[personal profile] fiefoe
The 小蝌蚪找爸爸 part. The journey is harrowing at times but ends sweetly and fittingly.
  • but I thought I could safely point out more abstruse errors of fact, and this would be the type of thing I could sign Steven aged 11. It was hard to know how simply I should put the selfish gene theory: since he hadn’t understood it I didn’t want to make the explanation complicated, but I thought it would sound obnoxious if I stuck to words of one syllable.
  • I said I liked Amundsen and Scott and I liked King Solomon’s Mines and I liked everything by Dumas and I liked The Bad Seed and The Hound of the Baskervilles and I liked The Name of the Rose but the Italian was rather difficult.
  • Though of course the Icelandic words don’t really have the same register as English words of Anglo-Saxon derivation because they’re not in opposition to a register of Latinate vocabulary. He said: You know Icelandic?
  • It was not hard to imagine a world where my body stood in this room with something else inside it. If I said something he would see that other world.
  • All right, said Sib. Just remember that you are perfect, whatever your father may be. It may be that other people need a sensible father more. We’re not talking about an exhaustible resource, I said.
  • the term originally fixed in the undertaker’s mind. He that runs against Time, has an antagonist not subject to casualities.
  • abstract nouns would have to be turned into clauses, she digressed to explain that Lytton Strachey on Johnson on the Poets, on the other hand, was the type of thing that was very easy to turn into Latin,
  • HC had none of the Socratic scruples that plagued RD, but he carried sportsmanship to so fanatical an extreme that it had a very similar effect
  • He said: You don’t actually ARGUE all the way THROUGH you decide the endgame you want to play you incorporate an opening which might lead to it by REFERENCE as it might be Black played an unusual version of the Queen’s Indian you incorporate the middle game largely by REFERENCE
  • Now Fraenkel once said in a class that a scholar should be able to look at any word in a passage and instantly think of another passage where it occurred; HC was unperturbed by this remark, but RD took it to heart, and the longer he worked the more any text was like a pack of icebergs each word a snowy peak with a huge frozen mass of cross-references beneath the surface. So that now in addition to Socratic reservations on answering any question was added a conviction that in any linguistic analysis a real scholar would haul up the whole iceberg.
  • RD said: I can’t do this any more. I can’t do this to PHILOSOPHY. I can’t write some piece of rubbish in half an hour and say they MADE me do it. HC said: Opening middle game endgame.
  • English as a foreign language. RD was rather tired. Everyone can imagine a life’s regret for a moment of cowardice, but you could just as easily regret a moment’s courage;
  • The written language was constructed of ideograms compatible with many spoken realisations of the words & he felt that people spoke here any way they liked, while the written language flew on kites overhead. He felt at last free of philology.
  • The sky had cleared above, as if a solution of air and fine rain had separated until the heavier of the two had silted the valley in thick white mist leaving the clear pure air above.
  • HC would never back down. He was a linguist, and therefore he had pushed the bounds of obstinacy well beyond anything that is conceivable to other men.
  • Anything will have lift if its front edge is higher than its back, and it will have more if the top surface area is greater than the bottom. His idea was that if you made a pair of silk wings open at the front and cut the bottom shorter than the top the air rushing in would inflate them and the resultant taut surface would produce lift.
  • There was light in the upper air, but as soon as he reached the ground the light was gone. The sun was a bloody ball on the horizon.
  • he would find that if he asked a question of a man, no matter how slim or even non-existent the knowledge might be on which an answer might be given, it would always be given as a statement of fact—whereas you might ask a woman whether it was raining outside and she would commit herself only to saying that it might be so.
  • I was surprised by the shining wooden floors and thick rugs and stuffed sofas. An interesting form of the subjunctive is not something you can bring back as a trophy but still this was not what I had expected.
  • I plan to learn to work as a member of a team when the other members of the team are out of their teens.
  • I stumbled down the street. He had not killed to learn those moodless verbs and uninflected nouns, but he had brought a slave into existence for their sake.
Arch:  mischievous, teasing, knowing, playful, roguish, impish, cheeky, tongue-in-cheek;
  • Sorabji always liked to say that the unfortunate consul had travelled hundreds of miles into the interior to rescue a British citizen, only to find Gunga Din. It was true that the loincloth had come from Gieves & Hawkes, but this was not something you’d notice on a casual inspection.
  • That boy, said Sorabji very gravely, can add all the numbers between 1 and 500 in 20 seconds. The consul said: Hm. Sorabji was a Zoroastrian but he was not much of a believer, and he had been to chapel a lot at school but he believed even less in that, and yet he found himself saying Please Please Please Please. Please let him not know about Gauss please please please please please.
