Terry Eagleton
Quotations


What persuades men and women to mistake each other from time to time for gods or vermin is ideology. One can understand well enough how human beings may struggle and murder for good material reasons -- reasons connected, for instance, with their physical survival. It is much harder to grasp how they may come to do so in the name of something as apparently abstract as ideas. Yet ideas are what men and women live by, and will occasionally die for.

Literature transforms and intensifies ordinary language, deviates systematically from everyday speech. If you approach me at a bus stop and murmur “Thou still unravished bride of quietness,” then I am instantly aware that I am in the presence of the literary.

Chaucer was a class traitor
Shakespeare hated the mob
Donne sold out a bit later
Sidney was a nob.

It is silly to call fat people “gravitationally challenged” -- a self-righteous fetishism of language which is no more than a symptom of political frustration.

All propaganda or popularization involves a putting of the complex into the simple, but such a move is instantly deconstructive. For if the complex can be put into the simple, then it cannot be as complex as it seemed in the first place; and if the simple can be an adequate medium of such complexity, then it cannot after all be as simple as all that.

Readers are less and less seen as mere non-writers, the subhuman “other” or flawed derivative of the author; the lack of a pen is no longer a shameful mark of secondary status but a positively enabling space, just as within every writer can be seen to lurk, as a repressed but contaminating antithesis, a reader.

Deconstruction . . . insists not that truth is illusory but that it is institutional.



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