Art to make you Feel

SoulPancake time!  This particular prompt is “List five pieces of art that stimulate your brain stem”.

I love art, and so asking me to choose my top favorite pieces of art is like asking me to choose my top five favorite movies or books; it’s impossible!

*Note: I know this prompt is probably looking for visual pieces of art, such as a painting or sculpture.  However, I see art as a form of powerful personal expression and creativity, so my choices are going to be a compilation of music, photos, paintings, and even a book.  To each their own, right?*

1. Untitled photo of a woman, Man Ray – I couldn’t find a proper title for this image, but regardless.  There is something so captivating about this woman.  I love the fragmented reflections around her.  It’s haunting and sad and dark and beautiful.  Man Ray’s pictures tend to be sexual and dark, but this picture is one that I’d love to hang in my room.

manray77

2. Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin- This piece of music is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest pieces ever written.  I love it so much.  Every time I listen to it, I fall in love.  Last Christmas I received a record with Rhapsody on one side, and American in Paris on the other, and let me tell you what.  They are phenomenal, and Gershwin is amazing.

3. The Golden Echo, Kimbra – Kimbra is a modern singer/songwriter/musician.  When you listen to her talk about her music, or watch her sing, you can see how much music means to her.  This album, The Golden Echo, is her second album, and so incredibly packed full of awesome stuff.  It’s the kind of music that you have to listen to with headphones on and the volume up.  Each piece gives me a very different feeling and impression.  Kimbra’s just a freaking powerhouse, and it shows in her music.

4. The Star, Edgar Degas – I love Degas.  I took ballet for several years growing up, so I have a deep appreciation for the beauty of ballerinas and their world.  I love the subtle brush strokes and delicate focus on the dancers.  Whenever I see a Degas painting of ballerinas, a part of me wishes I was still a ballerina.

the-star

5. Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh – I love van Gogh.  My current calendar is a collection of his paintings.  I love the textures, and the brush strokes, that are apparent in his work.  There’s something calming and gentle, and incredibly passionate in all of his works.  I know Starry Night is his most famous work, but I think this one is definitely one of my favorites.  I love the swirls and the colors; there’s something quite magical in this painting.

1280px-Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

I also really like Dance at Bougival by Auguste Renoir, All My Demons Greeting Me as Friends by Aurora, and Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

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What are some pieces of art that make you feel?

Ciao for now,

Julia

 

April Books

I finally have my act together enough to sit down and write this post.  It should have happened a couple of weeks ago, but you know how it goes.  Summer vacation suddenly hits, and all you want to do is absolutely nothing.  Plus, I recently discovered the newest season of BBC’s Sherlock, so of course that had to all be watched in a day.  But anyway, here we go.

23569715._UY200_The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott   (I spoke about this book already here.). I am inspired to read certain books based on conversations between my mom and my Nana.  Around Christmastime two years ago, my Nana was telling my Mom about this book, and I was listening to their conversation.  The way I heard my Nana describe this book was enough to interest me.  This story is about a young girl who has the ability to heal people, but every time she does, she dies a little bit.  This story examines individual responsibility versus societal duty.  It hurts to read, because of the conflict between the individual characters, and the people demanding things.  Plus, the story brings up the question of “What would you do in that situation?”.  The answer I had before I read this book is very different from my answer now.  I love books that make me think and re-evaluate my morals, beliefs, and my ideas about myself, books like The Color Purple, anything from Dan Brown, etc.  And I love books that stay with me, dancing around my heart and mind, for a long time after.  The other thing I really liked about this book, was the writing.  It was beautiful.  It reminded me a lot of my favorite book growing up, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.  Simply, this book was wonderful.

