Robertson Davies citáty

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Robertson Davies

Dátum narodenia: 28. august 1913
Dátum úmrtia: 2. december 1995

William Robertson Davies, CC, OOnt, FRSC, FRSL was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best known and most popular authors and one of its most distinguished "men of letters", a term Davies is variously said to have both gladly accepted for himself and to have detested. Davies was the founding Master of Massey College, a graduate residential college associated with the University of Toronto.

Citáty Robertson Davies

„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.

„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.

„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.

„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.

„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 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, kniha 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.

„These people seemed to think that whizzing through space in a car really altered the universe for them, but they were wrong; each one remained right in the centre of his private universe, which is the only field of knowledge of which he has any direct experience.“

—  Robertson Davies

Samuel Marchbanks' Almanack (1967)
Kontext: Was driving through the countryside today with some people who insisted upon frequent recourse to a roadmap in order to discover, as they put it, "Just where they were." Reflected that for my part I generally have a pretty shrewd idea of just where I am; I am enclosed in the somewhat vulnerable fortress which is my body, and from that uneasy stronghold I make such sorties as I deem advisable into the realm about me. These people seemed to think that whizzing through space in a car really altered the universe for them, but they were wrong; each one remained right in the centre of his private universe, which is the only field of knowledge of which he has any direct experience.

„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)
Kontext: 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.

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„He sets a thief to guard his purse
Who trusts a dial with his hours“

—  Robertson Davies

The Golden Ass (1999)
Kontext: He sets a thief to guard his purse
Who trusts a dial with his hours
Or bids a sand-glass bleed away his nights,
His days, his loves, his pleasures and his powers.
The burthen of his years
Is Time's soft footfall, Time's soft
Falling
Through his joys and tears.

„Great drama, drama that may reach the alchemical level, must have dimension and its relevance will take care of itself.“

—  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.

„My curiosity was in no way cruel. Deviations from the commonplace attracted me strongly, as they still do“

—  Robertson Davies

I Remember Creatore (1948).
Kontext: My curiosity was in no way cruel. Deviations from the commonplace attracted me strongly, as they still do; and to me the hermaphrodite and the living skeleton were interesting for the same reason as was Creatore, or the resplendent Guardsmen of the bands — because such people did not often come my way, and I hoped that they might impart some great revelation to me, some insight which would help me to a clearer understanding of the world about me.

„The mind of man, though perhaps the most splendid achievement of evolution, is not, surely, that answer to every problem of the universe.“

—  Robertson Davies

Opera and Humour (1991)
Kontext: The mind of man, though perhaps the most splendid achievement of evolution, is not, surely, that answer to every problem of the universe. Hamlet suffers, but the Gravediggers go right on with their silly quibbles.

„Our forebears are deserving of tribute for one indisputable reason, if for no other: without them we should not be here. Let us recognize that we are not the ultimate triumph but rather we are beads on a string.“

—  Robertson Davies

"Haunted by Halloween", in the New York Times (31 October 1990).
Kontext: Our forebears are deserving of tribute for one indisputable reason, if for no other: without them we should not be here. Let us recognize that we are not the ultimate triumph but rather we are beads on a string. Let us behave with decency to the beads that were strung before us and hope modestly that the beads that come after us will not hold us of no account simply because we are dead.

„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.

„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, kniha 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.

„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.

„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, kniha A Voice from the Attic

A Voice from the Attic (1960)
Kontext: 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.

„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.

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

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