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2020

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Jan 2020

1st January

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,--
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene,--one step enough for me.

John Henry Newman, Lead, Kindly Light (1833)

8th January

He said that, by God, D.H. Lawrence was right when had said that there must be a dumb, dark, dull, bitter belly-tension between a man and a woman, and how else could this be achieved save in the long monotony of marriage? As for Rennet, she accepted him at once and was perfectly happy choosing saucepans.

Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm (1932)

15th January

It's infuriating to think how coming-of-age-novels about the feminine experience are read and dismissed as chick-lit or school-girl books or YA, etc.... As if the female coming -of-age experience is somehow more frivolous or less rending than the male one. And how these works are seldom read as existential novels about girls who want to realize themselves, who want to be artists, and the desire not to have their future decided for them.

Kate Zambreno, Heroines (2012)

22nd January

Dorinda, like so many vital women, had been full of beans as a girl, had then gone into a dreaming sleep for many years, disguised as sex object, mother, hostess, housewife, and had only now resurrected herself. Kate believed in born-again women, and Dorinda was a rare and wonderful example.

Amanda Cross, The Players Come Again (1990)

29th January

Theoretically, Laura was perfectly well aware that her husband loved her, and was solicitous for her welfare, but actually, he said so little about it, and that little so very seldom, that she was apt to receive any demonstration from him in touched astonishment.

EM Delafield, The Way Things Are (1927)

Feb 2020

5th February

[W]hen the interdependence of women is perceived as a threat to the dependence of women on men and the childbearing, child-rearing, family-serving, man-serving role assigned to women, it's easy to declare that it simply doesn't exist.... The idea of female independence and interdependence is met with scoffing hatred by both men and women who see themselves as benefitting from male dominance.

Ursula K Le Guin, 'A Band of Brothers, a Stream of Sisters' (November 2010), in No Time to Spare: Thinking about What Matters (2017)

12th February

I was young. I thought in terms of abstract principle. I hadn't learned that there are times, crucial times, when you find yourself doing in good faith something you have scorned in others on principle. The act sneaks into your life like an infiltrator, confounding, unnerving you: how did it manage to get past the border guards?

Lynne Sharon Schwartz, 'Help', in Face to Face: A Reader in the World (2000)

19th February

[A]ge, I'm afraid, matters. Having been there matters. This is not to dismiss or devalue young people's opinions. None of us understand something they way people who lived it do.... I'm sorry to sound like your gran, but it's just an immutable temporal fact. I was around and you were not. I have been your age, while you have not yet been mine.

Alex Andreou, Schofield coming out revealed a generational gulf in the gay community, 10 February 2020

p align="center">26th February

[T]he disclosure that heterosexuality is in trouble never fails to arrive freshly as the diagnosis of a particularly contemporary crisis, its signature sex act failing to deliver the reciprocal sexual satisfactions it nevertheless emblematizes.

Annemarie Jagose, Orgasmology (2013)

Mar 2020

4th March

Urban woodland is always weird, because you only have to walk a few meters from the street to feel like youíre in the middle of nowhere. There was this sense of being caught between a primal, magical world on one side and a main road through Loughton on the other.

Alexis Hall, Fire and Water (2020)

11th March

I wasnít really interested in men and Iím still not - Iím not interested in their souls, because very few men have souls. When you find one that has, itís worth it. Most of them are just so trivial. And if youíre not sexually interested in men, theyíre unbearably trivial.

Miriam Margolyes, Interview: 'I like men - I just don't feel groin excitement'. The Guardian, 3 March 2020

18th March

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade;
All things to end are made;
The plague full swift goes by.

Thomas Nashe, In Time of Pestilence (1593)

25th March

ĎYou cannot be - you that are - young again. You cannot unroll that snowball which is you: There is no 'you' except your life - lived.

Jane Harrison(1850-1928), quoted in Francesca Wade, Square Haunting: Five Women, Freedom and London Between the Wars (2020)

Apr 2020

1st April

No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

John Donne, Meditation 17: Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624)

8th April

These, in the days when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and the earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

AE Housman, Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries (1917)

15th April

All of them had supremely good minds, as well as the physiological luck that makes a man able to go on through the seventies into the eighties doing what he has done all his life better and better, even though he may not be able to address himself to new tasks or work continously,

Rebecca West, The Meaning of Treason (1949)

22nd April

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains -- but the best is lost.

Edna St Vincent Millay, Dirge Without Music from The Buck in the Snow and Other Poems (1928)

29th April

Shall we blow a bubble, boys, glittering to distend,
Hiding from our trouble, boys, waiting for the end?
When you build on rubble, boys, Nature will append
Double and re-double, boys, waiting for the end.

Shall we make a tale, boys, that things are sure to mend,
Playing bluff and hale, boys, waiting for the end?
It will be born stale, boys, stinking to offend,
Dying ere it fail, boys, waiting for the end.

William Empson, Just a Smack at Auden (1938)

May 2020

6th May

The glass is falling hour by hour, the glass will fall forever,
But if you break the bloody glass you won't hold up the weather.

Louis MacNeice, Bagpipe Music (1938)

13th May

Do they give you the same pleasure to write as they did....Iím afraid they do... I have rather mixed feelings about this. Thereís something slightly disgraceful about old folks having fun, when they should, as Russians used to say, be making their souls in preparation for the long funlessness of eternity.

Observer New Review Q&A Michael Frayn, 3 May 2020

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