The Black Madonna by Muriel Spark  For my online class, I had to read a short story, black-madonnaand write a literary analysis on it.  I chose The Black Madonna, simply by flipping my textbook open to an author I hadn’t read before.  This story is an interesting one, for many reasons.  It analyses the power of religion, religious judgment, racism, cheating, mixed race genealogy, and probably the most powerful of all, the difference in the types of mothers, particularly in regards to socioeconomic status.  This story is named for a carving of the Madonna, done in a piece of black wood, that was gifted to the Parkers’ Catholic church.  Raymond and Lou were a white couple who had been married for quite some time, and were without children.  Eventually, it began to circle that praying to the Back Madonna for a child, would produce a child.  When Lou does have a child, the daughter is of another skin color.  This causes problems, as prior to getting pregnant, the couple had friends who were black.  They end up deciding to put the child up for adoption, believing it was the right thing to do.  The Parkers lived in a wealthier area, and had a bit of money.  This contrasted greatly with Lou’s sister, who was a widow with eight kids who lived off of welfare.  This was an interesting story to read because of the layers of meaning and themes.  I liked how plainly Sparks laid out the hypocrisy and judgment in religion, and how she contrasted the mothers, but I really didn’t like how the Parkers handled their daughter.  Their behavior makes sense in the story, but it just puts a sour taste in my mouth.  Instead of acknowledging the possibility of black in their ancestry, the Parkers would much rather put the child up for adoption, thinking it was a mistake.  Something about that just doesn’t sit right with me, especially after how Lou judged her sister for her choice of parenting.  The Black Madonna certainly gave me a lot to think about, but it’s not one I will probably read again for a long time.

What about you?  Have you read anything fun and interesting?

Ciao for now,

Julia

 

Comfy shows for rest and relaxation ….

Hey guys, I feel like its been so long.  I’ve had a veeery loooong week.  I started my new job this week, finished up my shifts at my old job, and had a few finals.  I worked a little over 40 hours this week, and got maybe 10 hours of sleep total Wednesday and Thursday night.  My new job is a lot of running and standing and fast working, which is not an environment I am used to.  Plus, I did some intensive weeding in my family’s garden last night.

My body hurts and my energy levels are practically non-existent.

All I desperately want to do is curl up with a fuzzy blanket and binge watch Netflix shows, for hours on end.  My mom and I have recently stumbled upon “comfy” murder mysteries.  We are currently watching Father Brown, with Mark Williams (from Harry Potter and Doctor Who).  It is fun, light-hearted, touching, and not nearly as intense your typical crime show.  The stories are based off of the characters created by G. K. Chesterton, and are set in 1940’s English countryside. 

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But our most favorite is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  We discovered it purely by chance, and pretty much watched all three seasons in about five days.  It’s simply wonderful.  It’s set in late 1920’s Australia.  Phryne Fisher is an incredible rebellious modern woman; detective, driver, flirtatious single woman.  She causes ruckus, gets into trouble, but has an incredible heart.  Plus, her relationship with lead detective, Jack Robinson, is a heck of a lot of fun to watch. 

This show only has three seasons, and it seems it could be awhile until anything new is added.  However.  There is rumored to be a movie in the works, and Mom and I are so excited.

These are the shows I fall to when I’m so tired, and want something fun to curl up to. 

What do you do when you’ve had a long week, and really want to relax?

Ciao for now,

Julia

(P.S. I promise, my regular material will resume on Monday.)

 

Summer Music

 

I love good music, the kind of music that reaches deep into your soul, and makes you feel alive.  The kind of music that is created by true musicians and presented with tangible passion.  (Have I mentioned yet that I can’t stand modern pop music? And for multiple reasons …..)

When summer rolls around, I find myself longing for and searching for, good music.   I should be studying for a major final right now, but oh well.  When I woke up this morning, I laid in my bed for a good long while, discovering new and amazing artists. 

I’ve recently discovered NPR Tiny Desk Sessions on YouTube, and let me tell you what, I have a tendency to fall down that rabbit hole really quick. 

Here are some of the artists I’m currently jammin’ to, and will be listening to quite a lot over the summer.

Joseph

 

Tank and the Bangs  (My favorite song starts at 13:55)

 

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

 

Avery*Sunshine

 

I’m also getting into Mariachi Flor de Toloache, Phox, and Lianne LeHavas.  My brothers have been sharing The Dead South with the family, and we all really like Nathaniel Ratliff and the Night Sweats.

It’s probably time for me to go study, but I’d love to know, what kind of music are you listening to this summer?

Ciao for now,

Julia

 

March Books

This month, the books I read were deep and thought provoking and even sometimes morally upsetting.  Truth be told, those are the types of books I like to read (for the most part). But this month, the subject material in these books was quite heavy.

