Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace (1867)

“Not take prisoners,” Prince Andrew continued: “That by itself would quite change the whole war and make it less cruel. As it is we have played at war–that’s what’s vile! We play at magnanimity and all that stuff. Such magnanimity and sensibility are like the magnanimity and sensibility of a lady who faints when she sees a calf being killed: she is so kind-hearted that she can’t look at blood, but enjoys eating the calf served up with sauce. …

“If there was none of this magnanimity in war, we should go to war only when it was worth while going to certain death, as now. … War is not courtesy but the most horrible thing in life; and we ought to understand that and not play at war. …”

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Neil Gaiman – Sandman, vol. 4 (1992)

What about all the rest of them? Do you think they’ll ever have to go back to hell?

Go back? I don’t know. I think hell’s something you carry around with you. Not somewhere you go. … They’re doing the same things they always did. They’re doing it to themselves. That’s hell.

Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (1847)

Young ladies have a remarkable way of letting you know that they think you a “quiz,” without actually saying the words. A certain superciliousness of look, coolness of manner, nonchalance of tone, express fully their sentiments on the point, without committing them by any positive rudeness in word or deed.


Alan Lightman – Dance for Two (1996)

E-mail has undeniable benefits. It is faster than regular mail and cheaper and less obtrusive than the telephone. It can promote conversations among far-flung communities of people, and it can encourage otherwise reticent talkers to speak up, via computer terminals. But E-mail, in my view, also contributes to the haste, the thoughtlessness, and the artificial urgency that increasingly characterize our world.


Ansel Adams – The Camera (1980)

In discussing mechanical or optical issues we must not lose sight of the much greater importance of image content­­—emotional, aesthetic, or literal. I believe there is nothing more disturbing than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept!