Archive

Posts Tagged ‘quotations’

Lemuel Gulliver in the land of gigantic boobies

Namely, Brobdingnag.

The nurse, to quiet her babe, made use of a rattle, which was a kind of hollow vessel filled with great stones, and fastned by a cable to the child’s waist: but all in vain, so that she was forced to apply the last remedy by giving it suck. I must confess no object ever disgusted me so much as the sight of her monstrous breast, which I cannot tell what to compare with, so as to give the curious reader an idea of its bulk, shape, and colour. It stood prominent six foot, and could not be less than sixteen in in circumference. The nipple was about half the bigness of my head, and the hue both of that and the dug so varified with spots, pimples, and freckles, that nothing could appear more nauseous: for I had a near sight of her, she sitting down the more conveniently to give suck, and I standing on the table. This made me reflect upon the fair skins of our English ladies, who appear so beautiful to us, only because they are of our own size, and their defects not to be seen, but through a magnifying glass, where we find by experiment, that the smoothest and whitest skins look rough and coarse, and ill coloured.

Source: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, ‘A Voyage to Brobdingnag’, Chapter I.

That which gave me most uneasiness among these maids of honour, when my nurse carried me to visit them, was to see them use me without any manner of ceremony, like a creature who had no sort of consequence. For, they would strip themselves to the skin, and put on their smocks in my presence, while I was placed on their toylet directly before their naked bodies: which, I am sure to me was very far from being a tempting sight, or from giving me any other motions that those of horror and disgust. Their skins appeared so coarse and uneaven, so variously coloured when I saw them near, with a mole here and there as broad as a trencher, and hairs hanging from it thicker than pack-threads; to say nothing further concerning the rest of their persons. Neither did they at all scruple while I was by, to discharge what they had drunk, to the quantity of at least two hogsheads, in a vessel that held above three tuns. The handsomest among these maids of honour, a pleasant frolicksome girl of sixteen, would sometimes set me astride upon one of her nipples; with many other tricks, wherein the reader will excuse me for not being over particular.

Source: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, ‘A Voyage to Brobdingnag’, Chapter V.

Earlier in the book, in ‘A Voyage to Lilliput’, the narrator describes how he voided his bowels for the first time since washing ashore and the Lilliputians carted his effluence away in wheelbarrows; later, Gulliver puts out a fire at the Emperor’s palace with his own, personal, built-in fire hose. In addition to the very accessible style of writing, this somewhat puerile interest in bodies and bodily functions has made reading the book quite a pleasure.

Advertisements

consistory

con·sis·to·ry /kənˈsɪstəri/
–noun, plural -ries.

1. any of various ecclesiastical councils or tribunals.
2. the place where such a council or tribunal meets.
3. the meeting of any such body.
4. Roman Catholic Church. a solemn assembly of the whole body of cardinals, summoned and presided over by the pope.
5. Anglican Church. a diocesan court for dealing with ecclesiastical and spiritual questions, held in the cathedral church and presided over by the bishop, the bishop’s chancellor, or the commissary.
6. (in certain Reformed churches) the governing board of a local church or congregation.
7. any assembly or council.
8. Obsolete. a council chamber.

Origin:
1275–1325; ME consistorie < AF < LL consistōrium meeting place, equiv. to L consist ( ere ) ( see consist) + -( t ) ōrium -tory2

—Related forms
con·sis·to·ri·al  /ˌkɒnsɪˈstɔriəl, -ˈstoʊr-/, con·sis·to·ri·an, adjective
non·con·sis·to·ri·al, adjective

Source: Dictionary.com.

all the animals of Satan’s bestiary, assembled in a consistory and set as guard and crown of the throne that faced them, singing its glory in their defeat, fauns, beings of double sex, brutes with six-fingered hands, sirens, hippocentaurs, gorgons, harpies, incubi, dragopods, minotaurs, lynxes, pards, chimeras, cynophales who darted fire from their nostrils, crocodiles, polycaudate, hairy serpents, salamanders, horned vipers, tortoises, snakes, two-headed creatures whose backs were armed with teeth, hyenas, otters, crows, hydrophora with sawtooth horns, frogs, gryphons, monkeys, dog-heads, leucrota, manticores, vultures, paranders, weasels, dragons, hoopoes, owls, basilisks, hypnales, presters, spectafici, scorpions, saurians, whales, scitales, amphisbenae, iaculi, dipsases, green lizards, pilot fish, octopi, morays, and sea turtles.

Source: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

Now I am an autodidact, which is a great word… I learned it myself.

Alan Moore.

Source: The Stool Pigeon.

Clocks should be like women: they should stand in a corner, silently, and once a year receive a good servicing.

The elder Pip Bin in the wonderful Radio 4 comedy Bleak Expectations, ‘Chapter the Third: A Recovery All Made Miserable’.

gouache

gouache /gwɑʃ, guˈɑʃ; Fr. gwaʃ/

–noun, plural gouach·es  /ˈgwɑʃɪz, guˈɑʃɪz; Fr. ˈgwaʃ/
1. a technique of painting with opaque watercolors prepared with gum.
2. an opaque color used in painting a gouache.
3. a work painted using gouache.

Origin:
1880–85; < F < It guazzo place where there is water ≪ L aquātiō, deriv. of aqua water

—Can be confused: gauche, gouache.

Source: Dictionary.com.

While he was still at school … he painted hundreds of gouache pictures and was famous among his school friends for his caricatures of teachers.

Source: Immortality by Milan Kundera.

charterhouse

Char·ter·house /ˈtʃɑrtərˌhaʊs/

–noun, plural -hous·es  /-ˌhaʊzɪz/
1. a Carthusian monastery.
2. the hospital and charitable institution founded in London, in 1611, on the site of a Carthusian monastery.
3. the public school into which this hospital was converted.
4. the modern heir of this school, now located in Surrey.

Origin:
1400–50; late ME < AF chartrouse (taken as charter + house), after Chatrousse, village in Dauphiné near which the order was founded; see Carthusian, whence the first r of the AF word

Source: Dictionary.com.

Agnes recalled a sentence from Stendahl’s novel: “Il se retira à la chartreuse de Parme.” Fabrice left; he retired to the charterhouse of Parma. No charterhouse is mentioned anywhere else in the novel, and yet that single sentence on the last page is so important that Stendahl used it for the title; because the real goal of all Fabrice’s adventures was the charterhouse, a place secluded from people and the world.

Source: Immortality by Milan Kundera.

epigone

ep·i·gone /ˈɛpɪˌgoʊn/

–noun
an undistinguished imitator, follower, or successor of an important writer, painter, etc.

Also, ep·i·gon  /ˈɛpɪˌgɒn/

Origin:
1860–65; < L epigonus < Gk epígonos (one) born afterward, equiv. to epi– epi- + –gonos, akin to gígnesthai to be born

—Related forms
ep·i·gon·ic /ˌɛpɪˈgɒnɪk/, adjective
e·pig·o·nism /ɪˈpɪgəˌnɪzəm, ɛˈpɪg-, ˈɛpəˌgoʊnɪzɪm, -ˌgɒnɪz-/, noun

Source: Dictionary.com.

Epigones are always more radical than their inspirers. For example, I am reading a very thorough French biography of Beethoven published in the 1960s. There the author speaks directly of Goethe’s “cowardice,” his “servility,” his “senile fear of everything new in literature and aesthetics,” etc., etc. Bettina, on the other hand, is endowed with “clairvoyance and prophetic ability, which almost give her the stature of a genius.”

Source: Immortality by Milan Kundera.