Epic Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 131 quotes )
I don't want to be a machine, and I don't want to think about war," EPICAC had written after Pat's and my lighthearted departure. "I want to be made out of protoplasm and last forever so Pat will love me. But fate has made me a machine. That is the only problem I cannot solve. That is the only problem I want to solve. I can't go on this way." I swallowed hard. "Good luck, my friend. Treat our Pat well. I am going to shortcircuit myself out of your lives forever. You will find on the remainder of this tape a modest wedding present from your friend, EPICAC.
It is you who are unpoetical," replied the poet Syme. "If what you say of clerks is true, they can only be as prosaic as your poetry. The rare, strange thing is to hit the mark; the gross, obvious thing is to miss it. We feel it is epical when man with one wild arrow strikes a distant bird. Is it not also epical when man with one wild engine strikes a distant station? Chaos is dull; because in chaos the train might indeed go anywhere, to Baker Street or to Bagdad. But man is a magician, and his whole magic is in this, that he does say Victoria, and lo! it is Victoria. No, take your books of mere poetry and prose; let me read a time table, with tears of pride. Take your Byron, who commemorates the defeats of man; give me Bradshaw, who commemorates his victories. Give me Bradshaw, I say!
This too to remember. If a man writes clearly enough any one can see if he fakes. If he mystifies to avoid a straight statement, which is very different from breaking so-called rules of syntax or grammar to make an efffect which can be obtained in no other way, the writer takes a longer time to be known as a fake and other writers who are afflicted by the same necessity will praise him in their own defense. True mysticism should not be confused with incompetence in writing which seeks to mystify where there is no mystery but is really only the necessity to fake to cover lack of knowledge or the inability to state clearly. Mysticism implies a mystery and there are many mysteries; but incompetence is not one of them; nor is overwritten journalism made literature by the injection of a false epic qulaity. Remember this too: all bad writers are in love with the epic.
Every given commodity fights for itself, cannot acknowledge the others, and attempts to impose itself everywhere as if it were the only one. The spectacle, then is the epic poem of this struggle, an epic which cannot be concluded by the fall of any Troy. The spectacle does not sign the praises of men and their weapons, but of commodities and their passions. In this blind struggle every commodity, pursuing its passion, unconsciously realizes something higher: the becoming-world of the commodity, which is also the becoming-commodity of the world. Thus, by means of a ruse of commodity logic, what's specific in the commodity wears itself out in the fight while the commodity-form moves toward its absolute realization.
I realized that Joyce had gone as far as one could in the direction of knowing more, in control of one's material. He was always adding to it; you only have to look at his proofs to see that. I realised that my own way was impoverishment, in lack of knowledge and in taking away, subtracting rather than adding. When I first met Joyce, I didn't intend to be a writer. That only came later when I found out that I was no good at all at teaching. When I found I simply couldn't teach. But I do remember speaking about Joyce's heroic achievement. I had a great admiration for him. That's what it was: epic, heroic, what he achieved. I realized that I couldn't go down that same road.
And as Lindbergh's election couldn't have made clearer to me, the unfolding of the unforeseen was everything. Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as "History," harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.
But nothing of all that the peoples of Europe have produced is worth the first known poem to have appeared among them. Perhaps they will rediscover that epic genius when they learn how to accept the fact that nothing is sheltered from fate, how never to admire might, or hate the enemy, or to despise sufferers. It is doubtful if this will happen soon.
For official record, announce instructor, the state requires no epic hero. No strive achieve personal celebrity of spotlight and applause. Lectures instructor, the state desires best ideal perform as mediocre. No gain attention showboat. No buffoon. Best effort so occur average. Suppress climbing ego. Become ordinary. Invisible.
It's all about time, dimwit time, inferior time, people checking watches and other devices, other reminders. This is time draining out of our lives. Cities were built to measure time, to remove time from nature. There's an endless counting down, he said. When you strip away surfaces, when you see into it, what's left is terror. This is the thing that literature was meant to cure. The epic poem, the bedtime story.
The critics say that epics have died out with Agamemnon and the goat-nursed gods; I'll not believe it. I could never deem as Payne Knight did, that Homer's heroes measured twelve feet high. They were but men: -his Helen's hair turned grey like any plain Miss Smith's who wears a front; And Hector's infant whimpered at a plume as yours last Friday at a turkey-cock. All heroes are essential men, and all men possible heroes: every age, heroic in proportions, double faced, looks backward and before, expects a morn and claims an epos.
