This quiz attempts to respond to a pervasing cultural imperialism, as manifesting itself, for instance, in Mr. Al Khapoon's famous Christmas events. Having an English education seems often to be an insuperable advantage - even more important than a good memory. Therefore, the ten quotations below are from authors born in at least ten different countries (alternately, one might even count twelve). The drawback is that usually free translations have been used, some of them from memory. But the authors (with one possible exception) are all famous - at least I would think so.
1. Happy families are all alike, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
2. He had seldom recited so much poetry in any one night: all his father's poetry, all the ballads he remembered, his own palindromes, backwards and forwards in forty-eight different ways, innumerable sequences of dirty poems, an hymn that he had learned from his mother, all the pamphlets that had been known in the Fourthing from immemorial times about sheriffs, bailiffs and merchants.
3. To live is to lose ground.
4. The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
5. - Look: the fishes are playing in the water below us, full
of joy !
- You are not a fish; how can you know they are full of joy ?
- You are not I; how can you know I do not know they are full of joy ?
6. I just wanted to marry her like some people want to go to Carcassonne.
7. In these dark rooms, where I spend frightful days,
I pace around to find the windows. -- When a window
opens, it will be a consolation. --
But windows cannot be found; at least
I cannot find them. Perhaps it is for the better.
If light comes in, who knows
what terrible new things it might reveal.
8. Now about his other work: the underground, the infinitely heroic, the peerless. And-as are human capacities!-the unfinished. This work, which may be the most significant of our time, consists of the ninth and thirty-eighth chapters of the first part of Don Quijote, as well as a fragment of the twenty-second chapter.
9. If there is a God, he will have to pay in full for all his deeds; but if there is not, then he really has been a clever man.
10. "When an actor finds an appropriate mode of expression for an ordinary
emotion and is successful through this means, then, without considering
its suitability to the occasion, he may - first because it is easy, and
secondly because of his success with it - be inclined to use it repeatedly.
This is what may be called a mannerism. In my youth I heard a story probably
originating in Paris, concerning one Ms. Heiberg. While she smiled, she
would tear with her hands a handkerchief - a dual performance. - We now
call it a cheap trick."
The Professor laid the book on his knees. Something indefinable was spoiling the peaceful harmony of his soul.