Persons and Places: The Background of My Life


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Buy this book ~Jan 6, 2019 Books read in 2019


Perhaps, if a man’s bowels are treacherous, he cannot trust anything else. Dysentery removes all the confidence that the will has in itself: the alien, the irresistibly dissolving, force is too much within you.p. 28
There is a curious cruelty mixed sometimes with American shrewdness and humor. The sharp mind finds things queer, crooked, perverse; it puns about them; and it doesn't see why they shouldn't be expected and commanded to be quite other than they are; but all this without much hope of mending them, and a sardonic grin.pp. 87–88
More than once in my life I have crossed a desert in all that regards myself, my thoughts, or my happiness; so that when I look back over those years, I see objects, I see public events, I see persons and places, but I don't see myself. My inner life, as I recall it, seems to be concentrated in a few oases, in a few halting-places, Green Inns, or Sanctuaries, where the busy traveller stopped to rest, to think, and to be himself. I say the busy traveller, because those long stretches of spiritual emptiness were filled with daily actions and feelings, later in my case often with giving lectures and writing books: yet all was done under some mechanical stimulus, the college bell, the desk, the pen, or the chapter planned: old thoughts and old words flowing out duly from the reservoir, until the college bell rang again, and the water was turned off. Of myself in those years I have no recollection; it is as if I hadn't existed, or only as a mechanical sensorium and active apparatus, doing its work under my name.p. 151
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