Zitate von Robertson Davies

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Robertson Davies

Geburtstag: 28. August 1913
Todesdatum: 2. Dezember 1995

Robertson Davies, CC, O.Ont, FRSC, FRSL war ein kanadischer Schriftsteller , Kritiker, Journalist und Professor. Er war einer der bekanntesten und meist ausgezeichneten kanadischen Schriftsteller. Einige seiner Werke erschienen unter dem Pseudonym "Samuel Marchbanks".

Zitate Robertson Davies

„I literally never meet anybody who ever talks about God as something other than a kind of big man. I think God is a wondrous spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, but only interested in men as part of a giant creation which is pulsing with life.“

—  Robertson Davies
Judith Grant interview (1999), Context: I literally never meet anybody who ever talks about God as something other than a kind of big man. I think God is a wondrous spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, but only interested in men as part of a giant creation which is pulsing with life. People say, when a relative dies: "Oh, how could God have taken her away so young and with so much before her?" God doesn't give a bugger about how young she is. He probably isn't noticing particularly. That's just the way a lot of things happen. A lot gets spilled, you know, in nature. When you look at what's going on out there now, those trees are dropping seeds by literally the hundreds of thousands and millions, and one or two of them may take on. I think that that is the way that God functions. He doesn't care nearly as much about individuals and individual fates as we would like to suppose. But by trying to ally ourselves with the totality of things, we may get into Tao as they say in the East and be part of it, really take part in it, and not just regard ourselves as a kind of miraculous creation and the rest just sort of stage scenery against which we perform.

„The ironist is not bitter, he does not seek to undercut everything that seems worthy or serious, he scorns the cheap scoring-off of the wisecracker.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch The Cunning Man
The Cunning Man (1994), Context: The ironist is not bitter, he does not seek to undercut everything that seems worthy or serious, he scorns the cheap scoring-off of the wisecracker. He stands, so to speak, somewhat at one side, observes and speaks with a moderation which is occasionally embellished with a flash of controlled exaggeration. He speaks from a certain depth, and thus he is not of the same nature as the wit, who so often speaks from the tongue and no deeper. The wit's desire is to be funny; the ironist is only funny as a secondary achievement. Part 2, section 6.

„Happiness is a very deep and dispersed state. It's not a kind of excitement.“

—  Robertson Davies
Context: Well, I haven't got wealth or fame, but I really think I might say, and I know how dangerous it is to say this — I think I have happiness. And happiness, you know, so many people when they talk about happiness, seem to think that it is a constant state of near lunacy, that you're always hopping about like a fairy in a cartoon strip, and being noisily and obstreperously happy. I don't think that is it at all. Happiness is a certain degree of calm, a certain degree of having your feet rooted firmly in the ground, of being aware that however miserable things are at the moment that they're probably not going to be so bad after awhile, or possibly they may be going very well now, but you must keep your head because they're not going to be so good later. Happiness is a very deep and dispersed state. It's not a kind of excitement. "Robertson Davies" [by Paul Soles]

„I think possibly the final sophistication is the recovery of innocence. Where you really get where you take things rather simply.“

—  Robertson Davies
Context: I think possibly the final sophistication is the recovery of innocence. Where you really get where you take things rather simply. You can't have the innocence of peasants; you are not a peasant; you can't be one of them. But you have to work awfully hard to recover that with a few additional hot licks, by getting smart, wise. I think the final gift of sophistication would be a kind of innocent, clean view of things — which doesn't mean a simple, dumb view. "Conversations with Gordon Roper".

„Well, I haven't got wealth or fame, but I really think I might say, and I know how dangerous it is to say this — I think I have happiness.“

—  Robertson Davies
Context: Well, I haven't got wealth or fame, but I really think I might say, and I know how dangerous it is to say this — I think I have happiness. And happiness, you know, so many people when they talk about happiness, seem to think that it is a constant state of near lunacy, that you're always hopping about like a fairy in a cartoon strip, and being noisily and obstreperously happy. I don't think that is it at all. Happiness is a certain degree of calm, a certain degree of having your feet rooted firmly in the ground, of being aware that however miserable things are at the moment that they're probably not going to be so bad after awhile, or possibly they may be going very well now, but you must keep your head because they're not going to be so good later. Happiness is a very deep and dispersed state. It's not a kind of excitement. "Robertson Davies" [by Paul Soles]

