Best 203 of J. M. Coetzee quotes - MyQuotes

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J. M. Coetzee
By Anonym 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

There is a cold war on the go. America and Russia are competing for the hearts and minds of Indians, Iraquies, Nigerians; scholarships to universities are among the inducements they offer.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

The most important of all rights is the right to life, and I cannot foresee a day when domesticated animals will be granted that right in law.

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I return one last time to the places of death all around us, the places of slaughter to which, in a huge communal effort, we close our hearts. Each day a fresh holocaust, yet, as far as I can see, our moral being is untouched. We do not feel tainted. We can do anything, it seems, and come away clean. We point to the Germans and Poles and Ukrainians who did and did not know of the atrocities around them. We like to think they were inwardly marked by the after-effects of that special form of ignorance. We like to think that in their nightmares the ones whose suffering they had refused to enter came back to haunt them. We like to think they woke up haggard in the mornings and died of gnawing cancers. But probably it was not so. The evidence points in the opposite direction: that we can do anything and get away with it; that there is no punishment.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

He would not mind hearing Petrus's story one day. But preferably not reduced to English. More and more he is convinced that English is an unfit medium for the truth of South Africa. Stretches of English code whole sentences long have thickened, lost their articulations, their articulateness, their articulatedness. Like a dinosaur expiring and settling in the mud, the language has stiffened. Pressed into the mold of English, Petrus's story would come out arthritic, bygone"(117).

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 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

The devil is everywhere under the skin of things, searching for a way into the light.

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 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Once I lived in time as a fish in water, breathing it, drinking it, sustained by it. Now I kill time and time kills me.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

That was our first time together. Interesting, an interesting experience, but not earth-shaking. But then, I never expected it to be earth-shaking, not with him. What I was determined to avoid was emotional entanglement. A passing fling was one thing, an affair of the heart quite another. Of myself I was fairly sure. I was not about to lose my heart to a man about whom I knew next to nothing.

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I truly believe I am not afraid of death. What I shrink from, I believe, is the shame of dying as stupid and befuddled as I am.

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

Can desire grow out of admiration, or are the two quite distinct species? What would it be like to lie side by side, naked, breast to breast, with a woman one principally admires?

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I urge you: don't cut short these thought-trains of yours. Follow them through to their end. Your thoughts and your feelings. Follow them through and you will grow with them.

By Anonym 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

The sun is setting, the sky is a tumult of oranges, reds and violets.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

If there were a better, clearer, shorter way of saying what the fiction says, then why not scrap the fiction?

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 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Vielleicht ist es so, dass nur das, was nicht ausgesprochen worden ist, durchlebt werden muss.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

My existence from day to day has become a matter of averting my eyes, of cringing. Death is the only truth left. Death is what I cannot bear to think. At every moment when I am thinking of something else, I am not thinking death, am not thinking the truth.

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 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Calf-deep in the soothing water I indulge myself in the wishful vision. I am not unaware of what such daydreams signify, dreams of becoming an unthinking savage, of taking the cold road back to the capital, of groping my way out to the ruins in the desert, of returning to the confinement of my cell, of seeking out the barbarians and offering myself to them to use as they wish. Without exception they are dreams of ends: dreams not of how to live but of how to die. And everyone, I know, in that walled town sinking now into darkness (I hear the two thin trumpet calls that announce the closing of the gates) is similarly preoccupied. What has made it impossible for us to live in time like fish in the water, like birds in air, like children? It is the fault of Empire! Empire has created the time of history. Empire has located its existence not in the smooth recurrent spinning time of the cycle of the seasons but in the jagged time of rise and fall, of beginning and end, of catastrophe. Empire dooms itself to live in history and plot against history. 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. A mad vision yet a virulent one: I, wading in the ooze, am no less infected with it than the faithful Colonel Joll as he tracks the enemies of Empire through the boundless desert, sword unsheathed to cut down barbarian after barbarian until at last he finds and slays the one whose destiny it should be (or if not his then his son's or unborn grandson's) to climb the bronze gateway to the Summer Palace and topple the globe surmounted by the tiger rampant that symbolizes eternal domination, while his comrades below cheer and fire their muskets in the air.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Anyone who says that life matters less to an animal than it does to us has not held in his hands an animal fighting for its life. The whole of the being of the animal is thrown into that fight, without reserve. When you say that the fight lacks a dimension of intellectual or imaginative horror, I agree. It is not the mode of being animals to have an intellectual horror: their whole being is in the living flesh...I urge you to walk, flank to flank, beside the beast that is prodded down the chute to his executioner.

By Anonym 18 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Sólo es una cuestión de edad, de ciclos de deseo y de apatía de un cuerpo que lentamente se enfría y muere. Cuando era joven el simple olor de una mujer me excitaba: ahora solo la más dulce, la más joven, la más reciente tiene ese poder. Cualquier día de estos serán jovencitos.