51bEc+8GPxL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_The Awakening By Kate Chopin

For my online class this semester, I was required to read this book, then write a literary analysis on it.  As I’ve said before, I’m always a tad wary of reading feminist literature, especially turn of the century and after.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  The Awakening is about a young married woman’s sense of “awakening” to her desire for authenticity, self-identity, and passionate love and romance (not to be confused with a sexual awakening).   When this book was first published, many critics compared it to Madame Bovary and Lolita.  I was hesitant when I first started reading, because with comparisons to sexual books, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going to happen.  Anyway, I actually quite like this book.  I like the sense of “awakening” Edna (the main character) experiences, and how she fights against the things she feels are oppressing her.  Now, I don’t agree with all her methods or decisions, but I definitely like the way Chopin explains her thought process and internal, emotional awareness.  This book was really morally upsetting to me, because the end is rather ambiguous.  Without giving too much away, nothing feels really resolved or decided, and the reader is left trying to figure out what it all meant.  Besides the philosophical aspects of the story (such as obligation and duty vs. passion; self-identity; authenticity; “awakening”, etc.), I really liked Chopin’s writing.  This story is set in New Orleans during the turn of the century, in an aristocratic Creole environment, and Chopin writes in such an interesting eye for detail.  Though Edna occasionally got on my nerves, I liked many of the other characters.  Robert Lebrun, Edna’s “lover”, reminded me quite a lot of Angel Clare from Tess of the d’Ubervilles.  I also really liked Madame Ratignolle, who acted as the sensible voice of domestic and maternal goodness.  She encouraged Edna to live happily and love her children and her husband.  On the flip-side, I also quite liked Mademoiselle Reisz.  She was half-nutty, and didn’t care about what anybody thought.  She, in a sense, acted as the clear voice for Edna’s desires and awakenings, a perfect foil to Madame Ratignolle.  There was one line, in particular from this story that rather struck me: “The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.”.  All in all, I really quite liked this book, and I like the moral conflict it caused.

 

Les Misérables By Victor Hugo51P01h3DZtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Where do I even begin?  I love this book.  I finished this book about two weeks ago, and am still processing it.  It’s the kind of book that leaves your mind and heart feeling all kinds of mushy and foggy for days.  I’m a little annoyed that it took me so long to finish it.  I wish I had read it passionately and hungrily.  Before I begin really explaining this book, I want to make this distinction: You are not reading Les Mis if you are not reading Hugo.  Victor Hugo’s writing in and of itself is what makes Les Mis so beautiful.  It is poignant and powerful, philosophical and detailed, gentle and profound.  Hugo examines the world through what I am calling a two-way looking-glass; at times, he writes in a worldly and grand perspective, and at other times, he writes in an intimate and individual perspective.  He knows the world, but he also understands the man.  There is a quote from Hugo that I hold very near to my heart: “A writer is a world trapped in a person”.  As a writer myself, I feel this statement on an intimate level, but as a reader of Hugo, I understand this in terms of his mind.  Hugo writes in the spectrum of the world, at times talking about France, and others talking about the forgotten, poor child.  In reading Les Mis, one is exposed to the depth of Hugo’s thoughts and feelings and love for his fellow-men.  Even when talking about Thérnardier, it is obvious Hugo feels deeply, and has compassion.  And the complexity of the this story is of epic proportions.  Hugo presents each character’s background, so that each present decision makes sense.  He opens the book with the Bishop of Dine, so that his actions make sense in regards to Valjean.  Valjean’s past is written out, so that it makes sense why he is angry when he is freed, and then why he changes.  Javert’s history is presented so his persistence and cold-hearted approach to justice is understood.  Fantine’s life is even presented, and the reader is introduced to otherwise unknown character of Cosette’s father.  For every character, Hugo paints a picture of their personality and history, so by the end, each character feels like a friend (or enemy of sorts).  And like most books, Les Mis presents facts about the characters that are otherwise brushed over or forgotten.  For example, Eponine has a sister and three younger brothers, one of which is a much beloved character.  Eponine dies angry and jealous, instead of happy.  (Actually, she purposely lulls Marius to the barricade in hopes he will die, and not be with Cosette …… I think I like her better in the movie …..).  Valjean takes the name Fauchlevent because he takes refuge in Paris with the man he saved from the cart (Mounsier Fauchlevent).  Cosette spent her tween years on a convent.  Marius and Cosette actually had(unchaperoned) “dates” in the garden in the Rue Plumet two months before the barriacades.  Valjean dies several weeks, if not months, after the wedding.  The thing is, this book is better than the musical and movie.  I love every extension of this story, and Hugo’s incredible epic, but I could just rave endlessly about the book.  My favorite chapter was probably the collection of thoughts Marius wrote for Cosette (A Heart Beneath a Stone) and the one(s) that made my heart the most happy were the final two (A Night Behind Which There is Day and The Grass Covers and the Rain Effaces).  This book simply just made my heart happy.

