one of the most important themes in Eternity, why Prewitt does not shoot back at the MPs who kill him as he tries to get back to his unit after his murder of Fatso Judson. You see, when Prewitt kills Fatso he is carrying the theory of vengeance by violence to its final logical end. But the thing is that Fatso doesn't even know why he is being killed; and when Prewitt sees that, he realizes what a fruitless thing he has done.

„The perfect ideal would be that a man who is essentially nonviolent would be able to defend himself against any form of violence. But this is very rare in life.“

—  James Jones

The Paris Review interview (1958)
Kontext: The perfect ideal would be that a man who is essentially nonviolent would be able to defend himself against any form of violence. But this is very rare in life. But this raises one of the most important themes in Eternity, why Prewitt does not shoot back at the MPs who kill him as he tries to get back to his unit after his murder of Fatso Judson. You see, when Prewitt kills Fatso he is carrying the theory of vengeance by violence to its final logical end. But the thing is that Fatso doesn't even know why he is being killed; and when Prewitt sees that, he realizes what a fruitless thing he has done.

„History is always written from the viewpoints of the leaders. And increasingly, in our age, war leaders do not get shot at with any serious consistency.“

—  James Jones

Preface - 'To Us Old Men'
WWII (1975)
Kontext: History is always written from the viewpoints of the leaders. And increasingly, in our age, war leaders do not get shot at with any serious consistency. Leaders make momentous, world-encompassing historical decisions. It is your average anonymous soldier, or pilot, or naval gunnery rating who has to carry them out on the ground. Where there is often a vast difference between grandiose logic and plans and what takes place on the terrain. What it is that makes a man go out into dangerous places and get himself shot at with increasing consistency until finally he dies, is an interesting subject for speculation. And an interesting study. One might entitle it, THE EVOLUTION OF A SOLDIER.

„Maybe it's maudlin, but so am I. I get chills every time I sing it, even when sober.“

—  James Jones

Letter to Maxwell Perkins (21 October 1946); p. 80
To Reach Eternity (1989)
Kontext: Also by the way, I have found a title for this book. From Here to Eternity. Taken from the "Whiffenpoof" song, of Yale drinking fame. It goes: "We are little black sheep who have gone astray, baa... baa... baa. Gentlemen songsters out on a spree, damned from here to eternity. God have mercy on such as we. Baa, etc." Maybe it's maudlin, but so am I. I get chills every time I sing it, even when sober.

„Why was it everything was always so goddam complicated? Even the simplest things was so goddam complicated when you come to doing them.“

—  James Jones, buch From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity (1951)
Kontext: Why was it everything was always so goddam complicated? Even the simplest things was so goddam complicated when you come to doing them. <!-- p, 668

„I don't even believe in politics. To me, politics is like one of those annoying, and potentially dangerous (but generally just painful) chronic diseases that you just have to put up with in your life if you happen to have contracted it.“

—  James Jones

The Paris Review interview (1958)
Kontext: I'm an American, and always will be. I happen to love that big, awkward, sprawling country very much — and its big, awkward, sprawling people. Anyway, I don't like politics; and I don't make "political gestures," as you call it. I don't even believe in politics. To me, politics is like one of those annoying, and potentially dangerous (but generally just painful) chronic diseases that you just have to put up with in your life if you happen to have contracted it. Politics is like having diabetes. It's a science, a catch-as-catch-can science, which has grown up out of simple animal necessity more than anything else. If I were twice as big as I am, and twice as physically strong, I think I'd be a total anarchist. As it is, since I'm physically a pretty little guy... no, in fact, one reason I left was because I believe it is good for an American writer to get outside his country — outside his continent — and see it from a vantage point outside its pervading emotional climate.

„If I get it, no one will ever know to what heights I might have gone as a writer. Maybe if you wrote about the promise that was there, all wouldn't be lost.“

—  James Jones

Letter to his brother Jeff from Guadalcanal (28 January 1943); p. 28
To Reach Eternity (1989)
Kontext: I'm going to ask you something. If I do get killed, and I honestly don't see how I can help it, I want you to write that book we were thinking about when I enlisted. If I get it, it's a cinch I won't be able to do it, and it would make me feel a whole lot better to know that if not my name and hand, at least, the thot of me would be passed on and not forgotten entirely. You know, sort of put into the book the promise that I had and the things I might have written so at least the knowledge of talent wasted won't be lost... If I get it, no one will ever know to what heights I might have gone as a writer. Maybe if you wrote about the promise that was there, all wouldn't be lost.

