Sunday, November 8, 2015

Edith Wharton--The Age of Innocence

Quotes from The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I had no idea until somewhere in the reading process that the author was actually female. lol

It was a winter evening of transparent clearness, with an innocent young moon above the house-tops (p. 86).

the Family Physician annoyed with a patient whose symptoms refuse to be classified. (p. 83).

Does no one want to know the truth here, Mr. Archer? The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!" (p. 70).

from farther wounding herself in her mad plunges against fate. (p. 86).

accepted them as part of the structure of his universe. He knew that there were societies where painters and poets and novelists and men of science, and even great actors, were as sought after as Dukes; (p. 92).

wondering if it were lightness or dissimulation that enabled her to touch so easily on the past at the very moment when she was risking her reputation in order to break with it. (p. 95).

plunged out into the winter night bursting with the belated eloquence of the inarticulate. (p. 102). (Wow ... beautiful!)

over many of them the green mould of the perfunctory was already perceptibly spreading. (p. 113).

what would become of this narrow margin of life in which his real experiences were lived? (p. 113).

whose horizon was bounded by the Battery and the Central Park. How should any one coming from a wider world not feel the difference and be attracted by it? (p. 124).

the thought that a barrier of words should drop between them again. (p. 152).

too intelligent to be the slave of such absurd superstitions. (p. 153).

"It's their armour," he thought, "their defence against the unknown, and their defiance of it." (p. 178).

this eager impecunious young man who had fared so richly in his poverty. (p. 180).

What if "niceness" carried to that supreme degree were only a negation, the curtain dropped before an emptiness? (p. 191).

it was the same world after all, though he had such a queer sense of having slipped through the meshes of time and space. (p. 205).

so chained to their separate destinies that they might as well have been half the world apart. (p. 219).

she said, as if it were something visible and measurable, like a crack in a house. (p. 232)

sank back into the thought (p. 274)

There was nothing unknown or unfamiliar in the path he was presumably to tread (p. 278).

it made the righteous reprobation of New York seem like a passing by on the other side. (p. 280).

mouldered in unvisited loneliness. (p. 281).

Its glass shelves were crowded with small broken objects— hardly recognisable domestic utensils, ornaments and personal trifles— made of glass, of clay, of discoloured bronze and other time-blurred substances ... after a while nothing matters ... any more than these little things, that used to be necessary and important to forgotten people, and now have to be guessed at under a magnifying glass and labelled: 'Use unknown.'" (p. 282).

suffer the stupid law of change. (p. 282)

walked listlessly through the room like a ghost stalking through a necropolis. (p. 284)

Conformity to the discipline of a small society had become almost his second nature. (p. 295)

looking over at her as if the slight distance between them were an unbridgeable abyss. (p. 297)

in a state of odd imponderability (p. 307)

He guessed himself to have been, for months, the centre of countless silently observing eyes and patiently listening ears; he understood that, by means as yet unknown to him, the separation between himself and the partner of his guilt had been achieved, and that now the whole tribe had rallied about his wife on the tacit assumption that nobody knew anything, or had ever imagined anything, and that the occasion of the entertainment was simply May Archer's natural desire to take an affectionate leave of her friend and cousin. (p. 308) (This and some following verses are perfectly psychotic!)

It was the old New York way of taking life "without effusion of blood": the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than "scenes," except the behaviour of those who gave rise to them. (p. 308)

The talk swept past Archer like some senseless river running and running because it did not know enough to stop. (p. 311)

so the evening swept on, running and running like a senseless river that did not know how to stop. (p. 311)

Now, as he reviewed his past, he saw into what a deep rut he had sunk. (p. 323)

There are moments when a man's imagination, so easily subdued to what it lives in, suddenly rises above its daily level, and surveys the long windings of destiny. (p. 323)

in the odour of prosperity (p. 324)

"The difference is that these young people take it for granted that they're going to get whatever they want, and that we almost always took it for granted that we shouldn't. (pp. 324-325)

it had never been possible to inculcate in him even the rudiments of reserve. (pp. 326-327)

You just sat and watched each other, and guessed at what was going on underneath. A deaf-and-dumb asylum  (p. 327)

He had to deal all at once with the packed regrets and stifled memories of an inarticulate lifetime. (p. 327)

only a pathetic instance of vain frustration, of wasted forces. (p. 328)

while the stream of life rolled by.... (p. 328)

The boy was not insensitive, he knew; but he had the facility and self-confidence that came of looking at fate not as a master but as an equal. (p. 329)

The day was fading into a soft sun-shot haze, pricked here and there by a yellow electric light (p. 330)

"It's more real to me here than if I went up," (p. 332) (Too much reality is not what people want. lol)