What were you reading this month?

Ciao for now,

Julia

The beauty of Victor Hugo (pt. 10)

In this final section of the book, the lovers are married, Marius discovered who saved his life, and a wonderful, good, gentle soul enters Heaven.

There are things we should not attempt to paint; the sun is among them. (p. 1343)

We are pitiless toward happy lovers; we stay there when they have the greatest desire to be alone. (p. 1343)

“Angel” is the only word in the language that cannot be worn out.  No other word would resist the pitiless use lovers make. (p. 1345)

“People would drive away the Graces for their low necklines.  Alas! They hide beauty as a deformity.” (p. 1354)

e9867c9527d5441959d467cb30fa0271“A marriage should be royal and fantastical; it ought to walk in procession from the cathedral of Rheims to the pagoda of Chanteloup.  I’m horrified at a cowardly wedding! Be in Olympus, at least for that day.  Be gods!” (p. 1355)

The head that does not turn toward past horizons contains neither thought nor love. (p. 1358)

Great fevers have great dreams. (p. 1358)

Then where were they all? Was it really true that all were dead? A fall into the darkness has carried off everything, except himself.  It all seemed to him to have disappeared as if behind a curtain at the theater.  There are such curtains that drop in life.  God is moving on to the next act. (p. 1358)

It rained that day, but there is always a little patch of blue in the sky of happiness, which lovers see, even though the rest of creation may be under an umbrella. (p. 1366)

To have suffered, how good it is! Their grief made a halo around their happiness. (p. 1375)

Happiness wishes everybody happy. (p. 1376)

Bright illumination is the necessary attendant of great joy.  Dusk and obscurity are not accepted by the happy.  They do not consent to be dark.  Night, yes; darkness, no.  If there is no sun, one must be made. (p. 1376)

“Be happy without quibbling.  Obey the sun blindly.  What is the sun?  It is love.  Who says love says woman.  Aha!  There is an omnipotence; it is woman.  Ask this demagogue of a Marius if he is not the slave of this little tyrant of a Cosette, and with his full consent, the coward.” (p. 1378)

“By Jove, to love, to be loved, the beautiful miracle when one is young!  Don’t imagine you have invented it.” (p. 1379)

“Love is a child six thousand years old.” (p. 1379)

“The devil, who is clever, took to hating man; man, who is more clever, took to loving woman.” (p. 1379)

“Good sense cannot lie.  Be a religion to each other.  Everyone has his own way of worshipping God.  The best way to worship God is to love your wife.” (p. 1380)

“If people did not love one another, I do not see what the use would be in having any spring; and, as for me, I would pray the good Lord to pack up all the pretty things he shows us, and take them away from us, and put the flowers, the birds, and the pretty girls, back into his box.” (p. 1380)

It is impossible that this sacred festival of destiny should not send a celestial radiation to the infinite. (P. 1381)

It was a good thing for Jean Valjean that he had been able to weep. (p. 1387)

The obedience of matter is limited by friction; is there no limit to the obedience of the soul?  If perpetual motion is impossible, can perpetual devotion be demanded? (p. 1387)

There is still a certain grace in a dead festival.  It had been happy. (p. 1390)

“It is not enough to be happy, we must be satisfied with ourselves.” (p. 1396)

“To keep silent is simple?  No, it is not simple.  There is a silence that lies.” (p. 1397)