By Anonym 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

The reason is that as far as I am concerned, what happened to me is a purely private matter. In another time, in another place it might be held to be a public matter. But in this place, in this time, it is not. It is my bussines, mine alone. 'This place being what?' 'This place being South Africa

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

If it is indeed impossible - or at least very difficult - to inhabit the consciousness of an animal, then in writing about animals there is a temptation to project upon them feelings and thoughts that may belong only to our own human mind and heart.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

The idea of writer as sage is pretty much dead today. I would certainly feel very uncomfortable in the role.

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 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

...the program of scientific experimentation that leads you to conclude that animals are imbeciles is profoundly anthropocentric. It values being able to find your way out of a sterile maze, ignoring the fact that if the researcher who designed the maze were to be parachuted into the jungles of Borneo, he or she would be dead of starvation in a week...If I as a human being were told that the standards by which animals are being measured in these experiments are human standards, I would be insulted.

By Anonym 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

The presentation scene itself we skip. It is not a good idea to interrupt the narrative too often, since storytelling works by lulling the reader or listener into a dreamlike state in which the time and space of the real world fade away, superseded by the time and space of the fiction. Breaking into the dream draws attention to the constructedness of the story, and plays havoc with the realist illusion. However, unless certain scenes are skipped over we will be here all afternoon. The skips are not part of the text, they are part of the performance.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Truth is not spoken in anger. Truth is spoken, if it ever comes to be spoken, in love. The gaze of love is not deluded. It sees what is best in the beloved even when what is best in the beloved finds it hard to emerge into the light.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Charakter ist Schicksal. Historie ist Gott.

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I have lived through an eventful year, yet understand no more of it than a babe in arms. Of all the people of this town I am the one least fitted to write a memorial. Better the blacksmith with his cries of rage and woe.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

All of which makes up a story I do not choose to tell. I choose not to tell it because to no one, not even to you, do I own proof that I am a substantial being with a substantial history in the world.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

In its conception the literature prize belongs to days when a writer could still be thought of as, by virtue of his or her occupation, a sage, someone with no institutional affiliations who could offer an authoritative word on our times as well as on our moral life.

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Geschichte lebt nicht, wenn man ihr keine Heimat im Bewusstsein gibt; sie ist eine Last, die kein freier Mensch zu tragen gezwungen werden kann.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I speak to the broken halves of all our selves and tell them to embrace, loving the worst in us equally with the best.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Where civilization entailed the corruption of barbarian virtues and the creation of dependent people, I decided, I was opposed to civilization.

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

In a world of chance is there a better and a worse? We yield to a stranger's embrace or give ourselves to the waves; for the blink of an eyelid our vigilance relaxes; we are asleep; and when we awake, we have lost the direction of our lives. What are these blinks of an eyelid, against which the only defence is an eternal and inhuman wakefulness? Might they not be the cracks and chinks through which another voice, other voices, speak in our lives? By what right do we close our ears to them?

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

To the last we have learned nothing. In all of us, deep down, there seems to be something granite and unteachable. No one truly believes, despite the hysteria in the streets that the world of tranquil certainties we were born into is about to be extinguished.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

For himself, then. For his idea of the world, a world in which men do not use shovels to beat corpses into a more convenient shape for processing.

By Anonym 14 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Long visits don't make for good friends.

By Anonym 16 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

I do believe that people can only be in love with one landscape in their lifetime. One can appreciate and enjoy many geographies, but there is only one that one feels in one’s bones.

By Anonym 15 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

But most of all, as summer slanted to an end, he was learning to love idleness, idleness no longer as stretches of freedom reclaimed by stealth here and there from involuntary labour, surreptitious thefts to be enjoyed sitting on his heels before a flowerbed with the fork dangling from his fingers, but as a yielding up of himself to time, to a time flowing slowly like oil from horizon to horizon over the face of the world, washing over his body, circulating in his armpits and his groin, stirring his eyelids. He was neither pleased nor displeased when there was work to do; it was all the same. He could lie all afternoon with his eyes open, staring at the corrugations in the roof-iron and the tracings of rust; his mind would not wander, he would see nothing but the iron, the lines would not transform themselves into pattern or fantasy; he was himself, lying in his own house, the rust was merely rust, all that was moving was time, bearing him onward in its flow.

By Anonym 13 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Denunciations of the manipulativeness of advertisers can unfortunately all too easily be turned on their heads into denunciations of the gullibility of consumers. Both are forms of scapegoating, neither accomplishes anything.

By Anonym 18 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Suicide, I had understood, is an act not of body against itself but of the will against the body

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

Being a father ... I can't help feeling that, by comparison with being a mother, being a father is a rather abstract business.

By Anonym 19 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

What more is required than a kind of stupid, insensitive doggedness, as lover, as writer, together with a readiness to fail and fail again?

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 shoes, cars, 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.

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 20 Sep

J. M. Coetzee

Without desire how is it possible to make a story?