Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
01. I have no heart, I’ll never love with my heart, perhaps never even with my senses. But my imagination is a wildly seething thing that swims in raging waters, always bubbling, hissing, wild and restless, and he spoke to my imagination, whirled it around still more wildly, fanned its flames into a sea of fire with his burning breath. –Emilie Mataja about Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
02. Everything seethed and clashed within me, and I grew by turns melancholy and then exuberant for no reason.
03. Genuine talent tends to frighten the common people, among whom I would include most writers and critics.
04. I love her passionately with a morbid intensity; madly as one can only love a woman who never responds to our love with anything but an eternally uniform, eternally calm, stony smile. I literally adore her.
05. In love, too, I am a dilettante who never got beyond the preparation, the first act.
06. From Goethe’s Faust: To Amor The pair of wings a fiction are/The arrows, they are naught but claws/The wreath conceals the little horns, For without any doubt he is/Like all the gods of ancient Greece/Only a devil in disguise.
07. One is either very polite to oneself or very rude.
08. ‘You look at love, and especially women,’ she began, ‘as something hostile, something against which you put up a defense, even if unsuccessfully. You feel that their power over you gives you a sensation of pleasurable torture, of pungent cruelty…’
09. I will live my own life as it pleases me. I am willing to do without your hypocritical respect; I prefer to be happy. … I, however, have no wish to live eternally. When with my last breath everything as fas as Wanda von Dunajew is concerned comes to an end here below, what does it profit me whether my dust goes into the formation of new beings?
10. I am yours for good or evil, choose. The destiny that lies concealed within my breast drives me on—demoniacally—relentlessly.
11. It is strange how every relation in life assumes a different face as soon as a new person enters.
12. I let my entire life pass before me. On the whole, it is rather a wretched affair—a few joys, an endless number of indifferent and worthless things, and between these an abundant harvest of pain, misery, fear, disappointment, shipwrecked hopes, afflictions, sorrow and grief.
13. …she even gave me a kiss, and her cold lips had the fresh frosty fragrance of a young autumnal rose which blossoms alone amid bare stalks and yellow leaves and upon whose calyx the first frost has hung tiny diamonds of ice.
Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins
01. Men live by embedding themselves in ongoing systems of illusion. Religion. Patriotism. Economics. Fashion. That sort of thing. If you wish to gain the favour of the two-legged elk, you must learn to fabricate as wholeheartedly as they do. Actually, by sabotaging their static illusions, we can sometimes help turn their stale deceptions into fresh possibilities for their [rock?] , but that’s probably a mission you’re neither interested in nor suited for. So, just lie to people any way you see fit and reap what benefits you can–but do bear in ind that you should never, ever lie to yourself.
02. At what point, it’s fair to ask, did snowflakes start believing their own publicity?
03. Spring has a way of erasing doubt. Violets, come April, no longer worry that their careers may be over. The miller’s son starts to believe [??] more that he can win the princess. The grass and the spinter alike toss aside their armour of frost.
04. Why would they fell trees but leave men standing? Trees are a damn sight more useful than people and everything in the world know that except people.
05. Religion is little more than a transaction in which troubled people trade their souls for temporary and wholly illusionary psychological comfort–the old give-it-up-in-order-to-save-it routine. Religions lead us to believe that the soul is the ultimate family jewel and that in return for our mindless obediance, they can secure it for us in their vaults, or at least insure it against fire and theft. They are mistaken.
06. ‘I couldn’t be here in spirit, so I came in person.’
07. This was not a spectral artifact summoned by his psyche to remind him that he had squandered his life, just as most of us, by refusing to wake up, squandered ours.
Voyage to the End of the Room by Tibor Fischer
01. Being at the top of the house, the light’s always good and the walls are old and solid enough to limit my neighbours’ sonic invasions, and, as I’m two storeys up and muffled by trees (thoughtfully planted a hundred years ago and not yet entirely destroyed by the fumes and shenanigans of motorists)… In the two weeks of sunshine that pass for summer in this country I have the luxury of a roof terrace…