John Galsworthy cytaty

John Galsworthy Fotografia
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John Galsworthy

Data urodzenia: 14. Sierpień 1867
Data zgonu: 31. Styczeń 1933

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John Galsworthy – brytyjski powieściopisarz, nowelista, poeta i dramaturg, przedstawiciel realizmu krytycznego, w literaturze angielskiej, tradycyjnie nazywany „epikiem ery wiktoriańskiej”, uznany za życia za jednego z najwybitniejszych pisarzy przełomu XIX i XX wieku. Laureat Nagrody Nobla w dziedzinie literatury za rok 1932; z uzasadnienia komisji otrzymał ją „za wielką sztukę prozatorską której szczytem jest Saga rodu Forsyte’ów, wielotomowa powieść rzeka autora, nad którą pracował przeszło 20 lat twórczej aktywności. Za życia pisarstwo Galsworthy’ego cieszyło się ogromnym uznaniem, współcześnie zaś spotyka się ono ze skrajnymi opiniami historyków literatury: podczas gdy jedni widzą w nim twórcę miernego, drudzy podkreślają jego wybitny talent pisarski.

Naczelną cechą prozy Galsworthy’ego jest skłonność do współczucia wobec ludzkiej krzywdy i zatracania wartości, stąd Saga rodziny Forsyte’ów stała się swego czasu jednym z ważnych dokumentów społeczeństwa angielskiego w czasie gwałtownego rozwoju gospodarczego. Autorytet noblisty w kwestiach etycznych sprawił, że Winston Churchill konsultował z nim reformy, tuż przed ogłoszeniem ich w parlamencie. Pisarz odrzucał awangardowe i estetyzujące tendencje w najnowszej prozie, przyjmował postawę jawnie antymodernistyczną, poczuwając się do roli nauczyciela moralności. Joseph Conrad nazwał go „humanitarnym moralistą”, zaś Stanisław Helsztyński – doceniając bezstronność pisarza – powiedział, iż „w szaty proroka nigdy się nie stroi, nad niczym szat nie rozdziera”.

Uważa się, że Galsworthy był ostatnim wielkim twórcą starej szkoły pisania powieści, a przy tym kontynuatorem nurtu realizmu krytycznego zapoczątkowanego przez takich pisarzy, jak Herbert George Wells, Arnold Bennett oraz George Bernard Shaw. Na początku XX wieku noblista ściągnął na siebie krytykę artystycznej awangardy, zwłaszcza Virginii Woolf i Jamesa Joyce'a, którzy zarzucali mu konserwatyzm, „zdradę sztuki pisarskiej” oraz zainteresowanie „zewnętrznymi pozorami” zamiast „istotą rzeczy”. W krótki czas potem pisarstwo Galsworthy’ego popadło w zapomnienie.

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Cytaty John Galsworthy

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„It is an age of stir and change, a season of new wine and old bottles. Yet, assuredly, in spite of breakages and waste, a wine worth the drinking is all the time being made.“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: I cannot help thinking that historians, looking back from the far future, will record this age as the Third Renaissance. We who are lost in it, working or looking on, can neither tell what we are doing, nor where standing; but we cannot help observing, that, just as in the Greek Renaissance, worn-out Pagan orthodoxy was penetrated by new philosophy; just as in the Italian Renaissance, Pagan philosophy, reasserting itself, fertilised again an already too inbred Christian creed; so now Orthodoxy fertilised by Science is producing a fresh and fuller conception of life — a love of Perfection, not for hope of reward, not for fear of punishment, but for Perfection's sake. Slowly, under our feet, beneath our consciousness, is forming that new philosophy, and it is in times of new philosophies that Art, itself in essence always a discovery, must flourish. Those whose sacred suns and moons are ever in the past, tell us that our Art is going to the dogs; and it is, indeed, true that we are in confusion! The waters are broken, and every nerve and sinew of the artist is strained to discover his own safety. It is an age of stir and change, a season of new wine and old bottles. Yet, assuredly, in spite of breakages and waste, a wine worth the drinking is all the time being made.

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„Only out of stir and change is born new salvation. To deny that is to deny belief in man, to turn our backs on courage!“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: Only out of stir and change is born new salvation. To deny that is to deny belief in man, to turn our backs on courage! It is well, indeed, that some should live in closed studies with the paintings and the books of yesterday — such devoted students serve Art in their own way. But the fresh-air world will ever want new forms. We shall not get them without faith enough to risk the old! The good will live, the bad will die; and tomorrow only can tell us which is which!

„Art is that imaginative expression of human energy, which, through technical concretion of feeling and perception, tends to reconcile the individual with the universal, by exciting in him impersonal emotion.“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: Art is that imaginative expression of human energy, which, through technical concretion of feeling and perception, tends to reconcile the individual with the universal, by exciting in him impersonal emotion. And the greatest Art is that which excites the greatest impersonal emotion in an hypothecated perfect human being.

„Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: Come! Let us lay a lance in rest, And tilt at windmills under a wild sky! For who would live so petty and unblest That dare not tilt at something ere he die; Rather than, screened by safe majority, Preserve his little life to little end, And never raise a rebel cry! Errantry, St. 1, Moods, Songs and Doggerels (1912)

„I cannot explain. There are things that I can't make clear, because you are wilfully blind to all that I believe in.“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: "I cannot explain. There are things that I can't make clear, because you are wilfully blind to all that I believe in. For what do you imagine we are fighting this great war, if it is not to reestablish the belief in love as the guiding principle of life?" Laird shook his head. "We are fighting to redress a balance, which was in danger of being lost." "The balance of power?" "Heavens! — no! The balance of philosophy." Pierson smiled. "That sounds very clever, George; but again, I don't follow you." "The balance between the sayings: 'Might is Right,' and 'Right is Might.' They're both half-truth, but the first was beating the other out of the field. All the rest of it is cant, you know. And by the way, sir, your Church is solid for punishment of the evildoer. Where's mercy there? Either its God is not merciful, or else it doesn't believe in its God. Saint's Progress (1919)

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„The balance between the sayings: 'Might is Right,' and 'Right is Might.' They're both half-truth, but the first was beating the other out of the field. All the rest of it is cant, you know.“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: "I cannot explain. There are things that I can't make clear, because you are wilfully blind to all that I believe in. For what do you imagine we are fighting this great war, if it is not to reestablish the belief in love as the guiding principle of life?" Laird shook his head. "We are fighting to redress a balance, which was in danger of being lost." "The balance of power?" "Heavens! — no! The balance of philosophy." Pierson smiled. "That sounds very clever, George; but again, I don't follow you." "The balance between the sayings: 'Might is Right,' and 'Right is Might.' They're both half-truth, but the first was beating the other out of the field. All the rest of it is cant, you know. And by the way, sir, your Church is solid for punishment of the evildoer. Where's mercy there? Either its God is not merciful, or else it doesn't believe in its God. Saint's Progress (1919)

„Raise up the banner of forlorn defence —
A jest to the complacency of crowds —
Bright-haloed with the one diviner sense:
To hold itself as nothing to itself;
And in the quest of its imagined star
To lose all thought of after-recompense!“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: p>God save the pennon, ragged to the dawn, That signs to moon to stand, and sun to fly; And flutters when the weak is overborne To stem the tide of fate and certainty. That knows not reason, and that seeks no fame —So! Undismayed beneath the serried clouds, Raise up the banner of forlorn defence — A jest to the complacency of crowds — Bright-haloed with the one diviner sense: To hold itself as nothing to itself; And in the quest of its imagined star To lose all thought of after-recompense!</p Errantry, St. 4 - 5

„They did not stop to love each other in this life; they were so sure they had all eternity to do it in. The doctrine was an invention to enable men to act like dogs with clear consciences. Love could never come to full fruition till it was destroyed.“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: "To take life," went on the old man in a voice which, though charged with strong emotion, seemed to be speaking to itself, "was the chief mark of the insensate barbarism still prevailing in those days. It sprang from that most irreligious fetish, the belief in the permanence of the individual ego after death. From the worship of that fetish had come all the sorrows of the human race. … They did not stop to love each other in this life; they were so sure they had all eternity to do it in. The doctrine was an invention to enable men to act like dogs with clear consciences. Love could never come to full fruition till it was destroyed." Fraternity (1909)

„He is but a poor philosopher who holds a view so narrow as to exclude forms not to his personal taste.“

—  John Galsworthy
Context: He is but a poor philosopher who holds a view so narrow as to exclude forms not to his personal taste. No realist can love romantic Art so much as he loves his own, but when that Art fulfils the laws of its peculiar being, if he would be no blind partisan, he must admit it. The romanticist will never be amused by realism, but let him not for that reason be so parochial as to think that realism, when it achieves vitality, is not Art. For what is Art but the perfected expression of self in contact with the world; and whether that self be of enlightening, or of fairy-telling temperament, is of no moment whatsoever. The tossing of abuse from realist to romanticist and back is but the sword-play of two one-eyed men with their blind side turned toward each other. Shall not each attempt be judged on its own merits? If found not shoddy, faked, or forced, but true to itself, true to its conceiving mood, and fair-proportioned part to whole; so that it lives — then, realistic or romantic, in the name of Fairness let it pass! Of all kinds of human energy, Art is surely the most free, the least parochial; and demands of us an essential tolerance of all its forms. Shall we waste breath and ink in condemnation of artists, because their temperaments are not our own?

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