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The valley became barer, bleaker, progressively less inviting. Yet even here, in its upper reaches, it had a certain beauty; not its former beauty of woods and shades and gentle colours; but a bold, bizarre beauty; a kaleidoscope of strange pigments and exciting, unexpected contrasts. Soon the valley slopes fanned out, exposing new vistas: wider horizons: the whole range of the hills, startlingly detailed in the clear, hazeless air. Dead ahead there swelled up a smooth, symmetrical hummock, its slopes, flecked with mica, reflecting the sun like a massed array of heliographs. To the left rose a rugged mound of granite, smooth and scalloped as a magnified Dartmoor tor. While to the right towered a fantastic pyramid of wine-veined quartz: alternate layers of crimson, grey, and black.
The children moved slowly forward; dwarfed by the immensity of the hills.
James Vance Marshall, Walkabout
Erich Fromm has convincingly listed man’s needs as an object of devotion, an ability to relate, a desire for unity and rootedness, the wish to be effective, and the need for stimulation. Every one of these needs may be answered in a positive or a negative way. The object of devotion may be God, love, and truth; or it may be diverted into veneration of perverse idols. The need for relatedness may be satisfied by kindness and altruism; or by dependence and destructiveness. One may find rootedness and unity in brotherly co-operation and mystical experience; or one may find it in drunkenness, drug addiction, and depersonalisation.
Brian Masters, The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer
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Languages do not develop, progess, decay, evolve, or act according to any of the metaphors which imply a specific endpoint and level of excellence. They simply change, as society changes. If a language dies out, it does so because its status alters in society, as other cultures and languages take over its role: it does not die because it has ‘got too old’, or ‘become too complicated’, as is sometimes maintained. Nor, when languages change, do they move in a predetermined direction.
David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language
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If a book is not alive in the writer’s mind, it is as dead as year-old horseshit even if words continue to march across the page.
People generally don’t like to admit that you can love people you don’t like, but you can. It’s not ideal, in fact it’s confusing and painful, but I suspect that it happens a lot. That’s why unhappy families can hold together for years and years. You can even love people who are cruel to you, and so there are women who love violent men. And a terrible lie grew out of this – that it’s the violence they love, and not the person who inflicts it. Such women love these men in spite of the cruelty, never because of it.
Deirdre Madden, Remembering Light and Stone
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The swell increased long before a darkness gathered in the north. ‘Mr Seymour,’ said Jack, ‘tarpaulins and battens for the hatchways. When it comes, it will blow across the sea.’
It came, a curved white line racing across the sea with inconceivable rapidity, a mile in front of the darkness. Just before it reached them the Boadicea’s close-reefed topsails sagged, losing all their roundness; then a tearing wall of air and water ripped them from their bolt-tops with an enormous shrieking howl. The ship was on her beam-ends, the darkness was upon them and the known world dissolved in a vast omnipresent noise. Air and water were intermingled; there was no surface to the sea; the sky vanished; and the distinction between up and down disappeared.
Patrick O’Brian, The Mauritius Command
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