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Quotes - November 2016

Writing

Quotes - November 2016

Alexei Muravsky

“Oliver Twist’s ninth birthday found him a pale thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature, and decidedly small in circumference. But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver’s breast: it had had plenty of room to expand, thanks to the spare diet of the establishment; and perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed his having any ninth birthday at all.”

- Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist


“Luria said of Zazetsky that he had entirely lost his capacity to play games but that his ‘vivid imagination’ was unimpaired. Zazetsky and Dr. P lived in different worlds which were mirror images of each other. But the saddest difference between them was that Zazetsky, as Luria said, ‘fought to regain his lost faculties with the indomitable tenacity of the damned,’ whereas Dr. P was not fighting, did not know what was lost. But who was more tragic, or who was more damned – the man who knew it, or the man who did not?”

- Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something because it is always before one’s eyes.) The real foundations of his enquiry do not strike a man at all.”

- Wittgenstein, via The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales


“Barnsley argues that these kind of skewed age distributions exist whenever three things happen: selection, streaming, and differentiated experience. If you make a decision about who is good and who is not good at an early age; if you separate the ‘talented’ from the ‘untalented’; and if you provide the ‘talented’ with a superior experience, then you’re going to end up giving a huge advantage to the small group of people closest to the cutoff date.”

- Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers


“Later, Peter gave an even more succinct appraisal of what happened to him on the Pruth: ‘My ‘good fortune’ consisted in having received only fifty blows when I was condemned to receive a hundred.’”

- Robert K. Massie, Peter the Great: His Life and World


“A poem is a composition written for performance by the human voice. What your eye sees on the page is the composer’s verbal score, waiting for your voice to bring it alive as you read it aloud or hear it in your mind’s ear. Unlike your reading of a newspaper, the best reading – that is to say, the most satisfying reading – of a poem involves a simultaneous engagement of eye and ear: the eye attentive not only to the meaning of words, but to the grouping and spacing of sounds… What a poem says or means is the result of how it is said, a fact that poets are often at pains to emphasize. ‘All my life,’ said W. H. Auden, ‘I have been more interested in technique than anything else.’ And T. S. Eliot claimed that ‘the conscious problems with which one is concerned in the actual writing are more those of quasi-musical nature, in the arrangement of metric and pattern, than of conscious exposition of ideas.’”

- Margaret Ferguson, Mary Jo Salter, & Jon Stallworthy, The Norton Anthology of Poetry 5th Edition


“The layout and design of the workplace may be an important determinant of people’s impressions of the company or organization. The use of a desk as a ‘barrier’ between the office occupant and a visitor can communicate a desire for physical and psychological distance, as well as status differences. Joiner (1971) observed that high status office occupants were more likely to use a closed desk arrangement (the desk sits between the visitor and the office occupant) rather than an open placement, (in which the desk is placed against the wall). Furthermore, desk arrangement can also have implications for the pleasantness of the interaction and the visitor’s level of comfort. According to Zweigenhaft (1976), seating arranged at right angles is perceived ass facilitating cooperation and affiliation. In one investigation of photos of reception areas, organizations judged by students and executives as the most considerate and likeable had upholstered couches and chairs at right angles and prominently displayed floral arrangements. Firms rated as moderately considerate had four chairs surrounding a coffee table, contemporary artwork, and either one or three plants. Finally, the firms judged least considerate lacked artwork and had chairs placed directly facing one another across a coffee table (Ornstein, 1992).”

- Paul A. Bell et. al, Environmental Psychology 5th Edition


“Contemporary sociologists argue that stories mobilize social movements, and stories send nations off to war. In Dante’s account as well as that of sociology, a good life requires living well with stories. When life goes badly, a story is often behind that too.”

- Arthur Frank, Excerpts from ‘Letting Stories Breathe’ via EN 1102 – Literature and Health @ York University


“In every age the battle of the sexes is largely a battle over sex.”

- Donald Symons, 1979, via Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind 5th Edition

“…relatively concealed ovulation itself may have evolved to facilitate long-term committed mating.”

- David M. Buss, Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind 5th Edition


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