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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Great Literary Quotes
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-22-2013 10:10 PM
dacap06
Re: Great Literary Quotes

H. G. Wells is adept at painting word pictures in his readers' heads. Yet his writing is plain and straightforward, making it accessible to those with minimal vocabulary and mediocre reading skills. Here's the Wells quote I promised, along with a little of my own expository writing. Visualize what he describes.

The very British Herbert George Wells (1866 – 1946) wrote and published The Time Machine in 1895 when he was not yet even 30. It was his first novel and his first science fiction book. With it he began the creation of many of the themes of modern science fiction. He went on to publish The Island of Doctor Moreau in 1896, The Invisible Man in 1897, The War of the Worlds in 1898, both When the Sleeper Wakes and Tales of Space and Time in 1899, The First Men in the Moon in 1901, and The Food of the Gods in 1904.

Interestingly, Wells did not think of himself as a science fiction author. He considered himself a sociologist, journalist, novelist, and historian. His purpose in writing all his published works was social commentary. He was a prolific writer and published regularly throughout his life. Only this early handful of his many works are science fiction. Like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Wells' science fiction is always a ripping good story when taken literally but works even better when not, for within them he challenged the thinking of his day and society's views of itself. His contemporaries undoubtedly found his books hard to put down and his views hard to accept.
The thing the Time Traveller held in his hand was a glittering metallic framework, scarcely larger than a small clock, and very delicately made. There was ivory in it, and some transparent crystalline substance. And now I must be explicit, for this that follows -- unless his explanation is to be accepted -- is an absolutely unaccountable thing. He took one of the small octagonal tables that were scattered about the room, and set it in front of the fire, with two legs on the hearthrug. On this table he placed the mechanism. Then he drew up a chair, and sat down. The only other object on the table was a small shaded lamp, the bright light of which fell upon the model. There were also perhaps a dozen candles about, two in brass candlesticks upon the mantel and several in sconces, so that the room was brilliantly illuminated. I sat in a low arm-chair nearest the fire, and I drew this forward so as to be almost between the Time Traveller and the fireplace. Filby sat behind him, looking over his shoulder. The Medical Man and the Provincial Mayor watched him in profile from the right, the Psychologist from the left. The Very Young Man stood behind the Psychologist. We were all on the alert. It appears incredible to me that any kind of trick, however subtly conceived and however adroitly done, could have been played upon us under these conditions.

The Time Traveller looked at us, and then at the mechanism.

'Well?' said the Psychologist.

'This little affair,' said the Time Traveller, resting his elbows upon the table and pressing his hands together above the apparatus, 'is only a model. It is my plan for a machine to travel through time. You will notice that it looks singularly askew, and that there is an odd twinkling appearance about this bar, as though it was in some way unreal.' He pointed to the part with his finger. 'Also, here is one little white lever, and here is another.'

The Medical Man got up out of his chair and peered into the thing. 'It's beautifully made,' he said.

'It took two years to make,' retorted the Time Traveller. Then, when we had all imitated the action of the Medical Man, he said: 'Now I want you clearly to understand that this lever, being pressed over, sends the machine gliding into the future, and this other reverses the motion. This saddle represents the seat of a time traveller. Presently I am going to press the lever, and off the machine will go. It will vanish, pass into future Time, and disappear. Have a good look at the thing. Look at the table too, and satisfy yourselves there is no trickery. I don't want to waste this model, and then be told I'm a quack.'
Now, make sure you got your mental picture right. London houses of the period had not yet been electrified. All lighting was done with gas lights on the walls and candles in sconces, candelabra, and lamps. With that in mind, do you still think of the room as brilliantly lighted? How did you visualize the time machine model? It's description is purposely a little vague. Like he did with the people, the author encourages us to project our desires onto the model. If your mental image of the room, people, and objects changed when you read this paragraph, go back and reread the passage, paying careful attention, and work at building the picture in your mind.
01-22-2013 09:40 PM
dacap06
Re: Great Literary Quotes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Having two English teachers in the family, I've heard the other side. Parents are the problem. The schools are constantly challenged by Parents who complain that their kids get too much homework or a teacher made little Johnny feel badly because he didn't do his homework. They take it right up to the Superintendent. Combine that with the policy not to leave any kids back that don't perform and you have a real dumbing down. Parents, as a generalization, have lowered expectation for their kids.
I certainly agree, it plays a part. There is plenty of blame to spread around. But regardless of the causes the effect is the same - a lowering of standards.
01-22-2013 03:51 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Great Literary Quotes

Quote:
Originally Posted by dacap06 View Post
...I blame the poor state of English in the USA on lowering educational standards...
Having two English teachers in the family, I've heard the other side. Parents are the problem. The schools are constantly challenged by Parents who complain that their kids get too much homework or a teacher made little Johnny feel badly because he didn't do his homework. They take it right up to the Superintendent. Combine that with the policy not to leave any kids back that don't perform and you have a real dumbing down. Parents, as a generalization, have lowered expectation for their kids.
01-22-2013 08:30 AM
dacap06
Re: Great Literary Quotes

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
Blame on the new immigrants and texting
No, that isn't it. I have been very impressed with well educated immigrants. A friend of mine was educated in Berlin in the '70s and speaks better English that most natives. She is a holy terror at Scrabble!

