“Outrages are frequently committed on the natives by thoughtless or mischievous white men: the Indians retaliate according to a law of their code, which requires blood for blood; their act of what with them is pious vengeance resounds throughout the land and is represented as wanton and unprovoked; the neighborhood is roused to arms; a war ensues, which ends in the destruction of half the tribe, the ruin of the rest and their expulsion from their hereditary homes. Such is too often the real history of Indian warfare, which in general is traced up only to some vindictive act of a savage; while the outrage of the scoundrel white man that provoked it is sunk in silence.” – Washington Irving, Astoria

“It’s strange how easily one falls into it. You have fully decided never to marry; and then, in the springtime, you go to the country; the weather is warm; the summer is beautiful; the fields are full of flowers; you meet a young girl at some friend’s house—crash! all is over. You return married!” – Guy de Maupassant, “My Wife” (trans. McMaster, et al.)

“The daily routine had ceased to be a novelty. All the details of the journey and the camp had become familiar to us. We had seen life under a new aspect; the human biped had been reduced to his primitive condition. We had lived without law to protect, a roof to shelter, or garment of cloth to cover us. One of us at least had been without bread, and without salt to season his food. Our idea of what is indispensable to human existence and enjoyment had been wonderfully curtailed, and a horse, a rifle and a knife seemed to make up the whole of life’s necessaries. For these once obtained, together with the skill to use them, all else that is essential would follow in their train, and a host of luxuries besides. One other lesson our short prairies experience had taught us; that of profound contentment in the present, and utter contempt for what the future might bring forth.” – Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail

“The western Dahcotah have no fixed habitations. Hunting and fighting, they wander incessantly, through summer and winter. Some are following the herds of buffalo over the wastes of prairie; others are traversing the Black Hills, thronging, on horseback and on foot, through the dark gulfs and sombre gorges, beneath the vast splintering precipices, and emerging at last upon the ‘Parks,’ those beautiful but most perilous hunting-grounds. The buffalo supplies them with almost all the necessities of life; with habitations, food, clothing, and fuel; with strings for their bows, with thread, cordage, and trailropes for their horses, with coverings for their saddles, with vessels to hold water, with boats to cross streams, with glue, and with the means of purchasing all that they desire from the traders. When the buffalo are extinct, they too must dwindle away.” – Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail

“The emigrants felt a violent prejudice against the French Indians, as they called the trappers and traders. They thought, and with some justice, that these men bore them no good will. Many of them were firmly persuaded that the French were instigating the Indians to attack and cut them off. On visiting the encampment we were at once struck with the extraordinary perplexity and indecision that prevailed among the emigrants. They seemed like men totally out of their element; bewildered and amazed, like a troop of schoolboys lost in the woods. It was impossible to be long among them without being conscious of the high and bold spirit with which most of them were animated. But the forest is the home of the backwoodsman. On the remote prairie he is totally at a loss. He differs as much from the genuine ‘mountain-man,’ the wild prairie hunter, as a Canadian voyageur, paddling his canoe on the rapids of the Ottawa, differs from an American sailor among the storms of Cape Horn. Still my companion and I were somewhat at a loss to account for this perturbed state of mind. It could not be cowardice: these men were of the same stock with the volunteers of Monterey and Buena Vista. Yet for the most part, they were the rudest and most ignorant of the frontier population; they knew absolutely nothing of the country and its inhabitants; they had already experienced much misfortune, and apprehended more; they had seen nothing of mankind, and had never put their own resources to the test.” – Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail (emphasis in original)

“There must be a simple form of love, the result of the mutual impulse of two hearts and two souls. But there is also assuredly an atrocious form, that tortures one cruelly, the result of the occult blending of two unlike personalities who detest each other at the same time that they adore one another.” – Guy de Maupassant, “Fascination” (trans. McMaster, et al.)

“[Translation] work isn’t as bad as it might seem. When a phrase is born, it is both good and bad at the same time. The secret of its success rests in a crux that is barely discernible. One’s fingertips must grasp the key, gently warming it. And then the key must be turned once, not twice.” – Isaac Babel, “Guy de Maupassant” (trans. Peter Constantine)

“It is only by going a long distance from home that we can fully understand how short-lived and empty everything near at hand is; by searching for the unknown, we perceive how commonplace and evanescent everything is; only by wandering over the face of the earth can we understand how small the world is, and how very much alike it is everywhere.” – Guy de Maupassant, “The Rondoli Sisters” (trans. McMaster, et al.)

“I am most particular about my bed; it is the sanctuary of life. We entrust our almost naked and fatigued bodies to it so that they may be reanimated by reposing between soft sheets and feathers. There we find the most delightful hours of our existence, the hours of love and of sleep. The bed is sacred, and should be respected, venerated and loved by us as the best and most delightful of our earthly possessions. I cannot lift up the sheets of a hotel bed without a shudder of disgust. Who has occupied it the night before? Perhaps dirty, revolting people have slept in it. I begin, then, to think of all the horrible people with whom one rubs shoulders every day, people with suspicious-looking skin which makes one think of the feet and all the rest! I call to mind those who carry about with them the sickening smell of garlic or of humanity. I think of those who are deformed and unhealthy, of the perspiration emanating from the sick, of everything that is ugly and filthy in man. And all this, perhaps, in the bed in which I am about to sleep! The mere idea of it makes me feel ill as I get into it.” – Guy de Maupassant, “The Rondoli Sisters” (trans. McMaster, et al.)