„Without language, how can we tell anyone what we feel, or what we think? It might be said that until he developed language, man had no soul, for without language how could he reach deep inside himself and discover the truths that are hidden there, or find out what emotions he shared, or did not share, with his fellow men and women.“

—  Robertson Davies
Context: It is mankind's discovery of language which more than any other single thing has separated him from the animal creation. Without language, what concept have we of past or future as separated from the immediate present? Without language, how can we tell anyone what we feel, or what we think? It might be said that until he developed language, man had no soul, for without language how could he reach deep inside himself and discover the truths that are hidden there, or find out what emotions he shared, or did not share, with his fellow men and women. But because this greatest gift of all gifts is in daily use, and is smeared, and battered and trivialized by commonplace associations, we too often forget the splendour of which it is capable, and the pleasures that it can give, from the pen of a master. On Seeing Plays (1990).

„There is no reason to suppose that people today feel less than their grandfathers, but there is good reason to think that they are less able to read in a way which makes them feel.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch A Voice from the Attic
A Voice from the Attic (1960), Context: There is no reason to suppose that people today feel less than their grandfathers, but there is good reason to think that they are less able to read in a way which makes them feel. It is natural for them to blame books rather than themselves, and to demand fiction which is highly peppered, like a glutton whose palate is defective.

„Briefly, some of them write very well, but they write from base minds that have been unimproved by thought or instruction. They feel, but they do not think. And the readers to whom they appeal are the products of our modern universal literacy, whose feeling is confused and muddled by just such reading, and who have been deluded that their mental processes are indeed a kind of thought.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch A Voice from the Attic
A Voice from the Attic (1960), Context: I feel that what is wrong with scores of modern novels which show literary quality, but which are repellent and depressing to the spirit is not that the writers have rejected a morality, but that they have one which is unexamined, trivial, and lopsided. They have a base concept of life; they bring immense gusto to their portrayals of what is perverse, shabby, and sordid, but they have no clear notion of what is Evil; the idea of Good is unattractive to them, and when they have to deal with it, they do so in terms of the sentimental or the merely pathetic. Briefly, some of them write very well, but they write from base minds that have been unimproved by thought or instruction. They feel, but they do not think. And the readers to whom they appeal are the products of our modern universal literacy, whose feeling is confused and muddled by just such reading, and who have been deluded that their mental processes are indeed a kind of thought.

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„I was a frequent visitor at the London Zoo; in the lion house there were always ninnies who mocked the captive lions. I often wished that the bars would turn to butter, and that the great, noble beasts would practise their particular form of wit upon the little, ignoble men.“

—  Robertson Davies
The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks (1949), Context: God knows I have little interest in animals, but I do not like to see them insulted. I used to feel the same thing in the days when I was a frequent visitor at the London Zoo; in the lion house there were always ninnies who mocked the captive lions. I often wished that the bars would turn to butter, and that the great, noble beasts would practise their particular form of wit upon the little, ignoble men.

„Prayer is petition, intercession, adoration, and contemplation; great saints and mystics have agreed on this definition. To stop short at petition is to pray only in a crippled fashion.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch A Voice from the Attic
A Voice from the Attic (1960), Context: Prayer is petition, intercession, adoration, and contemplation; great saints and mystics have agreed on this definition. To stop short at petition is to pray only in a crippled fashion. Further, such prayer encourages one of the faults which is most reprehended by spiritual instructors — turning to God without turning from Self.

„The idea that a wise man must be solemn is bred and preserved among people who have no idea what wisdom is, and can only respect whatever makes them feel inferior.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch A Voice from the Attic
A Voice from the Attic (1960), Context: The climate of his mind is so salubrious, so invigorating, that dull thoughts and heavy cares are dispelled by contact with it. And is not this the true end of scholarship? It is to make us wise, of course, but what is the use of being wise if we are not sometimes merry? The merriment of wise men is not the uninformed, gross fun of ignorant men, but it has more kinship with that than the pinched, frightened fun of those who are neither learned nor ignorant, gentle nor simple, bound nor free. The idea that a wise man must be solemn is bred and preserved among people who have no idea what wisdom is, and can only respect whatever makes them feel inferior.

