Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Opening Lines

The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse. – Charles Williams, War in Heaven

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina [this, btw, is not only false, but demonstrates Tolstoy’s fundamental unsoundness]

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. —Franz Kafka, The Trial

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett, Murphy

I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man. —Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground

Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden. —David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System

Bowing down in blind credulity, as is my custom, before mere authority and the tradition of the elders, superstitiously swallowing a story I could not test at the time by experiment or private judgment, I am firmly of opinion that I was born on the 29th of May, 1874, on Campden Hill, Kensington; and baptized according to the formularies of the Church of England in the little church of St. George opposite the large Waterworks Tower that dominated that ridge. – G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography

It was a bright cold day in London, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – George Orwell, 1984

Despite their promises at the last Election, the politicians had not yet changed the climate. – Evelyn Waugh, Love Among the Ruins

I do not know, men of Athens, how my accusers affected you; as for me, I was almost carried away in spite of myself, so persuasively did they speak. – Socrates, Apologia

The Master said: “To learn something and then to put it into practice at the right time: is this not a joy?” – Confucius, Analects

124 was spiteful. – Toni Morison, Beloved

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

It is the profession of philosophers to question platitudes that others accept without thinking twice. – David Lewis, Convention

Let’s set the existence-of-God issue aside for a latter volume, and just stipulate that in *some* way, self-replicating organisms came into existence on this planet and immediately began trying to get rid of each other, either by spamming their environments with rough copies of themselves, or by more direct means which hardly need to be belabored. – Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
– Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

It is an old story, but one that can still be told, about a man who loved and lost a friend to death, and learned he lacked the power to bring him back to life. – The Epic of Gilgamesh

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity. – Eccelsiatis

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for thy love is better than wine. – Song of Solomon

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – Gospel of John

A reactionary is made, not born. – John Lukacs, Confessions of an Original Sinner

I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods.
– C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Christianity has been long enough in the world to justify us in dealing with it as a fact in the world’s history. – John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

The Wisest thing in the World is to cry out before you are hurt. – G. K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils

The issue of authority has such a bad reputation that a philosopher cannot discuss it without exposing himself to suspicion and malice. – Yves, Simon, A General Theory of Authority

What I shall have to say here is neither difficult nor contentious; the only merit I should like to claim for it is that of being true, at least in parts. – J.L. Austin, How to do Things with Words

The world is twofold for man in accordance with his twofold nature. – Martin Burber, I and Thou

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. – Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler.

When you go to confession on a Saturday night, you go into a warm, dimly lit vastness, with the smell of wax and incense in the air, the smell of burning candles, and if it is a hot summer night there is the sound of a great electric fan, and the noise of the streets coming in to emphasize the stillness. – Dorothy Day, The Long Lonliness

There is no novelty to me in the reflection that, from my earliest years, I have accepted many false opinions as true, and that what I have concluded from such badly assured premises could not be but highly doubtful and uncertain. – Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

Everyone has heard people quarelling. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Every art and every investigation, and similarly every action and pursuit, is considered to aim at some end. – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

The only possible explanation for this book is that it is an answer to a challenge. – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by the sun of York. -William Shakespeare, Richard III

Heads. – Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead

Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

If I had not been so wicked, the possession of devout and God-fearing parents, together with the favor of God’s grace, would have been enough to make me good. – Saint Teresa of Avila, Autobiography

One of the nice things about flying on the air shuttle back and forth between New York City and Washington, D.C., is that you can stay up to date about when human beings first appeared on earth. – Lorenzo Albacete, God at the Ritz

Last night I knew you existed: a drop of life escaped from nothingness. – Oriana Fallaci, Letter to a Child Never Born

Mother died today; or maybe yesturday, I don’t remember. – Albert Camus, The Stranger

Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while. – F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

If music be the food of love play on; give me excess of it, that sufeiting the appetite may sicken, and so die. – William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

By the grace of God I am a Christian, by my deeds a great sinner, and by my calling a homeless wanderer or humblest origin, roaming from place to place. – The Way of the Pilgirm

“There are dragons in the twin’s vegetable garden.” – Madeline L’Engle, A Wind in the Door

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September 29, 2008 - Posted by | Literature

1 Comment »

  1. MrsDarwin says:
    Tolstoy’s fundamental unsoundness

    I am so glad to see someone else acknowledge this. His bizarre family philosophies (as espoused in War and Peace) make me tear out my hair.

    Comment by DarwinCatholic | October 10, 2008 | Reply


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