Friday, May 29, 2009


For those of you who have not experienced the wonder that is Manalive (by GKC) do yourself a favor and toddle out and read it; it is out of this world in order to return to it. I've just finished it myself (after much coaxing by my loving wife)!

Here are a few choice quotes:

"A wind sprang high in the west, like a wave of unreasonable happiness, and tore eastward across England, trailing with it the frosty scent of forests and the cold intoxication of the sea. In a million holes and corners it refreshed a man like a flagon, and astonished him like a blow. In the inmost chambers of intricate and embowered houses it woke like a domestic explosion, littering the floor with some professor's papers till they seemed as precious as fugitive, or blowing out the candle by which a boy read Treasure Island and wrapping him in roaring dark. But everywhere it bore drama into undramatic lives, and carried the trump of crisis across the world. Many a harassed mother in a mean backyard had looked at five dwarfish shirts on the clothes-line as at some small, sick tragedy; it was as if she had hanged her five children. The wind came, and they were full and kicking as if five fat imps had sprung into them; and far down in her oppressed subconscious she half-remembered those coarse comedies of her fathers when the elves still dwelt in the homes of men. Many an unnoticed girl in a dank walled garden had tossed herself into the hammock with the same intolerant gesture with which she might have tossed herself into the Thames; and that wind rent the waving wall of woods and lifted the hammock like a balloon, and showed her shapes of quaint clouds far beyond, and pictures of bright villages far below, as if she rode heaven in a fairy boat. Many a dusty clerk or cleric, plodding a telescopic road of poplars, thought for the hundredth time that they were like the plumes of a hearse; when this invisible energy caught and swung and clashed them round his head like a wreath or salutation of seraphic wings. There was in it something more inspired and authoritative even than the old wind of the proverb; for this was the good wind that blows nobody harm."

"'Yes,' he said with a huge sigh, 'I am free in Russia, you are right. I could really walk into that town over there and have love all over again, and perhaps marry some beautiful woman and begin again, and nobody could even find me. Yes, you have certainly convinced me of something.'
His tone was so queer and mystical that I felt impelled to ask him what he meant, and of what excattly I had convinced him of.
'You have convinced me,' he said, with the same dreamy eye, 'why it is really wicked and dangerous for a man to run away from his wife.'
'And why is it dangerous?' I inquired.
'Why, because noboday can find him,' answered the odd person, 'and we all want to be found.'
'The most original of modern thinkers,' I remarked, 'Ibsen, Gorki, Nietzsche, Shaw, would all say rather that what we want most is to be lost. To find ourselves in untrodden paths, and to do unprecedented things; to break with the past and belong to the future.'
He rose to his whole height somewhat sleepily, and looked around on what was, I confess, a somehwat desolate scene; the dark purple plains, the neglected railroad, the few ragged knots of the malcontents.
'I shall not find the house here,' he said. 'It is still eastward-further and further eastward.'
Then he turned to me with something like fury, and struck the foot of his pole upon the frozen earth.
'And if I do go back to my country,' he cried, 'I may be locked up in a madhouse before I reach my own house. I have been a bit unconventional in my time! Why, Nietzsche stood in a row of ramrods in the silly old Prussian army, and Shaw takes temperance beverages in the suburbs; but the things I do are unprecedented things. This round road I am treading is an untrodden path. I do believe in breaking out; I am a revolutionist. But don't you see that all these real leaps and destructions and escapes are only attempts to get back to Eden-to something we have had, to something at least we have heard of? Don't you see one only breaks the fence or shoots the moon in order to get home?'
'No,' I answered after due reflection. 'I don't think I should accept that.'
'Ah,' he said with a sort of sigh, 'then you have explained a second thing to me.'
'What do you mean,' I asked; 'what thing?'
'Why your revolution has failed,' he said...

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