Lafcadio Hearn Quotes | Quotes by Lafcadio Hearn
1There are two methods for the literary study of any book - the first being the study of its thought and emotion; the second only that of its workmanship. A student of literature should study some of the Bible from both points of view.
2The Western poet and writer of romance has exactly the same kind of difficulty in comprehending Eastern subjects as you have in comprehending Western subjects.
3The Shadow-maker shapes forever.
4Any idealism is a proper subject for art.
5Japanese affection is not uttered in words; it scarcely appears even in the tone of voice; it is chiefly shown in acts of exquisite courtesy and kindness.
6The fact, however, to which I want to call attention is that the master of Judo never relies upon his own strength. He scarcely uses his own strength in the greatest emergency. Then what does he use? Simply the strength of his antagonist. The force of the enemy is the only means by which that enemy is overcome.
7Accordingly the Northern races of Europe found their inspiration in the Bible; and the enthusiasm for it has not yet quite faded away.
8All good work is done the way ants do things: Little by little.
9My friends are much more dangerous than my enemies. These latter - with infinite subtlety - spin webs to keep me out of places where I hate to go, - and tell stories of me to people whom it would be vanity and vexation to meet; - and they help me so much by their unconscious aid that I almost love them.
10In the world of reality the more beautiful a work of art, the longer, we may be sure, was the time required to make it, and the greater the number of different minds which assisted in its development.
11One thing is always wrong-always: to cause suffering in others for the purpose of gratifying one's own pleasures; that is everlastingly wrong.
12But I confess that "my mind to me a kingdom is" - not! Rather it is a fantastical republic, daily troubled by more revolutions than ever occurred in South America.
13The subject of Finnish poetry ought to have a special interest for the Japanese student, if only for the reason that Finnish poetry comes more closely in many respects to Japanese poetry than any other form of Western poetry.
14The tea ceremony requires years of training and practice ... yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible.
15To ancient Chinese fancy, the Milky Way was a luminous river, - the River of Heaven, - the Silver Stream.
16But what is after all the happiness of mere power? There is a greater happiness possible than to be lord of heaven and earth; that is the happiness of being truly loved.
17I often imagine that the longer he studies English literature the more the Japanese student must be astonished at the extraordinary predominance given to the passion of love both in fiction and in poetry.
18A proof of really great art is that it is generally true - it seldom falls into the misapprehensions to which minor art is liable.
19Of course, the simple explanation of the fact is that marriage is the most important act of man's life in Europe or America, and that everything depends upon it.
20In order to comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to understand - or at least to learn to understand - the beauty of stone.
21It has been wisely observed by the greatest of modern thinkers that mankind has progressed more rapidly in every other respect than in morality.
22Whatever doubts or vexations one has in Japan, it is only necessary to ask one's self: "Well, who are the best people to live with?
23No man can possibly know what life means, what the world means, until he has a child and loves it. And then the whole universe changes and nothing will ever again seem exactly as it seemed before.
24Broad tolerance in the matter of beliefs is necessarily a part of the new ethics.
25Perhaps there is an idea among Japanese students that one general difference between Japanese and Western poetry is that the former cultivates short forms and the latter longer ones, gut this is only in part true.
26One of the great defects of English books printed in the last century is the want of an index.
27As a result, the highly civilized man can endure incomparably more than the savage, whether of moral or physical strain. Being better able to control himself under all circumstances, he has a great advantage over the savage.
28The time of illusion, then, is the beautiful moment of passion; it represents the artistic zone in which the poet or romance writer ought to be free to do the very best that he can.
29But the history of the changes produced by a universal idea is not a history of changes in the individual, but of changes brought about by the successive efforts of millions of individuals in the course of many generations.
30How sweet Japanese woman is! All the possibilities of the race for goodness seem to be concentrated in her.
31It is no exaggeration to say that the English Bible is, next to Shakespeare, the greatest work in English literature, and that it will have much more influence than even Shakespeare upon the written and spoken language of the English race.
32A great many things which in times of lesser knowledge we imagined to be superstitious or useless, prove today on examination to have been of immense value to mankind.
33At last, in 1611, was made, under the auspices of King James, the famous King James version; and this is the great literary monument of the English language.
34Literary success of any enduring kind is made by refusing to do what publishers want, by refusing to write what the public wants, by refusing to accept any popular standard, by refusing to write anything to order.
35It is true that short forms of poetry have been cultivated in the Far East more than in modern Europe; but in all European literature short forms of poetry are to be found - indeed quite as short as anything in Japanese.
36There was very little suicide among the men of the North, because every man considered it his duty to get killed, not to kill himself; and to kill himself would have seemed cowardly, as implying fear of being killed by others
37I may venture to say, loosely, that in Judo there is a sort of counter for every twist, wrench, pull, push or bend. Only the Judo expert does not oppose such movements at all. No, he yields to them. But he does much more than yield to them. He aids them with a wicked sleight that causes the assailant to put out his own shoulder, to fracture his own arm, or in a desparate case, even to break his own neck or back.
38French novels generally treat of the relations of women to the world and to lovers, after marriage; consequently there is a great deal in French novels about adultery, about improper relations between the sexes, about many things which the English public would not allow.
39Woo the muse of the odd.
40Some persons have ventured to say that it is only since Englishmen ceased to believe in the Bible that they began to discover how beautiful it was.
41Is woman a religion? Well, perhaps you will have the chance of judging for yourselves if you go to America. There you will find men treating women with just the same respect formerly accorded only to religious dignitaries or to great nobles.
42There is one type of ideal woman very seldom described in poetry - the old maid, the woman whom sorrow or misfortune prevents from fulfilling her natural destiny.
43Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become a study for archaeologists...but it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio.
44The great principle of Western society is that competition rules here as it rules in everything else. The best man - that is to say, the strongest and cleverest - is likely to get the best woman, in the sense of the most beautiful person.
45Contemporary literature in the West has shown some signs of ethical change.
46The more you wish to be, the wiser you are; while the wish to have is apt to be foolish in proportion to its largeness.
47For this reason, to study English literature without some general knowledge of the relation of the Bible to that literature would be to leave one's literary education very incomplete.
48The highest duty of the man is not to his father, but to his wife; and for the sake of that woman he abandons all other earthly ties, should any of these happen to interfere with that relation.
49But every great scripture, whether Hebrew, Indian, Persian, or Chinese, apart from its religious value will be found to have some rare and special beauty of its own; and in this respect the original Bible stands very high as a monument of sublime poetry and of artistic prose.
50The proverbial philosophy of a people helps us to understand more about them than any other kind of literature.
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