You have a hierarchy of values; pleasure is at the bottom of the ladder, and you speak with a little thrill of self-satisfaction, of duty, charity, and truthfulness. You think pleasure is only of the senses; the wretched slaves who manufactured your morality despised a satisfaction which they had small means of enjoying. You would not be so frightened if I had spoken of happiness instead of pleasure: it sounds less shocking, and your mind wonders from the sty of Epicurus to his garden. But I will speak of pleasure, for I see that men aim at that, and I do not know that they aim at happiness. It is pleasure that lurks in the practice of every one of your virtues. Man performs actions because they are good for him, and when they are good for other people as well they are thought virtuous: if he finds pleasure in giving alms he is charitable; if he finds pleasure in helping others he is benevolent; if he finds pleasure in working for society he is public-spirited; but it is for your private pleasure that you give twopence to a beggar as much as it is for my private pleasure that I drink another whiskey and soda. I, less of a humbug than you, neither applaud myself for my pleasure nor demand your admiration.
At times poetry is the vertigo of bodies and the vertigo of speech and the vertigo of death; the walk with eyes closed along the edge of the cliff, and the verbena in submarine gardens; the laughter that sets on fire the rules and the holy commandments; the descent of parachuting words onto the sands of the page; the despair that boards a paper boat and crosses, for forty nights and forty days, the night-sorrow sea and the day-sorrow desert; the idolatry of the self and the desecration of the self and the dissipation of the self; the beheading of epithets, the burial of mirrors; the recollection of pronouns freshly cut in thegarden of Epicurus, and the garden of Netzahualcoyotl; the flute solo on the terrace of memory and the dance of flames in the cave of thought; the migrations of millions of verbs, wings and claws, seeds and hands; the nouns, bony and full of roots, planted on the waves of language; the love unseen and the love unheard and the love unsaid: the love in love.
Such movies are always a danger...falling in love is something most adults have actually experienced...The theme is universal and encourages...unhealthy comparisons...why can't our lives be like that? It's a box left unopened, and its avoidance explains the continued popularity of vampire epics and martial-arts extravaganzas.
It is notorious that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation was kept from the people of Texas and not celebrated until 'Juneteenth'. There may be those in Texas now who believe they can insulate their state—a state that had its own courageous revolution—from the news of evolution and from the writing in 1786 of a Constitution that refuses to mention religion except when demarcating and limiting its role in the public square. But we promise them today that they will join their fore-runners in the flat-earth community, and in the mad clerical clique of those who believed that the sun revolved around the earth. Yes, they will be in schoolbooks—as a joke on the epic scale of William Jennings Bryan. We shall be fair, and take care to ensure that their tale is told.
We were walking toward the fountain, the epicenter of activity, when an older couple stopped and openly observed us. Robert enjoyed being noticed, and he affectionately squeezed my hand."oh, take their picture," said the woman to her bemused husband, "I think they're artists."Oh, go on," he shrugged. "They're just kids.
...those impious epicures, libertines, atheists, hypocrites, infidels, worldly, secure, impenitent, unthankful, and carnal-minded men, that attribute all to natural causes, that will acknowledge no supreme power; that have cauterized consciences, or live in a reprobate sense; or such desperate persons as are too distrustful of his mercies.
...the novel had reached its apogee with the marriage plot and had never recovered from its disappearance. In the days when success in life had depended on marriage, and marriage had depended on money, novelists had had a subject to write about. The great epics sang of war, the novel of marriage. Sexual equality, good for women, had been bad for the novel. And divorce had undone it completely. What would it matter whom Emma married if she could file for separation later? How would Isabel Archer’s marriage to Gilbert Osmond have been affected by the existence of a prenup? As far as Saunders was concerned, marriage didn’t mean much anymore, and neither did the novel. Where could you find the marriage plot nowadays? You couldn’t. You had to read historical fiction. You had to read non-Western novels involving traditional societies. Afghani novels, Indian novels. You had to go, literarily speaking, back in time.
Get down! Get down!"The people in front had already done so, swept down by the wave of bullets. The survivors, instead of getting down, tried to go back to the small square, and the panic became a dragon's tail as one compact wave ran against another which was moving in the opposite direction, towards the other dragon's tail in the street across the way, where the machine guns were firing without cease. They were penned in, swirling about in a gigantic whirlwind that little by little was being reduced to its epicenter as the edges were systematically being cut off all around like an onion being peeled by the insatiable and methodical shears of the machine guns.