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Richard Siken

Oh we’re a mess, poor humans, poor flesh—hybrids of angels and animals, dolls with diamonds stuffed inside them We’ve been to the moon and we’re still fighting over Jerusalem. Let me tell you what I do know: I am more than one thing, and not all of those things are good. — Richard Siken, from… Continue reading Richard Siken

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Classic · Collection · Compilation · Correspondence · Essay · Excerpt · Non-fiction · Passage · Quote · Russian Culture · Russian Literature

Leo Tolstoy

If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you. — Leo Tolstoy, Essays, Letters and Miscellanies. (Wildside Press,… Continue reading Leo Tolstoy

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Classic · Collection · Essay · Excerpt · Non-fiction · Passage · Philosophy · Quote · Romanian Culture · Romanian Literature

Emil Cioran

We perceive first the anomaly of sheer existence, and only afterward that of our specific situation: the surprise of being precedes the surprise of being human. Yet the strange character of our state should constitute the primordial datum of our perplexities: it is less natural to be man than, simply, to be. We feel this… Continue reading Emil Cioran

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Albert Camus

“This very heart which is mine will forever remain indefinable to me. Between the certainty I have of my existence and the content I try to give to that assurance, the gap will never be filled. For ever I shall be a stranger to myself. — Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus. (Penguin Classic, November… Continue reading Albert Camus

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Aestheticism · Autobiographical · Biographical · British Culture · British Literature · Classic · Confessional · Correspondence · Essay · Excerpt · Irish Culture · Letter · Non-fiction · Passage · Quote · Victorian

Oscar Wilde

The final mystery is oneself. When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul? — Oscar Wilde, De Profundis. (Fontamara, September 12th 1993) Originally published 1905.

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Jorge Luis Borges

I always imagine them at nightfall, in the dusk of a slum or a vacant lot, in that long, quiet moment when things are gradually left alone, with their backs to the sunset, and when colours are like memories or premonitions of other colours. We must not be too prodigal with our angels; they are… Continue reading Jorge Luis Borges

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Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Essay · Excerpt · French-American Culture · French-American Literature · History · Humanities · Language · Non-fiction · Passage · Philosophy · Quote

George Steiner

But there is a third mode of trancendence: in it language simply ceases, and the motion of spirit gives no further outward manifestation of its being. The poet enters into silence. Here the word borders not on radiance or music, but on night. — George Steiner, from “Silence and the Poet,” Language and Silence: Essays… Continue reading George Steiner

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