Best 203 of J. M. Coetzee quotes - MyQuotes

Follow
J. M. Coetzee
By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

In a sudden and soundless eruption, as if he has fallen into a waking dream, a stream of images pours down, images of women he has known on two continents, some from so far away in time that he barely recognizes them. Like leaves blown on the wind, pell-mell, they pass before him. A fair field full of folk: hundreds of lives all tangled with his. He holds his breath, willing the vision to continue. What has happened to them, all those women, all those lives? Are there moments when they too, or some of them, are plunged without warning into the ocean of memory? The German girl: is it possible that at this very instant she is remembering the man who picked her up on the roadside in Africa and spent the night with her? Enriched: that was the word the newspapers picked on to jeer at. A stupid word to let slip, under the circumstances, yet now, at this moment, he would stand by it. By Melanie, by the girl in Touws River; by Rosalind, Bev Shaw, Soraya: by each of them he was enriched, and by the others too, even the least of them, even the failures. Like a flower blooming in his breast, his heart floods with thankfulness.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

And anyway, I suspect he secretly liked it when a woman was cold and distant

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Also the air: the air is full of sighs and cries. These are never lost: if you listen carefully, with a sympathetic ear, you can hear them echoing forever within the second sphere.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I say that I represent this movement because my intellectual allegiances are clearly European, not African.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

In my experience poetry speaks to you either at first sight or not at all. A flash of revelation and a flash of response. Like lightning. Like falling in love.

By Anonym 20 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

When death cuts all other links, there remains the name. Baptism: the union of a soul with a name, the name it will carry into eternity.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Demokratie gestattet keine Politik außerhalb des demokratischen Systems. In diesem Sinne ist Demokratie totalitär.

By Anonym 18 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

So funktioniert Höflichkeit. Man pflegt Beziehungen mit Leuten, auch wenn man sie nicht mag.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Belief may be no more, in the end, than a source of energy, like a battery which one clips into an idea to make it run.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

But it is the knowledge of how contingent my unease is, how dependent on a baby that wails beneath my window one day and does not wail the next, that brings the worst shame to me, the greatest indifference to annihilation. I know somewhat too much; and from this knowledge, once one has been infected, there seems to be no recovering. I ought never to have taken my lantern to see what was going on in the hut by the granary. On the other hand, there was no way, once I had picked up the lantern, for me to put it down again. The knot loops in upon itself; I cannot find the end.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

being seduced is a pleasure in itself. One yields for the sake of yielding.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Children all over the world consort quite naturally with animals. They don't see any dividing line. That is something they have to be taught, just as they have to be taught it is all right to kill and eat them.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

A risk to own anything: a car, a pair of shoes, a packet of cigarettes. Not enough to go around, not enough cars, shoes, cigarettes. Too many people, too few things. What there is must go into circulation, so that everyone can have a chance to be happy for a day. That is the theory; hold to the theory and to the comforts of theory. Not human evil, just a vast circulatory system, to whose workings pity and terror are irrelevant. That is how one must see life in this country: in its schematic aspect. Otherwise one could go mad. Cars, shoes; women too. There must be some niche in the system for women and what happens to them.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I see no marks of Wordsworths style of writing or style of thinking in my own work, yet Wordsworth is a constant presence when I write about human beings and their relations to the natural world.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

If you were blind you would hardly have fallen in love in the first place. But now, do you truly wish to see the beloved in the cold clarity of the visual apparatus? It may be in your better interest to throw a veil over the gaze, so as to keep her alive in her archetypal, goddesslike form.

By Anonym 17 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Moer and more he is convinced that English is an unfit medium for the truth in South Africa.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Ama aptallık ettim, iyi vakit geçirtmek yerine onu kasvete boğdum. Gerçekten de dünyanın şarkıcılara ve dansçılara kalması gerek! Gereksiz acılar, aylakça melankoli, boş pişmanlıklar! -Barbarları Beklerken

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

My response, a dubious and hesitant one, is that it has been and may continue to be, in the time that is left to me, more productive to live out the question than to try to answer it in abstract terms.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Perhaps we invented the gods so that we could put the blame on them. They gave us permission to eat flesh. They gave us permission to play with unclean things. It's not our fault, it's theirs. We're just their children.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Deprived of human intercourse, I inevitably overvalue the imagination and expect it to make the mundane glow with an aura of self-transcendence. Yet why these glorious sunsets, I ask myself, if nature does not speak to us with tongues of fire.

