“A book, even a fragmentary one, has a center which attracts it. This center is not fixed, but is displaced by the pressure of the book and circumstances of its composition. Yet it is also a fixed center which, if it is genuine, displaces itself, while remaining the same and becoming always more central, more hidden, more uncertain and more imperious. He who writes the book writes it out of desire for this center and out of ignorance. The feeling of having touched it can very well be only the illusion of having reached it. When the book in question is one whose purpose is to elucidate, there is a kind of methodological good faith in stating toward what point it seems to be directed: here, toward the pages entitled ‘Orpheus’ Gaze.”
—Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature.
“He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
“First we feel. Then we fall.” —James Joyce
“This is what never could happen to us, don’t you think, my unique one, my only, lonely one, and not only because I have no doctrine to transmit, no disciple to seduce, but because my law, the law that undividedly reigns over my heart, is never to borrow your name, never to use it, not even in order to speak to yourself, only in order to call you, call you, call you, from afar, without a phrase, without a consequence, without end, without saying anything, not even “come,” now, not even “come back.””
—Jacques Derrida, The Post Card: From Socrates to Plato and Beyond.
“You love the accidental. A smile from a pretty girl in an interesting situation, a stolen glance, that is what you are hunting for, that is a motif for your aimless fantasy. You who always pride yourself on being an observateur must, in return, put up with becoming an object of observation. Ah, you are a strange fellow, one moment a child, the next an old man; one moment you are thinking most earnestly about the most important scholarly problems, how you will devote your life to them, and the next you are a lovesick fool.”
—Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life.
“Longing is the agony of the nearness of the distant.”
“I would like to write you so simply, so simply, so simply. Without having anything ever catch the eye, excepting yours alone, … so that above all the language remains self-evidently secret, as if it were being invented at every step, and as if it were burning immediately.”
“The easy possibility of writing letters—from a purely theoretical point of view—must have brought wrack and ruin to the souls of the world. Writing letters is actually an intercourse with ghosts and by no means just with the ghost of the addressee but also with one’s own ghost, which secretly evolves inside the letter one is writing or even in a whole series of letters, where one letter corroborates another and refer to it as witness. How did people ever get the idea they could communicate with another by letter! One can think about someone far away and can hold onto someone nearby; everything else is beyond human power. Writing letters, on the other hand, means exposing oneself to the ghosts who are greedily waiting precisely for that. Written kisses never arrive at their destination; the ghosts drink them up along the way. ”
— Franz Kafka, November 1920, Prague.
“It’s quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it, you don’t do it.”