You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


But no man hears us, we are most miserably dejected. Our bodies have scarce room for a new stripe. We can get no relief, no comfort, no succor. We have tried all means, yet find no remedy; no man living can express the anguish and bitterness of our souls, but we that endure it. We are, forsaken, in torture of body and mind, in another hell: what shall we do?...our estate is far more miserable, much more to be deplored, and far greater cause have we to lament; the devil and the world persecute us, all good fortune has forsaken us, we are left to the rage of beggary, cold, hunger, thirst, nastiness, sickness, irksomeness, to continual torment, labor and pain, to derision and contempt, bitter enemies all, and far worse than any death; death alone we desire, death we seek, yet cannot have it, and what shall we do?...comfort thyself with this yet, thou art at the worst, and before long it will either overcome thee or thou it...misery is virtue's whetstone.

Robert Burton,   The Anatomy of Melancholy

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