Nor was it ever known whither the cold waters of Teiglin had taken her.


Barbey d’Aurevilly

Mais les Diaboliques ne sont point des diableries, ce sont des diaboliques: des histoires réelles de ce temps civilisé et si divin que, quand on s’avise de les écrire, il semble que ce soit le Diable qui ait dicté… Le Diable est comme Dieu. Le manichéisme qui est la souche de toutes les grandes hérésies du Moyen-âge, le manichéisme n’est pas si bête! Malebranche disait que Dieu se reconnaissait à l’emploi DES MOYENS LES PLUS. Le Diable aussi.

Anatole France - Historia de los pingüinos

-¿Por qué se preocupa de buscar documentos para componer su historia y no copia la más conocida, como es costumbre? Si ofrece usted un punto de vista nuevo, una idea original, si presenta hombres y sucesos a una luz desconocida, sorprenderá usted al lector, y al lector no le agradan las sorpresas, busca sólo en la Historia las tonterías
que ya conoce. Si trata usted de instruirle, sólo conseguirá humillarle y desagradarle; si contradice usted sus engaños, dirá que insulta sus creencias.

Los historiadores se copian los unos a los otros, con lo cual se ahorran molestias y evitan que los motejen por soberbios. Imítelos y no sea usted original. Un historiador original inspira siempre desconfianza, desprecio y el hastío de los lectores. ¿Supone usted que yo me vería honrado y enaltecido como lo estoy, si en mis libros de historia hubiera dicho algo nuevo? Y ¿qué son las novedades? ¡Impertinencias!

Entre tinieblas (Léon Bloy)

«Desearía mostrar cómo, antiguamente, todo cuanto era grande se hacía con medios minúsculos, mientras que lo que hacen hoy los hombres es siempre minúsculo, aunque lo hagan con grandes medios»

Wilde’s ‘The Critic as Artist’

After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own. Music always seems to me to produce that effect. It creates for one a past of which one has been ignorant, and fills one with a sense of sorrows that have been hidden from one’s tears. I can fancy a man who had led a perfectly commonplace life, hearing by chance some curious piece of music, and suddenly discovering that his soul, without his being conscious of it, had passed through terrible experiences, and known fearful joys, or wild romantic loves, or great renunciations.


… But I defy anyone to be thrown as I was among the Spanish working class … and not be struck by their essential decency; above all, their straightforwardness and generosity. A Spaniard’s generosity, in the ordinary sense of the word, is at times almost embarrassing. If you ask him for a cigarette he will force the whole packet upon you. And beyond this there is generosity in a deeper sense, a real largeness of spirit, which I have met with again and again in the most unpromising circumstances. Some of the journalists and other foreigners who travelled in Spain during the war have declared that in secret the Spaniards were bitterly jealous of foreign aid. All I can say is that I never observed anything of the kind. I remember that a few days before I left the barracks a group of men returned on leave from the front. They were talking excitedly about their experiences and were full of enthusiasm for some French troops who had been next to them at Huesca. The French were very brave, they said; adding enthusiastically: ‘Mas valientes que nosotros’ — ‘Braver than we are!’ Of course I demurred, whereupon they explained that the French knew more of the art of war — were more expert with bombs, machine-guns, and so forth. Yet the remark was significant. An Englishman would cut his hand off sooner than say a thing like that.

Every foreigner who served in the militia spent his first few weeks in learning to love the Spaniards and in being exasperated by certain of their characteristics. In the front line my own exasperation sometimes reached the pitch of fury. The Spaniards are good at many things, but not at making war. All foreigners alike are appalled by their inefficiency, above all their maddening unpunctuality. The one Spanish word that no foreigner can avoid learning is manana — ‘tomorrow’ (literally, ‘the morning’). Whenever it is conceivably possible, the business of today is put off until manana. This is so notorious that even the Spaniards themselves make jokes about it. In Spain nothing, from a meal to a battle, ever happens at the appointed time. As a general rule things happen too late, but just occasionally — just so that you shan’t even be able to depend on their happening late — they happen too early. A train which is due to leave at eight will normally leave at any time between nine and ten, but perhaps once a week, thanks to some private whim of the engine-driver, it leaves at half past seven. Such things can be a little trying. In theory I rather admire the Spaniards for not sharing our Northern time-neurosis; but unfortunately I share it myself.


Consumable pseudocyclical time is the time of the spectacle … The time appropriate to the consumption of images, the medium of all commodities, is at once the chosen field of operations of the mechanisms of the spectacle and the goal that these … hold up … as the locus and central representation of every individual act of consumption; as we know, modern society’s obsession with saving time, whether by means of faster transport or by means of powdered soup, has the positive result that the average American spends three to six hours daily watching television.

The social image of the consumption of time is for its part exclusively dominated by leisure time and vacations …  portrayed, like all spectacular commodities, at a distance, and as desirable by definition. This particular commodity is explicitly presented as a moment of authentic life whose cyclical return we are supposed to look forward to. Yet even in such special moments, ostensibly moments of life, the only thing being generated … is the spectacle … at a higher than usual level of intensity… what has been passed off as authentic life turns out to be merely a life more authentically spectacular.

La insoportable levedad del ser

Digamos, por tanto, que la idea del eterno retorno significa cierta perspectiva desde la cual las cosas aparecen de un modo distinto a como las conocemos: aparecen sin la circunstancia atenuante de su fugacidad. (…) ¿Cómo es posible condenar algo fugaz? El crepúsculo de la desaparición lo baña todo con la magia de la nostalgia; todo, incluida la guillotina.

No hace mucho me sorprendí a mí mismo con una sensación increíble: estaba hojeando un libro sobre Hitler  y al ver algunas de las fotografías me emocioné: me habían recordado el tiempo de mi infancia; la viví durante la guerra, algunos de mis parientes murieron en los campos de concentración de Hitler; pero ¿qué era su muerte en comparación con el hecho de que las fotografías de Hitler me habían recordado un tiempo pasado de mi vida, un tiempo que no volverá?

Esta reconciliación con Hitler demuestra la profunda perversión moral que va unida a un mundo basado esencialmente en la inexistencia del retorno, porque en ese mundo todo está perdonado de antemano y, por tanto, todo cínicamente permitido.

Graham Greene, ‘Monseñor Quijote’

- Sí. Quizá. Por supuesto, en España siempre se ha sabido que la mejor gente ha estado encarcelada algún tiempo. Es posible que nunca hubiésemos oído hablar de su gran antepasado si Cervantes no hubiera cumplido condena más de una vez. La cárcel proporciona mayor ocasión aún para pensar que un monasterio, donde los pobres diablos tienen que levantarse para rezar a las horas más atroces. En la cárcel nunca me despertaron antes de las seis, y de noche apagaban las luces normalmente a las nueve. Claro que era muy probable que los interrogatorios fueran penosos, pero tenían lugar a una hora razonable. Jamás durante la siesta.