Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dreiser's Twelve Men

I had a very hard time sticking with this short story collection!

Twelve Men
Theodore Dreiser

Peter
"Life to Peter was indeed so splendid that he was always very much wrought up about it, eager to live, to study, to do a thousand things."

"Not man but Nature was planning, or at least doing, something which man could not understand, or which very likely he was a mere tool."

"Life was a delicious, brilliant mystery to him, horrible in some respects, beautiful in others; a great adventure."

"...it gave [Dick] the opportunity of posing as misunderstood, neglected, depressed, as becomes all great artists, poets, and thinkers."

"Rulers ought to be above mere commercialism."

"You want to remember that this is an art, not a job...I can make a Turkish carpet or not...If I can get so much as one good spot of color worked out, one small portion of the design, I'll be satisfied. I'll know then that I can do it, the whole thing, don't you see?...The pleasure is in doing it, proving that you can, not in the rug itself."

A Doer of the Word
"The Samaritan in people is so easily exaggerated at times."

"...I don't believe in churches...The sight of a minister preaching the word of God for so much a year is all a mockery to me...Churches and charitable institutions and societies are all valueless."

"Love is the only thing you can really give in all this world. When you give love, you give everything."

"Money is the only dangerous thing to give - but I never money - not very often. I give myself, rather, as much as possible. I give food and clothing, too, but I try to show 'em a new way...You've got to make a man over in his soul, if you want to help him, and money won't help you to do that, you know."

"Selfish people are never happy."

My brother Paul
"Peace, peace. So shall it soon be with all of us. It was a dream. It is. I am. You are. And shall we grieve over or hark back to dreams?"


The Country Doctor
"As I walked along, the simplicity of country life and its needs and deprivations were impressed upon me...So few here could afford to pay for expensive prescriptions."

"...it must be a dreadful thing to be sick and die without friends."


Culhane, the Solid Man
"Sanitariums with their isms and theories did not appeal to me."

"But you take a man - more especially a gentleman...Let him inherit eight or ten millions, give him a college education, let him be socially well connected, and what does he do? Not a damn thing, if he can help it except contract vices."

"This is why, in my humble judgment, the Church and those associated with its aims make no more progress than they [gamblers, pugilists, pickpockets, saloon-keepers, book-makers, jockeys and the like] do. While they are consciously eager to better the world, they are so wrapped up in themselves and their theories, so hampered by their arbitrary and limited conceptions of good and evil, that the great majority of men move about them unseen..."

A True Patriarch
"A cow or a horse was as much to be treated with sympathy and charity as a man or a woman."

"I don't know," he said to me one day, in discussing modern statesmen and political fame in general, "but getting up in politics is a queer game. I can't understand it. Men that you'd think ought to get up don't seem to. It doesn't seem to be real greatness that helps 'em along."

De Maupassant, Junior
"He respected the virtues, but he knew of and reckoned with the antipathetic vices which gave them their reason for being. To him the thief was almost as important as the saint, the reason for the saint's being."

"His great bane was the popular magazine, the difficulty of selling a good thing."

The Village Feudists
"People love to be petted, at least some people do...When you don't pet 'em they get kind o' sour and crabbed like."

"Vanity, Vanity" Saith the Preacher
"What I also gained was a sense of an exotic, sybaritic and purely pagan mind, one which knew little of the conventions of the world and cared less."

The Mighty Rourke
"Seriously, I am not against union laborers. I like them. They spell rude, blazing life. But when you have to deal with them!"

A Mayor and His People
"We are so wise in America, so interested in our fellowman, so regardful of his welfare." {Sarcasm!}

"The public isn't interested in its own welfare very much. It can't bothered or hasn't the time."

"All men have methods of fighting for that which they believe."

"Yet are not all lives more or less failures, however successful they may appear to be at one time or another, contrasted, let us say, with what they hoped for? We compromise so much with everything - our dreams and all."

W. L. S.
"Life's little ironies are not always manifest. We hear distant rumbling sounds of its tragedies, but rarely are we permitted to witness the reality."

"My feeling at the time was as if I had been looking at a beautiful lamp, lighted, warm and irradiating a charming scene, and then suddenly that it had been puffed out before my eyes, as if a hundred bubbles of iridescent hues had been shattered by a breath. We toil so much, we dream so richly, we hasten so fast, and, lo! The green door is opened. We are through it and its grassy surface has sealed us forever from all which apparently we so much crave - even as, breathlessly, we are still running."

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