But as the moon brightens I see, some fifteen feet above me, a staircase – a secret staircase ascending through the enormous thickness of the walls. What were these strange ways used for? who were they who trod them centuries ago? Slender women in clinging and trailing garments, bearded chieftains, their iron heels clanging, and as I evoke the past, rich fancies come to me, and the nostalgia of those distant days, strong days that were better and happier than ours, comes upon me swiftly, as a bitter poison pulsing in blood and brain; and regardless of my friend’s counsels, I climb towards the strange stairway, as if I would pass backwards out of this fitful and febrile age to one bigger and healthier and simpler. These walls have been touched by hands that trembled not as mine, and I shall never touch those hands, and the eyes that looked down through this loophole on wild foes will never be known to mine. Ah! I should have known those men, should have fought out my life with them, and not grown sick with grief in this querulous age. And those women of early Ireland I should have seen holding their robes from their feet as they ascended this stair to the battlements, to watch for their husbands and brothers coming back fresh from border forays with beeves and prisoners . . .

George Moore. Parnell and His Island. 62



She closed the gate, and crept quickly and noiselessly back to bed. When she was in her room, and the door closed, and all safe, she breathed freely, and a great weight fell off her. She nestled down in bed, in the groove his body had made, in the warmth he had left. And, excited, worn-out, yet still satisfied, she fell soon into a deep, heavy sleep.

Gerald walked quickly through the raw darkness of the coming dawn. He met nobody. His mind was beautifully still and thoughtless, like a still pool, and his body full and warm and rich. He went quickly along towards Shortlands, in a grateful self-sufficiency.

Lawrence, Women in Love 349.


One-Dimensional Sex

The Pleasure Principle absorbs the Reality Principle; sexuality is liberated (or rather liberalized) in socially constructive forms. This notion implies that there are repressive modes of desublimation, compared with which the sublimated drives and objectives contain more deviation, more freedom, and more refusal to heed the social taboos. It sppears that such repressive desublimation is indeed operative in the sexual sphere, and here, as in the desublimation of higher culture, it operates as the by-product of the social controls of technological reality, which extend liberty while intensifying domination.

Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man 72


You are what you write

Go up to London, to London, that great City, write, write, write. And behold I writ, and lo a hand was sent to me, and a roll of a book was therein, which this fleshly hand would have put wings to, before the time. Whereupon it was snatcht out of my hand, “& the Roll thrust into my mouth; and I eat it up, and filled my bowels with it (Eze. 2. 8. &c cha. 3.1,2,3.) where it was as bitter as worm wood; and it lay broiling, and burning in my stomack, till I brought it forth in this forme.
And now I send it flying to thee, with my heart, And all

Abiezer Coppe, A Fiery Flying Roll . . . (1649) qtd. in Cohn, In Pursuit of the Millennium, 321


Some residue remaining

Where in all this is evil to be found? How did it insinuate itself? What is its root, what its seed? Or does it not exist? Then why do we fear and shun the non-existent? Even if it offers a phantom threat, the threat itself is an evil, by which the untrheatened heart is put on alert and put on the rack - the falser its terror, the more obvious is the evil of fearing what is not there to be feared. Do we fear a real evil, or is the fearing itself the evil? How can this occur, when God created all these good things out of his own goodness? Even if the highest goodness made lower goods, everything involved is good, the maker and the things made. Then where is there room for evil? Is the matter from which he made things somehow evil, to which he gave form and rank but left some residue of it unchanged into good? How can this be? Was he so weak, he the all-powerful, that he had to leave some trace of evil behind when he shaped and transformed matter? If that were the case, why would he want to make things at all, intead of using all his power to prevent them?

Augustine, Confessions 7.7 (140-141 in Wills)


Father of Genius

I think your birth was the first great event in my life. I was as surprised as if I had seen a house built up in the nighttime by magic. I developed an instantaneous ... [jealousy? hatred?] for the professional nurse. I could not bear to see you lying on her knees. I was for the first time – I suppose – pure animal. I never felt like that afterwards at the birth of the others.

John Butler Yeats to his son, qtd. in R. F. Foster, W. B. Yeats: A Life 1. The Apprentice Mage 15


A writer's better days

He is a great man that never gets out of bed, he said. He spends the days and nights reading books and occasionally he writes one. He makes his characters live with him in his house. Nobody knows whether they are there at all or whether it is all imagination. A great man.

Flann O'Brien, At Swim-two-birds 139