"On Tuesday [17th July 1917] morning Robert went into town to discuss Siegfried’s case with some of those who knew him best. He had not yet received a letter written to him by Siegfried on Sunday night, which had arrived at Osborne after his departure; nor could he have known that Sassoon had now been ordered to appear before a Medical Board, but had torn up the order, and had then spent the rest of the day learning poems by heart so that he would have something to recite in prison."
— Robert Graves: The Assault Heroic 1895-1926, Chapter Fourteen | Saving Sassoon
"You are going to love some of your characters, because they are you or some facet of you, and you are going to hate some of your characters for the same reason. But no matter what, you are probably going to have to let bad things happen to some of the characters you love or you won’t have much of a story. Bad things happen to good characters, because our actions have consequences, and we do not all behave perfectly all the time."
— Anne Lamott.
King Minos’s Labyrinth
"In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth (Greek λαβύρινθος labyrinthos) was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at the palace Knossos.
Its function was to hold Minos’s son, Minotaur, a mythical creature that was half man and half bull.
Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.
Every nine years, Minos made King Aegeus pick seven young boys and seven young girls to be sent to Daedalus’s creation, the Labyrinth, to be eaten by the Minotaur.
After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in the underworld. The Minoan civilization of Crete has been named after him by the archaeologist Arthur Evans.
In colloquial English, labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single, non-branching path, which leads to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.”
Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
"The past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. […] That is why we dwell on the past, I think."
— Virginia Woolf.
"Shakespeare’s name, you may depend on it, stands absurdly too high and will go down. He had no invention as to stories, none whatever. He took all his plots from old novels, and threw their stories into a dramatic shape, at as little expense of thought as you or I could turn his plays back again into prose tales. That he threw over whatever he did write some flashes of genius, nobody can deny: but this was all. Suppose any one to have the dramatic handling for the first time of such ready – made stories as Lear, Macbeth, &c. and he would be a sad fellow, indeed, if he did not make something very grand of them. [As] for his historical plays, properly historical, I mean, they were mere redressings of former plays on the same subjects, and in twenty cases out of twenty-one, the finest, the very finest things, are taken all but verbatim out of the old affairs. You think, no doubt, that A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse! is Shakespeare’s. Not a syllable of it. You will find it all in the old nameless dramatist. Could not one takeup Tom Jones and improve it, without being a greater genius than Fielding? I, for my part, think Shakespeare’s plays might be improved, and the public seem, and have seemed for to think so too, for not one of his is or ever has been acted as he wrote it; and what the pit applauded three hundred years past, is five times out of ten not Shakespeare’s, but Cibber’s."
Anonymous asked: "Tell me, what is the relevance of having Classics as a major these days and why people keep studying these ancient literature? Dont they ever run out of things to study?"
You could ask that question about studying anything from the past, and I think the answer would always be the same: because learning about the past helps us understand our present and possible future. It’s all about context, mapping out how we got here and why. In the case of the classics, Greek and Roman culture have shaped Western society to an immense degree and we can still see the traces these people have left behind in different aspects of our contemporary world, including literature, politics, the natural sciences, and architecture. To this day, we see things the way we do because of the influence of the Classics, which is why they are still worth coming back to. And wouldn’t life be boring if we only read and studied things from our own time? We would miss out on so much beauty and genius!
As for running out of things to study, I can imagine that fresh material runs out at some point, especially in certain fields, but that doesn’t mean that we stop talking about what has been discussed by others before us. After all, our perspective changes over time with developments in our own society and culture. Literary critics from today approach things very differently from critics from, say, the 1970s. Because we evolve, our perspective and subsequent interpretation changes as well.
(Also, interest doesn’t always have to have a “practical” purpose, I think. The past is just very, very interesting and what is geekery if not satisfying your curiosity for the sake of knowing something about the world that you didn’t know before, lifting the corner of the veil inch by inch so you can take a look underneath and maybe see?)
"Good writers may “tell” about almost anything in fiction except the characters’ feelings. One may tell the reader that the character went to a private school […] or one may tell the reader that the character hates spaghetti; but with rare exceptions the characters’ feelings must be demonstrated: fear, love, excitement, doubt, embarrassment, despair become real only when they take the form of events - action (or gesture), dialogue, or physical reaction to setting. Detail is the lifeblood of fiction."
— The Art of Fiction, John Gardner.
I meant to write to Una tonight, too, but I won’t have time now. Read this letter to her and tell her it’s really meant for you both—you two dear, fine loyal girls. Tomorrow, when we go over the top—I’ll think of you both—of your laughter, Rilla-my-Rilla, and the steadfastness in Una’s blue eyes—somehow I see those eyes very plainly tonight, too.
asked: "Hi, I run a blog called mental-health-advice. We help with every mental health related issues like self harm, eating disorders or relationship, gender and sexuality issues. We created a live chat and have dozens of pages. It would really really mean the world to us if you could follow/post this for your followers, so we can help even more people. But, make sure that if you do follow, it is on mental-health-advice rather than this (my admin blog) Thanks in advance, Paige"
What a beautiful initiative!
Consider yourself promoted, and good luck!