There are people who take fright. But I am of the opinion, Lachmann, that one should know no fear in this world . . . Love, it is said, is strong as death. But you may confidently reverse the saying: Death is as gentle as love, Lachmann. I tell you that death has been maligned. That is the worst imposture in the world. –Death is the mildest form of life: the masterpiece of the Eternal Love…[His eye falls upon the death-mask of Beethoven. He takes it down and, contemplating it, continues:] Where shall we land? Whither are we driven? Why do we cry our cries of joy into the immense incertitude — we mites abandoned in the infinite? As though we knew whither we are tending! Thus you cried too! And did you know — even you? There is nothing in it of mortal feasts! Nor is it the heaven of the parsons! It is not this and it is not that. What…[he stretches out his hands to heaven]…what will it be in the end?
Gerhart Hauptmann, Michael Kramer, quoted in James Joyce.
I haven’t been this excited about reading a book in years. One of the best things about it is the quotations, particularly those from Finnegans Wake, which seems a far more readable text when its lines are taken out of context:
If one has the stomach to add the breakages, upheavals, distortions, inversions of all this chambermade music one stands, given a grain of goodwill, a fair chance of actually seeing the whirling dervish, Tumult, son of Thunder, self exiled in upon his ego…