  • Her brother’s other friends were unfailingly charming, so that she could not talk to one without instantly afterwards taking out a horse and setting it at a six-foot fence. She had never met a man who could open his mouth without imperilling the life of a horse.
  • The first time he ran away was at night. He looked up at the Northern sky; it was like going from a Bond Street jeweller to a street trader hawking chips of glass on cheap velvet.
  • The whole time he was saying it, even though he was saying it seriously, he would suddenly break into a smile as if he had been saving the smile for the son he had always wanted and never had.
  • when you get right down to it you can’t beat the religious for sheer wanton contempt for Creator and Creation alike
  • It seemed to me that things were easier in the days when I just had Val Peters to worry about. He had his faults. Mixing up DNA and RNA. Dabbling in sexual tourism. One could go on. But no one would ever blame me for having a father like that - he just came that way.
  • I thought suddenly that it was stupid to be so sentimental. What we needed was not a hero to worship but money. If we had money we could go anywhere. Give us the money and we would be the heroes.
  • Journey into Danger! was out so I got Half Mile Down instead.
  • It was of an indefinable translucent blue quite unlike anything I have ever seen in the upper world, and it excited our optic nerves in a most confusing manner. We kept thinking and calling it brilliant, and again and again I picked up a book to read the type, only to find that I could not tell the difference between a blank page and a coloured plate. I brought all my logic to bear, I put out of mind the excitement of our position in watery space and tried to think sanely of comparative colour, and I failed utterly. I flashed on the search-light, which seemed the yellowest thing I have ever seen, and let it soak into my eyes, yet the moment it was switched off, it was like the long vanished sunlight—it was as though it had never been—and the blueness of the blue, both outside and inside our sphere, seemed to pass materially through the eye into our very beings. This is all very unscientific; quite worthy of being jeered at by optician or physicist; but there it was … I think we both experienced a wholly new kind of mental reception of colour impression.
  • that might be true up to a point. But in the capsule you were inside a pocket of air. What it felt like was being in a pocket of blue light—light that was blue the way water is wet.
  • Looking for a father had turned out to be an unexpectedly high-risk activity. Stand behind the door, Kambei tells Katsushiro. Bring down the stick as hard as you can, it will be good training for you. Any more training and I might not live to see 12.
  • I knew what she was thinking anyway. The silence stretched out, for my mother was debating inwardly the right of one rational being to exercise arbitrary authority over another rational being on the ground of seniority.
  • You could say it to me because it wasn’t true? he said. I see! He saw it in a single second. He laughed suddenly. But this is marvellous!
  • Life is such a chancy business, you may lose everything you have at any moment—if a stroke of luck can rob you of whatever it is you live by, where does that leave you?
  • We’re such cowards in front of a piece of paper these days—my mother was an Egyptian, and my father was from Hungary, both countries with a particularly impressive tradition of bureaucracy, and it gave me an indescribable frisson to cock a snook at the official channels.
  • (At a movie:) suitable moment at which to place your arm around the shoulders of your companion and kiss her. You cannot? No more could I. After half an hour, no suitable moment presenting itself, I chose an unsuitable moment—I was rebuked. With nothing to distract me, my mind returned with ever greater foreboding to my partner, at that very moment imbibing pernicious heresy from the lips of our fellow club members.
  • She’s not really pretty, I said. She’s beautiful. When she’s excited. When she’s bored she looks like someone who’s got two weeks to live.
  • would have liked to hear him talk this way about anything, as if you could be impervious to sorrow just by being a man.
  • When you play bridge with beginners—when you try to help them out—you give them some general rules to go by. Then they follow the rule and something goes wrong. But if you’d had their hand you wouldn’t have played the thing you told them to play, because you’d have seen all the reasons the rule did not apply... People who generalise about people are dismissed as superficial. It’s only when you’ve known large numbers of people that you can spot the unusual ones—when you look at each one as if you’d never seen one before, they all look alike.
  • I thought that I was beginning to get the hang of this. I had started by picking the wrong kind of father, but now I knew what to look for I could build up a collection of 20 or so. I felt ashamed, really ashamed of all the years I’d spent trying to identify the father who happened to be mine, instead of simply claiming the best on offer.
  • He said even if you weren’t interested in music wouldn’t the idea that things could be different— He stopped by the piano. He said But actually people don’t really like a piece of music until they’re used to it.
  • But we don’t live in a society where every schoolchild has Korner’s The Pleasures of Counting, or Steiner’s The Chemistry Maths Book, where every library has a copy of Lang’s Astrophysical Formulae
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