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

„Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched. Prefer the concrete word to the abstract. Prefer the single word to the circumlocution. Prefer the short word to the long. Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance.“

—  Robertson Davies

… What excellent advice it is, and how it was beaten into my generation of schoolboys... But one may tire of even the best advice, as one may tire of writing according to these precepts. Would we wish to be without the heraldic splendour and torchlight processions that are the sentences of Sir Thomas Browne? Would we wish to sacrifice the orotund, Latinate pronouncements of Samuel Johnson? Would we wish that Dickens had written in the style recommended by the brothers Fowler, who framed the rules I have quoted; what would then have happened to Seth Pecksniff, Wilkins Micawber, and Sairey Gamp, I ask you?
Writing (1990), he here quotes from The King's English (1906) by Henry Watson Fowler & Francis George Fowler

„As I plodded back and forth I reflected miserably upon my own political rootlessness, in a world where politics is so important. When I am with Tories I am a violent advocate of reform; when I am with reformers I hold forth on the value of tradition and stability. When I am with communists I become a royalist — almost a Jacobite; when I am with socialists I am an advocate of free trade, private enterprise and laissez-faire.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks

The presence of a person who has strong political convictions always sends me flying off in a contrary direction. Inevitably, in the world of today, this will bring me before a firing squad sooner or later. Maybe the fascists will shoot me, and maybe the proletariat, but political contrariness will be the end of me; I feel it in my bones.
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks (1947)

„Applause we crave, from scorn we take defence
But have no armour 'gainst indifference.“

—  Robertson Davies

A Prologue (1939) to Oliver Goldsmith's The Good Natur'd Man (1768).
Kontext: Our fate lies in your hands, to you we pray
For an indulgent hearing of our play;
Laugh if you can, or failing that, give vent
In hissing fury to your discontent;
Applause we crave, from scorn we take defence
But have no armour 'gainst indifference.

„Our fate lies in your hands, to you we pray
For an indulgent hearing of our play“

—  Robertson Davies

A Prologue (1939) to Oliver Goldsmith's The Good Natur'd Man (1768).
Kontext: Our fate lies in your hands, to you we pray
For an indulgent hearing of our play;
Laugh if you can, or failing that, give vent
In hissing fury to your discontent;
Applause we crave, from scorn we take defence
But have no armour 'gainst indifference.

„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)
Kontext: 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.

„God save us from reading nothing but the best.“

—  Robertson Davies

Reading (1990)
Kontext: Do not suppose, however, that I intend to urge a diet of classics on anybody. I have seen such diets at work. I have known people who have actually read all, or almost all, the guaranteed Hundred Best Books. God save us from reading nothing but the best.

„The Victorians have been immoderately praised, and immoderately blamed, and surely it is time we formed some reasonable picture of them?“

—  Robertson Davies

The Girl with the Swansdown Seat/Abode of Love/1848 (1956).
Kontext: The Victorians have been immoderately praised, and immoderately blamed, and surely it is time we formed some reasonable picture of them? There was their courageous, intellectually adventurous side, their greedy and inhuman side, their superbly poetic side, their morally pretentious side, their tea and buttered toast side, and their champagne and Skittles side. Much like ourselves, in fact, though rather dirtier.

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

—  Robertson Davies

"Robertson Davies" [by Paul Soles]
Kontext: 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.

„I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind.“

—  Robertson Davies, buch The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks

The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks (1947)
Kontext: I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.

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„The old comment that all periods of time are at an equal distance from eternity says much, and pondering on it will lead to alchemical theatre while relevance becomes old hat.“

—  Robertson Davies

Alchemy in the Theatre (1994).
Kontext: Great drama, drama that may reach the alchemical level, must have dimension and its relevance will take care of itself. Writing about AIDS rather than the cocktail set, or possibly the fairy kingdom, will not guarantee importance.... The old comment that all periods of time are at an equal distance from eternity says much, and pondering on it will lead to alchemical theatre while relevance becomes old hat.

„It is a powerful god indeed but it is what the students of ancient gods called a shape-shifter, and sometimes a trickster.“

—  Robertson Davies

Can a Doctor Be a Humanist? (1984).
Kontext: "To which god must I sacrifice in order to heal?" To which of the warring serpents should I turn with the problem that now faces me?
It is easy, and tempting, to choose the god of Science. Now I would not for a moment have you suppose that I am one of those idiots who scorns Science, merely because it is always twisting and turning, and sometimes shedding its skin, like the serpent that is its symbol. It is a powerful god indeed but it is what the students of ancient gods called a shape-shifter, and sometimes a trickster.

„Strange reading? It is meant to be. The world is full of romantic, macabre, improbable things which would never do in works of fiction.“

—  Robertson Davies

Scraps and Morsels (1960).
Kontext: Strange reading? It is meant to be. The world is full of romantic, macabre, improbable things which would never do in works of fiction. When those that come within one man's notice are gathered together in a scrapbook, they tell of a world which sobersided folk may not choose to recognize as their own. But it is their own; I have the evidence.

„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)
Kontext: 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.

„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

"Robertson Davies" [by Paul Soles]
Kontext: 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.

„Sometimes there was a serious article on a hot topic, and I especially remember one by a bishop headed "Is Nudity Salacious?"“

—  Robertson Davies

A Rake at Reading (1980).
Kontext: Sometimes there was a serious article on a hot topic, and I especially remember one by a bishop headed "Is Nudity Salacious?" The bishop thought it need not be, if encountered in the proper spirit, but he gave a lot of enlightening examples of conditions under which it might be, in his word, "inflammatory." There wasn't much nudity in our neck of the woods, and I enjoyed that article tremendously.

„If I am a moralist — and I suppose I am — I am certainly not a gloomy moralist, and if humour finds its way into my work it is because I cannot help it.“

—  Robertson Davies

Ham and Tongue.
Kontext: I have never consciously "used" humour in my life. Such humour as I may have is one of the elements in which I live. I cannot recall a time when I was not conscious of the deep, heaving, rolling ocean of hilarity that lies so very near the surface of life in most of its aspects. If I am a moralist — and I suppose I am — I am certainly not a gloomy moralist, and if humour finds its way into my work it is because I cannot help it.

„They live and laugh who know the better part —
Count length of pleasure not by dial or glass
But by the heart“

—  Robertson Davies

The Golden Ass (1999)
Kontext: They live and laugh who know the better part —
Count length of pleasure not by dial or glass
But by the heart;
What are our fears
When Time's slow footfall, fall, fall
Falling
Turns lovers' hours to years?

„I have never consciously "used" humour in my life. Such humour as I may have is one of the elements in which I live.“

—  Robertson Davies

Ham and Tongue.
Kontext: I have never consciously "used" humour in my life. Such humour as I may have is one of the elements in which I live. I cannot recall a time when I was not conscious of the deep, heaving, rolling ocean of hilarity that lies so very near the surface of life in most of its aspects. If I am a moralist — and I suppose I am — I am certainly not a gloomy moralist, and if humour finds its way into my work it is because I cannot help it.

„I am constantly astonished by the people, otherwise intelligent, who think that anything so complex and delicate as a marriage can be left to take care of itself.“

—  Robertson Davies

The Pleasures of Love
Kontext: I am constantly astonished by the people, otherwise intelligent, who think that anything so complex and delicate as a marriage can be left to take care of itself. One sees them fussing about all sorts of lesser concerns, apparently unaware that side by side with them — often in the same bed — a human creature is perishing from lack of affection, of emotional malnutrition.

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

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