Tag Archives: Literature

The Improbability of Success

Years and years ago I read GK Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. There was one bit in there that’s stuck with me since. I find that Chesterton tries a little too hard with language, but that does not remove the quality of some of the ideas that his thoughts can generate:

The rare, strange thing is to hit the mark; the gross, obvious thing is to miss it. We feel it is epical when man with one wild arrow strikes a distant bird. Is it not also epical when man with one wild engine strikes a distant station? Chaos is dull; because in chaos the train might indeed go anywhere, to Baker Street or to Bagdad. But man is a magician, and his whole magic is in this, that he does say Victoria, and lo! it is Victoria. (…) “I tell you,” went on Syme with passion, “that every time a train comes in I feel that it has broken past batteries of besiegers, and that man has won a battle against chaos. You say contemptuously that when one has left Sloane Square one must come to Victoria. I say that one might do a thousand things instead, and that whenever I really come there I have the sense of hairbreadth escape. And when I hear the guard shout out the word ‘Victoria,’ it is not an unmeaning word. It is to me the cry of a herald announcing conquest. It is to me indeed ‘Victoria’; it is the victory of Adam.”

G.K. Chesterton, “The Man Who Was Thursday

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Posted by on February 5, 2011 in Cars, Fun, General, Personal

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Censorship in Literature

Noun. 1: an official who examines books, films, news, etc. that are about to be published and suppresses any parts that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

An edition of Huckleberry Finn will soon be issued in censored format. The ‘N’ word is dropped. The quick rebuke by many is of drawing a parallel between this and a revisionist view of history. This is a little stickier, however, than simply pretending that something (like racism) didn’t happen, that people were not like that, that we need to forget that ‘dark chapter’ of ‘our’ history.

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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in General

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