Sep. 3rd, 2011


It could be sheer momentum, but it's been my bedside reading for a couple of weeks now. Lytton Strachey writes unexpected sentences, which might be why I've kept on reading.

The Oxford Movement:
  • The great bulk of the clergy walked calmly along the smooth road of ordinary duty.
  • what Newman describes as his 'high severe idea of the intrinsic excellence of Virginity'
  • An artist who has embalmed the poignant history of an intensely human spirit in the magical spices of words.
  • The new strange notion of taking Christianity literally was delightful to earnest minds; but it was also alarming. Really to mean every word you said, when you repeated the Athanasian Creed!
  • When one had supposed that one was nothing but a clergyman, that one might, after all, be something else—one might be a priest.
  • Unfortunately, however, the possibilities of truth and falsehood depend upon other things besides sincerity. A man may be of a scrupulous and impeccable honesty, and yet his respect for the truth— it cannot be denied— may be insufficient. He may be, like the lunatic, the lover, and the poet, 'of imagination all compact'; he may be blessed, or cursed, with one of those 'seething brains', one of those 'shaping fanatasies' that 'apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends'.
  • Yet there is this remarkable fact that liquefactions of blood are common at Naples- -and, unless it is irreverent to the Great Author of Miracles to be obstinate in the inquiry, the question certainly rises whether there is something in the air.
  • ...a young man who combined an extraordinary aptitude for a priori reasoning with a passionate devotion to Opera Bouffe.
  • he suddenly noticed that Newman had changed his trousers, and that the colour of the pair which he was now wearing was grey. At the earliest moment, the emissary rushed back post-haste to Dr. Wiseman. 'All is well,' he exclaimed; 'Newman no longer considers that he is in Anglican orders."
  • The Oxford Movement was now ended. The University breathed such a sigh of relief as usually follows the difficult expulsion of a hard piece of matter from a living organism.
__ Human beings are too important to be treated as mere symptoms of the past.

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