“[A]nd when a man holds himself in check, he is well held.” (p. 1397)

“Monsieur Pontmercy, this is not common sense, but I am an honest man.  It is by degrading myself in your eyes that I raise myself in my own.” (p. 1397)

“Well, yes, to take a name, and to put yourself under it, is dishonest.  The letters of the alphabet can be stolen like a purse or a watch.” (p. 1398)

To condemned man a mask is not a mask, but a shelter. (p. 1407)

God has his instruments.  He uses what tools he pleases.  He is not responsible to man.  Do we know the ways of God? (p. 1410)

God performs His miracles as He sees fit.  He has constructed this enchanting Cosette, and he had employed Jean Valjean for the work.  It had pleased him to choose this strange collaborator.  What reckoning have we to ask of him? Is this the first time the dunghill has helped the spring make a rose? (p. 1410)

He had not yet come to distinguish between what is written by man and what is written byHugMis5_280 God, between law and right. (p. 1411)

Jean Valjean did not seem the man to shrink, and who knows whether Marius, after having urged him on, would not have  desired to restrain him?  At certain critical moments, have we not all, after asking a question, stopped our ears so as not to hear the response? (p. 1411)

“Grandfathers are made to scold fathers.” (p. 1415)

“So you don’t like it that I am happy?” Unconsciously, artlessness sometimes penetrates very deep.  This question, simple to Cosette, was profound to Jean Valjean.  Cosette wished to scratch; she tore. (p. 1418)

Probably she had one of those conversations with Marius, in which the beloved man says what he pleases, explains nothing, and satisfies the beloved woman.  The curiosity of lovers does not go very far beyond their love. (p. 1419)

Many men have a secret monster this way, a disease they fed, a dragon that gnaws at them, a despair that inhabits their night.  Such a man seems like others, quite normal. (p. 1420)

The limbs, without parting from the trunk, recede from it.  It is not their fault.  Youth goes where joy is, to festivals, to brilliant lights, to lives.  Old age goes to the end.  They do not lose sight of each other, but the ties are loosened.  The affection of the young is chilled by life; that of the old by the grave.  We must not blame these poor children. (p. 1430)

The cross is always good to look at. (p.1431)

“What is the matter with him?”  “Everything and nothing.  He is a man who, to all appearances, has lost some dear friend.  People die of that.” (p. 1432)

The touch of a wicked man is often enough to corrupt a good deed and to make an evil result spring from it.  With Marius’ money, Thénardier became a slave trader. (p. 1451)

“But we reckon without God.  God said: You think that you are going to be abandoned, idiot?  No.  No, it shall not come to pass like that.” (p. 1454)

“You save people’s lives, and you hide it from them!  You do more, under pretense of unmasking yourself, you slander yourself.” (p. 1455)

“You will live.  You are going to live.  I will have you live, do you hear!”. Jean Valjean raised his head toward hear with adoration.  “Oh, yes, forbid me to die.” (p. 1457)

“God knows better than we do what we need.” (p. 1457)

“Because things are unpleasant,” said Jean Valjean, “that is no reason for being unjust toward God.” (p.1458)

“It is nothing to die; it is horrible not to live.” (p. 1458)

The agony of death may be said to meander.  It comes and goes, moves on towards the grave, and turns back towards life.  There is a groping in the act of dying. (p. 1458)

When a being who is dear to us is about to die, we look at him with a look that clings to him, and which would like to hold him back. (p. 1459)

His breath died away, his gaze grew wider.  It was a corpse on which you could sense the wings. (p. 1460)

“My children, do not cry.  I am not going very far, I will see you from there.  You will only have to look at night, you will see me smile.” (p. 1461)

“Her name was Fantine.  Remember that name: Fantine.  Fall on your knees whenever you pronounce it.  She suffered a great deal.  And loved you very much.  Her measure of unhappiness was as full as yours of happiness.  Such as the distributions of God.  He is on high, He sees all, and He knows what He does in the midst of his great stars.” (p. 1461)

The night was starless and very dark.  Without any doubt, in the gloom, some mighty angel was standing with outstretched wings, waiting for the soul. (p. 1462)

