Subtlest Quotes (displaying: 1 - 13 of 13 quotes )
And then the sly arch-lover that he was, he said the subtlest thing of all: that the lover was nearer the divine than the beloved; for the god was in the one but not in the other - perhaps the tenderest, most mocking thought that ever was thought, and source of all the guile and secret bliss the lover knows.
The subtlest change in New York is something people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition. (Written in 1949, 22 years before the World Trade Center was completed.)
Don’t be fooled by clever hands, sir” the Sunlight Man said. He’d be lying with the back of his head on his hands, as he always lay. “Entertainment’s all very well, but the world is serious. It’s exceedingly amusing, when you think about it: nothing in life is as startling or shocking or mysterious as a good magician’s trick. That’s what makes stagecraft deadly. Listen closely, friend. You see great marvels performed on the stage - the lady sawed in half, the fat man supported by empty air, the Hindu vanishing with the folding of a cloth - and the subtlest of poisons drifts into your brain: you think the earth dead because the sky is full of spirits, you think the hall drab because the stage is adazzle with dimestore gilt. So King Lear rages, and the audience grows meek, and tomorrow, in the gray of old groceries, the housewife will weep for Cordelia and despair for herself. They weren’t fools, those old sages who called all art the Devil’s work. It eats the soul.
The written word is weak. Many people prefer life to it. Life gets your blood going, & it smells good. Writing is mere writing, literature is mere. It appeals only to the subtlest senses—the imagination’s vision, & the imagination’s hearing—& the moral sense, & the intellect. This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks & exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else.