O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
And Savinkov remembered that Kaliayev had once said to him, “Everything is beautiful. The stars and clouds and flowers and people and — death is beautiful, too.” (Otto Friedrich, from The End of the World)
‘We are happy lovers. Aren’t we? And happiness makes one stupid. Happiness and wisdom do not go together, just as body and thought do not go together. Because only pain is the thought of the body. In other words, happy people become stupid people. It is only when they get tired of their happiness that lovers can become wise again, if that is what they otherwise are.’ (Milorad Pavić, from Last Love in Constantinople)
“Usually girls dance together because the boys are too shy to ask. But this boy – I didn’t know him – he asked me to dance, and so we had the first dance and then the next, and by that time we were talking … And you know what it is when you like someone, you know it at once; well, I liked him such a lot. And we kept on talking and then there was a birthday cake. And he took a bit of marzipan and he just gently put it in my mouth – I remember trying to smile, and blushing, and feeling so foolish – and I fell in love with him just for that, for the gentle way he touched my lips with the marzipan.” (Philip Pullman, from The Amber Spyglass)
‘Once giants walked the earth,’ she repeated, emphatically. ‘Yes, titans absolutely, it’s a fact.’
Three mothers creaked and swung with expressions of fascinated absorption upon their smiling faces; but Raza Hyder took no notice, closed his eyes, grunted from time to time. ‘Now the pygmies have taken over, however,’ Bilquis confided. ‘Tiny personages. Ants. Once he was a giant,’ she jerked a thumb in the direction of her somnolent husband, ‘you would not believe to look, but he was. Streets where he walked shook with fear and respect, even here, in this very town. But, you see, even a giant can be pygmified, and he has shrunk now, he is smaller than a bug. Pygmies pygmies everywhere, also insects and ants – shame on the giants, isn’t it? Shame on them for shrinking. That’s my opinion.’ (Salman Rushdie, from Shame)
The Spartans were perfectly aware of the atrocious suffering they were inflicting and never imagined their victims could forget it. The solution was to establish terror as a normal condition of life — and that was Sparta’s great invention: to create a situation in which terror was seen as something normal. (Robert Calasso, from The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony)
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