“It seems to me that real love must unsettle the mind, upset the nerves and distract the head; that it must—how shall I express it?—be dangerous, even terrible, almost criminal and sacrilegious; that it must be a kind of treason; I mean to say that it is bound to break laws, fraternal bonds, sacred obligations; when love is tranquil, easy, lawful and without dangers, is it really love?” – Guy de Maupassant, “The Log” (trans. McMaster, et al.)

“However great the love may be that unites them a man and a woman are always strangers in mind and intellect; they remain belligerents, they belong to different races. There must always be a conqueror and a conquered, a master and a slave; now the one, now the other—they are never two equals.” – Guy de Maupassant, “The Log” (trans. McMaster, et al.)

“The didactic mission of preserving the past as an object for the future, narrated by the stark finality of ‘never again,’ renders the structural violence of the present illegible while monetizing the promises of witnessing, thus profiting from the illusion that it is possible to coexist with the past.” – Julia Michiko Hori, “Berthing Violent Nostalgia: Restored Slave Ports and the Royal Caribbean Historic Falmouth Cruise Terminal”

“The past is neither inert nor given. The stories we tell about what happened then, the correspondences we discern between today and times past, and the ethical and political stakes of those stories redound in the present. If slavery feels proximate rather than remote and freedom seems increasingly elusive, this has everything to do with our own dark times. If the ghost of slavery still haunts our present, it is because we are still looking for an exit from the prison.” – Saidiyah V. Hartman, Love Your Mother: A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route

“The cease of majesty dies not alone but like a gulf doth draw what’s near it with it: it is a massy wheel, fix’d on the summit of the highest mount, to whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things are mortis’d and adjoin’d; which, when it falls, each small annexment, petty consequence, attends the boisterous ruin.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

“The administrative staff is supposed to be at Radzivillov along with all the transport carts, but in my opinion, Brody would be more interesting, the battle is being fought for Brody. Ivan’s opinion prevails, some of the cart drivers are saying the Poles are in Brody, the transport carts are fleeing, the army staff has left, we drive to Radzivillov. We arrive in the night. All this time we’ve been eating carrots and peas, penetrating hunger, we’re covered in dirt, haven’t slept. I took a hut on the outskirts of Radzivillov. Good choice, my knack for this sort of thing is getting better. An old man, a girl. The buttermilk is marvelous, we had all of it, they’re making tea with milk, Ivan is going to get some sugar, machine gun fire, the thunder of carts, we run out of the house, the horse is suddenly limping, that’s how things are sometimes, we are running in panic, we’re being shot at, we have no idea what’s going on, they’ll catch us any moment now, we make a dash for the bridge, pandemonium, we fall into the marshes, wild panic, a dead man lying there, abandoned carts, shells, tachankas. Traffic jam, night, terror, carts standing in an endless line, we are moving, a field, we stop, we sleep, stars. What upsets me most in all of this is the lost tea, I’m so upset, it’s peculiar. I think about it all night and hate the war.” – Isaac Babel, 1920 Diary (trans. Peter Constantine)

“The terrible truth is that all the soldiers have syphilis. Matyazh is almost cured (with practically no treatment). He had syphilis, got treatment for two weeks, he and a fellow countryman were to pay ten silver kopecks in Stavropol, his fellow countryman died, Misha had it many times, Senechka and Gerasya have syphilis, and they all go with women, and back home they have brides. The soldier’s curse. Russia’s curse—it’s horrifying. They swallow ground crystal, at times they drink either carbolic acid or crushed glass. All our fighters: velvet caps, rapes, Cossack forelocks, battle, Revolution, and syphilis.” – Isaac Babel, 1920 Diary (trans. Peter Constantine)

“Mass production changed human life forever. For the centuries preceding we were primarily an agrarian people living in a natural world, according to our needs and the seasons. Then, literally overnight, most of us were part of some immense process, making a part of a part of something. Universal time didn’t exist until relatively recently, with the establishment of transcontinental railroads. Until then, it had been two o’clock in my village, three in yours. But we needed to agree on the time so we wouldn’t miss our trains. It also took a full generation for the factory owners to get their workers to understand that they had to show up at the same time every day, even if they had enough money for the moment and just didn’t feel like working that day. Last detail—there was, in the nineteenth century, an active campaign, I mean with posters and such, to link poverty with shame. Until then our notion of poverty was more like our notion of cancer—it simply struck some people and not others. But if we’re not ashamed of being poor, we won’t show up for work consistently. In short, it was a profound change, and it was the beginning of the world in which we live now.” – Michael Cunningham (interviewed by Sarah Anne Johnson, “Close Up: Place and Setting”)

“He took home many women, and one day he found that he had en noua. He knew that was a bad disease, because it stays in the blood and eats the nose from inside. ‘A man loses his nose only long after he has already lost his head.’ He asked a doctor for medicine. The doctor gave him a paper and told him to take it to the Pharmacie de l’Etoile. There he bought six vials of penicillin in a box. He took them home and tied each little bottle with a silk thread, stringing them so that they made a necklace. He wore this always around his neck, taking care that the glass vials touched his skin. He thought it likely that by now he was cured, but his cousin in Fez had just told him that he must go on wearing the medicine for another three months, or at least until the beginning of the moon of Chouwal.” – Paul Bowles, “He of the Assembly”

“Tourists are people with the means and desire to seek out experiences different or absent from their daily lives. Leisure tourism is shaped around providing things that corporate work culture withholds, including such basics as sleep, sunlight, art and music, physical exercise, relief from stress, a break from surveillance and policed time, from the women’s double day and the culture of busyness, from the myriad mechanisms of social discipline that dehumanize and despiritualize metropolitan life. How to quarrel with such a list?” – Mary Louise Pratt, “Is this Gitmo, or Club Med?”