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The Moviegoer: quotes (6)

“I no longer pretend to understand the world.” She is shaking her head yet still smiling her sweet menacing smile. “The world I knew has come crashing down around my ears. The things we hold dear are reviled and spat upon.” She nods toward Prytania Street. “It’s an interesting age you will live in—though I…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (4)

Heaven no longer existed, and furthermore, at thirty, I was finished. This was the end for me, too! I realized for the first time that the most important, the decisive part of my life lay behind me, irretrievably. My grief was not merely egoistic, as these words might suggest. Not at all! I wept for…

The Moviegoer: quotes (5)

He was unaffected by the singularities of time and place. His abode was anywhere. It was all the same to him whether he catheterized a pig at four o’clock in the afternoon in New Orleans or at midnight in Transylvania.  . . . Yet I do not envy him. I would not change places with…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (3)

15.4.1890. My father dies. L.C. For those who do not know, those last two letters do not stand for Lower Case, but for Last Cigarette. This is an annotation I find in a volume by Ostwald on positivistic philosophy, with which, full of hope, I have spent many hours and never understood. No one would…

The Moviegoer: quotes (4)

The boy has done it! He has won the title to his own existence, as plenary an existence now as Holden’s, by refusing to be stampeded like the ladies from Hattiesburg. He is a citizen like Holden; two men of the world they are. All at once the world is open to him. Nobody threatens…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (2)

If I had stopped smoking, would I have become the strong, ideal man I expected to be? Perhaps it was this suspicion that bound me to my habit, for it is comfortable to live in the belief that you are great, though your greatness is latent. I venture this hypothesis to explain my youthful weakness,…

The Moviegoer: quotes (3)

Truthfully, it is the fear of exposing my own ignorance which constrains me from mentioning the object of my search. For, to begin with, I cannot even answer this, the simplest and most basic of all questions: Am I, in my search, a hundred miles ahead of my fellow Americans or a hundred miles behind…