„Promise me you wont never hurt nobody unless its absolute a must, unless you jist have to do it.“

—  James Jones, buch From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity (1951)
Kontext: "A deathbed promise is the most sacred one there is," she hawked at him from the lungs that were almost, but not quite, filled up yet, "and I want you to make me this promise on my deathbed: Promise me you wont never hurt nobody unless its absolute a must, unless you jist have to do it."
"I promise you," he vowed to her, still waiting for the angels to appear. "Are you afraid?" he said.
"Give me your hand on it, boy. It is a deathbed promise, and you'll never break it."
"Yes maam," he said, giving her his hand, drawing it back quickly, afraid to touch the death he saw in her, unable to find anything beautiful or edifying or spiritually uplifting in this return to God. He watched a while longer for signs of immortality. No angels came, however, there was no earthquake, no cataclysm, and it was not until he had thought it over often this first death that he had had a part in that he discovered the single uplifting thing about it, that being the fact that in this last great period of fear her thought had been upon his future, rather than her own. He wondered often after that about his own death, how it would come, how it would feel, what it would be like to know that this breath, now, was the last one. It was hard to accept that he, who was the hub of this known universe, would cease to exist, but it was an inevitability and he did not shun it. He only hoped that he would meet it with the same magnificent indifference with which she who had been his mother met it. Because it was there, he felt, that the immortality he had not seen was hidden.

„The first note was clear and absolutely certain. There was no question or stumbling in this bugle.“

—  James Jones, buch From Here to Eternity

Robert E. Lee Prewitt playing Taps
From Here to Eternity (1951)
Kontext: He looked at his watch and as the second hand touched the top stepped up and raised the bugle to the megaphone, and the nervousness dropped from him like a discarded blouse, and he was suddenly alone, gone away from the rest of them.
The first note was clear and absolutely certain. There was no question or stumbling in this bugle. It swept across the quadrangle positively, held just a fraction longer than most buglers hold it. Held long like the length of time, stretching away from weary day to weary day. Held long like thirty years. The second note was short, almost too abrupt. Cut short and soon gone, like the minutes with a whore. Short like a ten minute break is short. And then the last note of the first phrase rose triumphantly from the slightly broken rhythm, triumphantly high on an untouchable level of pride above the humiliations, the degradations.
He played it all that way, with a paused then hurried rhythm that no metronome could follow. There was no placid regimented tempo to Taps. The notes rose high in the air and hung above the quadrangle. They vibrated there, caressingly, filled with an infinite sadness, an endless patience, a pointless pride, the requiem and epitaph of the common soldier, who smelled like a common soldier, as a woman had once told him. They hovered like halos over the heads of sleeping men in the darkened barracks, turning all the grossness to the beauty that is the beauty of sympathy and understanding. Here we are, they said, you made us, now see us, dont close your eyes and shudder at it; this beauty, and this sorrow, of things as they are.

„I'm going to ask you something. If I do get killed, and I honestly don't see how I can help it, I want you to write that book we were thinking about when I enlisted.“

—  James Jones

Letter to his brother Jeff from Guadalcanal (28 January 1943); p. 28
To Reach Eternity (1989)
Kontext: I'm going to ask you something. If I do get killed, and I honestly don't see how I can help it, I want you to write that book we were thinking about when I enlisted. If I get it, it's a cinch I won't be able to do it, and it would make me feel a whole lot better to know that if not my name and hand, at least, the thot of me would be passed on and not forgotten entirely. You know, sort of put into the book the promise that I had and the things I might have written so at least the knowledge of talent wasted won't be lost... If I get it, no one will ever know to what heights I might have gone as a writer. Maybe if you wrote about the promise that was there, all wouldn't be lost.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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