12 April 2010

Monday Quote Frenzy - Virginia Woolf

In Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf addresses three requests for contributions to worthy causes, which all fail to address the underlying social issues involving the suppression of educated women. At one point, she considers the problem of women trying to earn their support by writing for newspapers or magazines, but finding that they must adapt their opinions to those of their employers:
[L]et us refer them to the tradition which has long been honoured in the private house – the tradition of chastity. ‘Just as for many centuries, Madam,’ we might plead, ‘it was thought vile for a woman to sell her body without love, but right to give it to the husband whom she loved, so it is wrong, you will agree, to sell you mind without love, but right to give it to the art which you love.’ ‘But what,’ she may ask, ‘is meant by “selling your mind without love”?’ ‘Briefly,’ we might reply, ‘to write at the command of another person what you do not want to write for the sake of money. But to sell a brain is worse than to sell a body, for when the body seller has sold her momentary pleasure she takes good care that the matter shall end there. But when a brain seller has sold her brain, its anaemic, vicious and diseased progeny are let loose upon the world to infect and corrupt and sow the seeds of disease in others.

05 April 2010

Monday Quote Frenzy - Lincoln on political difficulties

Abraham Lincoln, reflecting on the 1864 election, which was arguably not American politics at its finest:
The strife of the election is but human nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and as good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be avenged.