By Anonym 18 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Sigue dedicándose a la enseñanza [...] porque así aprende la virtud de la humildad, porque así comprende con toda claridad cuál es su lugar en el mundo. No se le escapa la ironía, a saber, que el que va a enseñar aprende la lección más profunda, mientras que quienes van a aprender no aprenden nada.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Music expresses feeling, that is to say, gives shape and habitation to feeling, not in space but in time. To the extent that music has a history that is more than a history of its formal evolution, our feelings must have a history too. Perhaps certain qualities of feeling that found expression in music can be recorded by being notated on paper, have become so remote that we can no longer inhabit them as feelings, can get a grasp of them only after long training in the history and philosophy of music, the philosophical history of music, the history of music as a history of the feeling soul.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

State censorship presents itself as a bulwark between society and forces of subversion or moral corruption. To dismiss this account of its own motives by the state as insincere would be a mistake: it is a feature of the paranoid logic of the censoring mentality that virtue ... must be innocent, and therefore, unless protected, vulnerable to the wiles of vice.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I want to find a way of speaking to fellow human beings that will be cool rather than heated, philosophical rather than polemical, that will bring enlightenment rather than seeking to divide us into the righteous and the sinners, the saved and the damned, the sheep and the goats.

By Anonym 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

To be full of being is to live as a body-soul. One name for the experience of full being is joy.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Diese Haltung zur Opferung von Menschenleben ist seltsam. Militärbefehlshaber überlegen nicht zweimal, wenn sie Soldaten in die Schlacht schicken und dabei genau wissen, dass viele von ihnen sterben werden. [...] Andererseits verbietet es der Offiziersethos, einzelne Soldaten auszuwählen und ihnen zu befehlen, ihr Leben zu opfern [...]. Und doch - und das ist noch paradoxer - werden Soldaten, die eine solche Tat aus eigener Initiative vollbringen, als Helden betrachtet.

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

[I]n Amerika wird das Modell des Ich als ein Geist, der eine Maschine bewohnt, auf volkstümlicher Ebene fast unbestritten hingenommen.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

One day some as yet unborn scholar will recognize in the clock the machine that has tamed the wilds.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

You think you know what is just and what is not. I understand. We all think we know." I had no doubt, myself, then, that at each moment each one of us, man, woman, child, perhaps even the poor old horse turning the mill-wheel, knew what was just: all creatures come into the world bringing with them the memory of justice. "But we live in a world of laws," I said to my poor prisoner, "a world of the second-best. There is nothing we can do about that. We are fallen creatures. All we can do is to uphold the laws, all of us, without allowing the memory of justice to fade.

By Anonym 20 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Wie es im Zeitalter der Könige naiv gewesen wäre zu glauben, dass der erstgeborene Königssohn der zum Herrschen Geeignetste wäre, so ist es in unserer zeit naiv zu glauben, dass der demokratisch gewählte Machthaber der Geeignetste sein wird. Die Nachfolgeregelung ist kein Rezept für die Bestimmung des besten Machthabers, sie ist ein Rezept für die Legitimierung dieser oder jener Person und somit für die Vermeidung von Bürgerkriegen. Die Wählerschaft - der Demos - glaubt, es sei ihre Aufgabe, den Besten auszuwählen, doch in Wahrheit ist ihre Aufgabe viel schlichter: einen Mann zu salben [...], gleichgültig welchen.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

That has always seemed to me one of the stranger aspects of literary fame: you prove your competence as a writer and an inventor of stories, and then people clamour for you to make speeches and tell them what you think about the world.

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

In a while the organism will repair itself, and I, the ghost within it, will be my old self again. But the truth, he knows, is otherwise. His pleasure in living has been snuffed out. Like a leaf on a stream, like a puffball on a breeze, he has begun to float toward his end.