He is asleep.  Though his mettle was sorely tried,/ He lived, and when he lost his angel, died./ It happened calmly, on its own,/ The way night comes when day is done. (p. 1463)

 

 

(P.S. For one of my classes this semester, I am required to conduct a research experiment/study.  My study is focused on the relationship between politics and religion.  I think it would be really cool to have you guys be a part of my research (but please do not feel obligated!).  If you are interested, the only stipulation is that you be an American citizen (sorry, but my topic is relevant to Americans).  So, if this is something you are interested in, you can find the survey here: Politics and Religion.  Thanks!! 🙂 )

 

The beauty of Victor Hugo (pt. 9)

In this part of the story, the Friends of the ABC Cafè are killed, Marius is saved, and Javert commits suicide.

Tumblr_mg1is1KWWr1qkk5w8o1_500.jpgIt sometimes happens that, even against principles, even against liberty, equality, and fraternity, even against universal suffrage, even against the government of all by all, from the depths of its anguish, of its discouragements, its privations, its fevers, its distress, its miasmas, its ignorance, and its darkness, that great madman, the rabble, protests, and the populace gives battle to the people. (p. 1169)

It had the woeful aspect of all the works of hatred: Ruin. (p. 1171)

“The light of a torch is like the wisdom of a coward; it’s not clear because it trembles.” (p. 1179)

The dawn awakens minds as well as birds. (p. 1179)

Our hearts are so fluctuating, and human life is such a mystery that, even in a civic murder, even in a liberating murder, if there is such a thing, the remorse of having struck a man surpasses the joy of having served the human race. (p. 1179)

“You want to die, I want that too, I who am speaking to you, but I don’t want to feel the ghosts of women wringing their hands around me.  Die, so be it, but don’t make others die.  Suicides like those that will be carried out here are sublime; but suicide is restricted, and can have no extension; and as soon as it touches those next to you, the name of suicide is murder.” (p. 1183)

“When a man supports his relatives with his labor, he has no right to sacrifice himself.” (p. 1183)

“Young girls have no bread, that’s terrible.  Man begs, woman sells. (p. 1183)

“There’s a market for human flesh; and it’s not with your ghostly hands, fluttering about them, that you can prevent them from entering it.” (p. 1184)

“I know well that it takes courage to leave, it’s difficult; but the more difficult it is, the more praiseworthy.” (p. 1184)

Despair too has its ecstasy. (p. 1185)

These great revolutionary barricades were rendezvous of heroisms. (p. 1187)

“The real governed by the true, such is the aim.” (p. 1189)

“Just as fires light up the whole city, revolutions light up the whole human race.” (p. 1190)

“Where would the shout of love begin, if not from the summit of sacrifice?” (p. 1191)

Speech being breath, the rustling of intellects is like the rustling of leaves. (p. 1192)

Peril produces order. (p. 1195)

Youth is the smile of the future, before an unknown being, which is itself.  It is natural for it to be happy.  It seems to breathe hope. (p. 1203)

In extreme cases, we may introduce the reader into a nuptial chamber, but not into a virgin’s bedroom.  Verse would hardly dare, prose should not. (p. 1204)

An Eastern tale says that the rose was made white by God, but since Adam looked while it was half opened, it was ashamed and blushed.  We are among those who feel speechless in the presence of young maidens and flowers, finding them almost sacred. (p. 1204)

This time he fell face down on the pavement and did not stir again.  This great little soul had taken flight. (p. 1217)

Poor children cannot enter the public gardens; still, one would think that, as children, they had a right to the flowers. (p. 1219)

Nothing is beautiful as greenery washed by the rain and washed by the sunbeam; it is warm freshness.  The gardens and the meadows, having water at their roots and sunshine in their The_Sewersflowers, become vases of incense, and exhale all their perfumes at once.  Everything laughs, sings, and proffers itself.  We feel sweet intoxication.  Spring is a provisional paradise; sunshine helps to make man patient. (p. 1219)

He who does not weep does not see. (p. 1220)

Who knows that the sun is not blind? (p. 1221)

What is on high, at the top, at the summit, in the zenith, what sends over the earth so much light, may see little, may see badly, may see nothing! Is that not disheartening? No. Then what is there above the sun? The God. (p. 1221)