I blame the poor state of English in the USA on lowering educational standards. Some blame that on "no child left behind," whose solution to bringing more people up to the standard was to lower the standard. But that's not it. The trend started in the mid '60s with the move away from traditional teaching methods.

As for amazing writing, I point to such writers as H. G. Wells, who wrote over a hundred books on social criticisms. I'll try to add a quote from him later.
01-22-2013 01:09 AM
blowinstink
Re: Great Literary Quotes

With props to John Kretschmer who I first saw reference this one (and who has a great ear for verse):

North Sea off Carnoustie

You know it by the northern look of the shore,
by salt worried faces,
an absence of trees, an abundance of lighthouses.
It’s a serious ocean.

Along marram-scarred, sand-bitten margins
wired roofs straggle out to where
a cold little holiday fair
has floated in and pitched itself
safely near the prairie of a golf course.
Coloured lights have sunk deep into the solid wind,
but all they’ve caught is a pair of lovers
and three silly boys.
everyone else has a dog,
Or a room to get to.

The smells are of fish and of sewage and cut grass.
Oystercatchers, doubtful of habitation,
clamour weep, weep, weep, as they fuss over
scummy black rocks the tide leaves for them.

The sea is as near as we come to another world.

But there in your stony and windswept garden
a blackbird is confirming the grip of the land.
You, you, he murmurs, dark purple in his voice.

And now in far quarters of the horizon
lighthouses are awake, sending messages –
invitations to the landlocked,
warnings to the experienced,
but to anyone returning from the planet ocean,
candles in the windows of a safe earth.
01-22-2013 12:52 AM
Tempest
Re: Great Literary Quotes

Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.
01-22-2013 12:49 AM
jackdale
Re: Great Literary Quotes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
I'm still working on becoming a real sailor.. but I'll take a stab..since my vessel bears the name.

Bosun, or did you want the old english for Boatswain?

Carl Brashear, the navy master diver who inspired "Men of Honor" was a Boatswains mate. My brother (USN) met him in a Navy Hospital.


I read Brave New World in one night after learning the origin of the title.

Prospero's monologue is among the best of the English language.

Quote:
Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint. Now, ’tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardoned the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell,
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
I first saw the play when I was in grade 8. It was magic.
01-22-2013 12:24 AM
Tempest
Re: Great Literary Quotes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
The Tempest is my favourite play for many reasons. Only real sailors know how to pronounce the first word. Most do not know how to spell it.

Sent from my SGH-I747M using Tapatalk 2

I'm still working on becoming a real sailor.. but I'll take a stab..since my vessel bears the name.

Bosun, or did you want the old english for Boatswain?

Carl Brashear, the navy master diver who inspired "Men of Honor" was a Boatswains mate. My brother (USN) met him in a Navy Hospital.
01-21-2013 10:29 PM
JonEisberg
Re: Great Literary Quotes

My all-time favorite...

Quote:

If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. If it happens to be an auxiliary cruising boat, it is without question the most compact and ingenious arrangement for living ever devised by the restless mind of man--a home that is stable without being stationary, shaped less like a box than like a fish or a girl, and in which the homeowner can remove his daily affairs as far from shore as he has the nerve to take them, close hauled or running free--parlor, bedroom, and bath, suspended and alive.

E. B. White
01-21-2013 10:03 PM
Jiminri
Re: Great Literary Quotes

I love the following passage from Geoffrey Wolfe's "The Hard Way Around - The Passages of Joshua Slocum." Wolfe is writing about Slocum's circumstances before Slocum made history by (re-)building the Spray and making the first solo circumnavigation. I figure if Slocum could rise above these circumstances, maybe there is hope for some of my dreams too.

"The tally thus far for Joshua Slocum at the age of forty-five: He had lost to death three infant children and his first wife. He had lost to shipwreck two clippers, been charged with the cruel imprisonment of one crew member and the murder of another. His second wife, Hettie, in sympathy with that seasick sailor of the Odyssey, wished to flee so far inland that local citizens would recognize the purpose of an oar. He was broke. The age of sail had ended. The captain was, that is, entirely at sea."
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