By Anonym 20 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Without desire how is it possible to make a story?

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Asymmetrie [macht] Menschen unglücklich.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I don't think we are ready to die, any of us, not without being escorted.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

As you speak I swear I can hear words being selected, one after another, from the word-box you carry around with you, and slotted into place. That is not how a true native speak, one who is born into a language.’ ‘How does a native speak?’ ‘From the heart. Words well up within and he sings them, sings along with them. So to speak.

By Anonym 20 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

What would yield the greater benefit to mankind: if I spent the afternoon taking stock in my dispensary, or if I went to the beach and took off my clothes and lay in my underpants absorbing the benign spring sun, watching the children frolic in the water, later buying an ice-cream from the kiosk on the parking lot, if the kiosk is still there? What did Noël ultimately achieve labouring at his desk to balance the bodies out against the bodies in? Would he not be better off taking a nap? Maybe the universal sum of happiness would be increased if we declared this afternoon a holiday and went down to the beach, commandant, doctor, chaplain, PT instructors, guards, dog-handlers all together with the six hard cases from the detention block, leaving behind the concussion case to look after things. Perhaps we might meet some girls. For what reason were we waging the war, after all, but to augment the sum of happiness in the universe? Or was I misremembering, was that another war I was thinking of?

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Erklären heißt verzeihen, erklärt zu werden heißt Verzeihung erlangen [...]

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

But the truth, he knows, is otherwise. His pleasure in living has been snuffed out. Like a leaf on a stream, like a puffball on a breeze, he has begun to float towards his end. He sees it quite clearly, and it fills him with (the word will not go away) despair. The blood of life is leaving his body and despair is taking its place, despair that is like a gas, odourless, tasteless, without nourishment. You breathe it in, your limbs relax, you cease to care, even at the moment when the steel touches your throat.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Temperament is fixed, set. The skull, followed by the temperament: the two hardest parts of the body. Follow your temperament. It is not a philosophy, It is a rule, like the Rule of St Benedict.

By Anonym 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Therapy is to make one happy. What is the point of that? Happy people are not interesting. Better to accept the burden of unhappiness and try to turn it into something worthwhile, poetry or music or painting: that is what he been believes.

By Anonym 17 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Maar ik moet zeggen dat ik mijn geduld verlies met fictie die iets probeert wat nog niet eerder is geprobeerd, liefst het met medium zelf.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

His mouth opens. From inside him comes a slow stream, without breath, without interruption. It flows up through his body and out upon me; it passes through the cabin, through the wreck; washing the cliffs and shores of the island, it runs northward and southward to the ends of the earth. Soft and cold, dark and unending, it beats against my eyelids, against the skin of my face.

By Anonym 17 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Let me tell you the meaning of the sacred and alluring garden that blooms in the heart of the desert and produces the food of life. The garden for which you are currently heading is nowhere and everywhere except in the camps. It is another name for the only place where you belong, Michaels, where you do not feel homeless. It is off every map, no road leads to it that is merely a road, and only you know the way.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

When we are stirred to lament the loss of the gods, it is more than likely the gods who are doing the stirring.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

The masters of information have forgotten about poetry, where words may have a meaning quite different from what the lexicon says, where the metaphoric spark is always one jump ahead of the decoding function, where another, unforeseen reading is always possible.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

As you see, I do not treat the creation of fiction, that to say the invention and development of fantasies,as a form of abstract thought. I dont wish to deny the uses of the intellect,but sometimes one has the intuition that the intellect by itself will lead one nowhere.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

One thought alone preoccupies the submerged mind of Empire: how not to end, how not to die, how to prolong its era. By day it pursues its enemies. It is cunning and ruthless, it sends its bloodhounds everywhere. By night it feeds on images of disaster: the sack of cities, the rape of populations, pyramids of bones, acres of desolation.

By Anonym 18 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Telaşla uykunun inine geri dönsem de rüyaya tekrar giremiyor, ağzımı sulandıran ekmeğin tadına bakamıyorum. -Barbarları Beklerken

By Anonym 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

The question is not, are we sorry? The question is, what lesson have we learned? The question is what are we going to do now that we are sorry?