i (i) wrote,

more quotes from Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

"We in ancient countries have our past - we obsess over the past. They, the Americans, have a dream: they feel nostalgia about the promise of the future."

quoted in the book; from The Ambassadors by Henry James: ""Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't matter what you do in particular so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that, what have you had? I'm too old - too old at any rate for what I see. What one loses one loses; make no mistake about that. Still, we have the illusion of freedom;therefore don't, like me today, be without memory of that illusion. I was either, at the right time, too stupid or too intelligent to have it, and now I'm a case of reaction against the mistake. For it was a mistake. Live, live!"

also from James: "We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."

"And then there is The Ambassadors, I continued, where we find several different kinds of courage, but the most courageous characters are those with imagination, those who, through their imaginative faculty, can empathize with others. When you lack this kind of courage, you remain ignorant of others' feelings and needs."

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