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James Fenton quotes

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“The lullaby is the spell whereby the mother attempts to transform herself back from an ogre to a saint.”

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“Saigon was an addicted city, and we were the drug: the corruption of children, the mutilation of young men, the prostitution of women, the humiliation of the old, the division of the family, the division of the country-it had all been done in our name... The French city... had represented the opium stage of the addiction. With the Americans had begun the heroin phase.”

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“The writing of a poem is like a child throwing stones into a mineshaft. You compose first, then you listen for the reverberation.”

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“It has to be displayed, this face, on a more or less horizontal plane. Imagine a man wearing a mask, and imagine that the elastic which holds the mask on has just broken, so that the man (rather than let the mask slip off) has to tilt his head back and balance the mask on his real face. This is the kind of tyranny which Lawson's face exerts over the rest of his body as he cruises along the corridors. He doesn't look down his nose at you, he looks along his nose.”

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“Imitation, if it is not forgery, is a fine thing. It stems from a generous impulse, and a realistic sense of what can and cannot be done.”

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“One does not become a guru by accident.”

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“When Mr Ackroyd says that in the 18th century, stranglers bit off the noses of their victims, I feel that he probably knows what he is talking about. I just wish he hadn't told me.”

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    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“Those who actually set out to see the fall of a city or those who choose to go to a front line, are obviously asking themselves to what extent they are cowards. But the tests they set themselves / there is a dead body, can you bear to look at it? / are nothing in comparison with the tests that are sprung on them. It is not the obvious tests that matter (do you go to pieces in a mortar attack?) but the unexpected ones (here is a man on the run, seeking your help / can you face him honestly?).”

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