The abundance of light was inexpressible comforting.  Life, sap, warmth, odor, overflowed; beneath creation you felt the enormity of its source; in all these breezes saturated with love, in this coming and going of reflections and reverberations, in this prodigious expenditure of rays, in this indefinite outlay of fluid gold, you felt the prodigality of the inexhaustible; and behind this splendor, as behind a curtain of flame, you caught a glimpse of God, millionaire of the stars. (p. 1222)

[T]hey tried to hide, an instinct of the poor and feeble before magnificence. (p. 1222)

The father said to the son, ” The sage lives content with little.  Look at me, my son.  I do not love pomp.  I am never seen in coats decked out with gold and gems; I leave that false splendor to badly organized minds.” (p. 1223)

“Perhaps God is dead,” said Gérard de Nerval one day, to the writer of these lines, confusing progress with God, and mistaking the interruption of the movement for the death of the Being. (p. 1236)

Men are unjust towards these great pioneers of the future when they fail. (p. 1238)

But the salvation of society depends on itself; to its own will, we appeal.  No violent remedy is necessary.  Study evil lovingly, verify it, then cure it.  That is what we urge. (p. 1238)

The quantity of civilization is measured by the quantity of imagination. (p. 1240)

The acceptance of death in full youth and in full health makes a frenzy of courage. (p. 1243)

[T]here is no man more fearful in action than a dreamer. (p. 1243)

“There are people who observe the rules of honor as we observe the stars, from far off.” (p. 1244)

The besieged, alas, make a weapon of everything.  Greek did not dishonor Archimedes, boilingpitch did not dishonor Bayard.  All war is appalling, and there is nothing to choose in it. (p. 1249)

The audacity to die well always moves men. (p. 1250)

Noise does not waken a drunkard; silence wakes him. (p. 1251)

The nutrition of plants makes the nourishment of men. (p. 1257)

Philosophy is the microscope of thought. (p. 1263)

Besides, we should leave the things of the grave in the place they choose. (p. 1268)

When a man clad by the state pursues a man in rags, it is in order to make also a man clad by the state.  Except that the color is the whole question.  To be clad in blue is glorious; to be clad in red is the opposite. (p. 1285)

Death sometimes redeems its atrocity by a certain terrible dignity.  At the stake, in the shipwreck, man may be great; in the flame as in the foam, grace is possible; you are transfigured while falling into that abyss.  (p. 1294)

Nothing is so like a dream as despair. (p. 1300)

Everybody has accepted things automatically. (p. 1302)

It was the exquisite hour that says neither yes nor no.  There was already night enough for one to be lost in it a short distance, and still day enough for one to be recognized near at hand. (p.1306)

That good quarter, startled by the revolution, takes refugee in slumber, as children, when they hear goblins coming, hides their heads very quickly under the covers. (p. 1309)

The doctor seems to reflect sadly.  From time to time he shook his head, as if in some interior monologue.  A bad sign for a patient, these mysterious dialogues of the physician with himself. (p. 1314)

“We don’t get angry with a dead man; that would be stupid.” (p. 1316)

Destiny has certain extremities overhanging the impossible, beyond which life is no more than abyss. (p. 1321)

Javert felt something terrible was penetrating his soul, admiration for a convict. (p. 1322)

Javert3[A] mysterious justice according to God going counter to justice according to men. (p. 1323)

But how manage to send in his resignation to God? (p. 1325)

God, always the interior to man, and unyielding – he the true conscious – to the false. (p. 1326)

If facts did their duty, they would be content to be the proofs of the law; it is God who sends facts. (p. 1327)

He believed in the straight line; a respectable optical illusion, but one that ruins many men. (p. 1334)

When grace is joined to wrinkles, it is adorable.  There is something of the dawn in happy old age. (p. 1337)

 

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(P.S. For one of my classes this semester, I am required to conduct a research experiment/study.  My study is focused on the relationship between politics and religion.  I think it would be really cool to have you guys be a part of my research (but please do not feel obligated!).  If you are interested, the only stipulation is that you be an American citizen (sorry, but my topic is relevant to Americans).  So, if this is something you are interested in, you can find the survey here: Politics and Religion.  Thanks!! 🙂 )