„Have you never read the manifesto of the Marchbanks Humanist Party? How does it begin?
The more taboos and prohibitions there are in the world
The poorer the people will be.
The more sharp weapons the people have
The more troubled the state will be.“

—  Robertson Davies
The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks (1985), Context: Have you never read the manifesto of the Marchbanks Humanist Party? How does it begin? The more taboos and prohibitions there are in the world The poorer the people will be. The more sharp weapons the people have The more troubled the state will be. The more cunning and skill man possesses The more vicious things will appear. The more laws and orders are made prominent The more thieves and robbers there will be. And who wrote that, do you suppose?" "You, I imagine." "No, you don't imagine. That's what's wrong with you, and your kind; you don't, and can't imagine. Those words were written by the Chinese sage Lao Tzu in the sixth century BC. Introduction.

„Every man and woman is a mystery, built like those Chinese puzzles which consist of one box inside another, so that ten or twelve boxes have to be opened before the final solution is found.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks (1947), Context: But I wonder if people do not attach too much importance to the first-name habit? Every man and woman is a mystery, built like those Chinese puzzles which consist of one box inside another, so that ten or twelve boxes have to be opened before the final solution is found. Not more than two or three people have ever penetrated beyond my outside box, and there are not many people whom I have explored further; if anyone imagines that being on first-name terms with somebody magically strips away all the boxes and reveals the inner treasure he still has a great deal to learn about human nature. There are people, of course, who consist only of one box, and that a cardboard carton, containing nothing at all.

„It seems to me that most of us get all the adventure we are capable of digesting.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks (1947), Context: It seems to me that most of us get all the adventure we are capable of digesting. Personally, I have never had to fight a dozen pirates single-handed, and I have never jumped from a moving express-train onto the back of a horse, and I have never been discovered in the harem of the Grand Turk. I am glad of all these things. They are too rich for my digestion, and I do not long for them. I have all the close shaves and narrow squeaks in my life that my constitution will stand, and my daily struggles with bureaucrats, taxgatherers and uplifters are more exhausting than any encounters with mere buccaneers on the Spanish Main.

„In my experience there is little else.“

—  Robertson Davies
Samuel Marchbanks' Almanack (1967), Context: "There is no disputing about tastes," says the old saw. In my experience there is little else.

„You find yourself not an isolated miserable little wretch who has got seventy or eighty years to struggle along and then perish like nothing. You are the continuer of a very great tradition which you are going to pass on to the next lot. And you're right in the middle of the great stream of life. You see? Wonderful thing.“

—  Robertson Davies
Context: [People] think of saints as people who lived an awfully long time ago and whose validity has disappeared. I think of them as people who didn't live such a long time ago, only a few hundred years or so. There must have been something about them that impressed people who were very much like me. What was it? And they must have been much more like somebody living today than we commonly think. What was behind it? What made these people special and what made a lot of other people regard them as special, either hating them or loving them? This is fascinating. It enlarges the whole world, and because it does so, it gives you great hope and sympathy with the future. You find yourself not an isolated miserable little wretch who has got seventy or eighty years to struggle along and then perish like nothing. You are the continuer of a very great tradition which you are going to pass on to the next lot. And you're right in the middle of the great stream of life. You see? Wonderful thing. "Acta Interviews Robertson Davies".

„A thing to have a mystique must necessarily have many aspects, many corridors, many avenues, many things that open up.“

—  Robertson Davies
Context: I expect that Hell is very heavily populated with just exactly that sort of person [who feels he's accomplished all his goals early in life] because, you know, somebody who fears that he has exhausted what there is for him to do and what he can do at thirty-five, is a fool. What he means is that he's become the sales manager of International Widgets or some wretched thing. That's not a life, that's not a thing that should occupy a man. People drive themselves terribly hard at these jobs, and they develop a sort of mystique about something which does not admit of a mystique. A thing to have a mystique must necessarily have many aspects, many corridors, many avenues, many things that open up. Well, this is not to be found in the business world, and I've known a lot of first-class businessmen and they all tell you this. People have told me that in their particular business there's nothing to be learned that an intelligent man can't learn in eighteen months. But if you've learned it in eighteen months and if you're exhausted by the time you're thirty-five, it's nobody's fault but your own if you haven't found something else to do. "Robertson Davies" [by Paul Soles]

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

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