Category Archives: Appreciations

Delight and Liberty, the Simple Creed

“There is a dreadful justice in such voraciousness having proved to be self-destructive: the teaching of poems, plays, stories, and novels is now supplanted by cheerleading for various social and political crusades. Or else, the artifacts of popular culture replace the difficult artifices of great writers as the material for instruction. It is not ‘literature’ that needs to be redefined; if you can’t recognize it when you read it, then no one can ever help you to know it or to love it better.”

                                                                                                  –Harold Bloom

Tagged ,

Proper Modesty

“It’s just that I’ve played such a quantity of piano. Three hours a day in childhood, about six hours a day in college, and at least six hours now. With that, I could afford to develop slowly. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned with feeling being the generating force.”

                                                                                                        –Bill Evans

Tagged ,


“It seems to me that the moralist is the most useless and contemptible of creatures. He is useless in that he would expend his energies upon making judgments rather than upon gaining knowledge, for the reason that judgment is easy and knowledge is difficult. He is contemptible in that his judgments reflect a vision of himself which in his ignorance and pride he would impose upon the world. I implore you, do not become a moralist; you will destroy your art and your mind.”

                                                                                  –John Williams, Augustus

Tagged , ,

A Little Learning

“I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so.”

–Sydney Smith


“Students are refreshing. Andrea said that she is writing a thesis on architecture and music. In the course of our conversation (we were painting side by side) I discovered that she had never heard of Mahler, Stravinsky, or Vivaldi. To name but three, I suppose. There’s a whole generation in college now that has heard of nothing.”

                                                                                                      –Guy Davenport

Tagged , , ,

“How pleasant it is to respect people! When I read books I am not concerned with how the authors loved or played cards. I see only their marvelous works.”


Tagged , ,


“Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason. They made no such demand upon those who wrote them.”

                                                                                        –Charles Caleb Colton

Tagged , , ,


“I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.”

                                                 –Samuel Johnson

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”

                                                 –Joseph Brodsky

Tagged , , , ,

What passes?

Never were days yet called two,

But one night went betwixt.

                 –Thomas Campion

Tagged , , ,

Enter Title Here

“Prose is the written form of deliberate expression, a medium that can become an art. Whereas speech is halting, comes in fragments, repeats, puts qualifiers after the idea, and often leaves it half expressed, prose aims at organized thought in complete units. The qualifiers of each idea often come before or during its exposition, as required by clarity, the sound of the words, or their rhythm.”


“Good prose means hard work; as a modern practitioner put it, it is ‘heavy lifting from a sitting position.'”

                                                                                                  –Jacques Barzun

Tagged , , , ,

Minatory, Repressive

“Either the person confesses and he is proved guilty from his own confession, or he does not confess and is equally guilty on the evidence of witnesses. If a person confesses the whole of what he is accused of, he is unquestionably guilty of the whole; but if he confesses only a part, he ought still to be regarded as guilty of the whole since what he has confessed proves him to be capable of guilt as to the other points of the accusation….”

                                                                                            –Book of the Dead

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him.”

                                                                                             –Jonathan Swift

Tagged , ,