Nadine Gordimer


Quotations

  • ''The truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. repr. In The Essential Gesture, ed. Stephen Clingman (1988). "A Bolter and the Invincible Summer," London Magazine (May 1963).
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  • ''The country of the tourist pamphlet always is another country, an embarrassing abstraction of the desirable that, thank God, does not exist on this planet, where there are always ants and bad smells and empty Coca-Cola bottles to keep the grubby finger- print of reality upon the beautiful.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. A World of Strangers, ch. 1 (1958).
  • ''If people would forget about utopia! When rationalism destroyed heaven and decided to set it up here on earth, that most terrible of all goals entered human ambition. It was clear there'd be no end to what people would be made to suffer for it.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. Bernard, in Burger's Daughter, pt. 2 (1979).
  • ''Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. Address, June 1990, to the international Writer's Day conference, London. "Censorship and its Aftermath," published in Index on Censorship (Aug. 1990).
  • ''The gap between the committed and the indifferent is a Sahara whose faint trails, followed by the mind's eye only, fade out in sand.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. repr. In The Essential Gesture, ed. Stephen Clingman (1988). "Great Problems in the Street," I Will Still Be Moved, ed. Marion Friedmann (1963).
  • ''If you live in Europe ... things change ... but continuity never seems to break. You don't have to throw the past away.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. Madame Bagnelli, in Burger's Daughter, pt. 2 (1979).
  • ''It was accepted tacitly that when he spoke of "our" people it was a black speaking for blacks, subtly different from when he used "we" or "us" and this meant an empathy between him and her.... It had come to her that this was the basis that ought to have existed between a man and a woman in general, where it was a question not of a difference of ancestry but of sex.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South Africa author. None to Accompany Me, p. 282, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1994). Description of fictional character Mpho, half Xhosa, half Zulu.
  • ''A desert is a place without expectation.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. repr. In The Essential Gesture, ed. Stephen Clingman (1988). "Pula!" London Magazine (Feb.-March 1973).
  • ''In a democracy—even if it is a so-called democracy like our white-√©litist one—the greatest veneration one can show the rule of law is to keep a watch on it, and to reserve the right to judge unjust laws and the subversion of the function of the law by the power of the state. That vigilance is the most important proof of respect for the law.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. Lecture, August 11, 1971, University of Natal, South Africa. "Speak Out: The Necessity for Protest," The Essential Gesture, ed. Stephen Clingman (1988).
  • ''Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter.''
    Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923), South African author. Lecture, August 11, 1971, University of Natal, South Africa. "Speak Out: The Necessity for Protest," published in The Essential Gesture, ed. Stephen Clingman (1988). Gordimer is referring to a passage by Mohandas K. Gandhi in Satyagraha in South Africa (revised 1928): "The convenience of the powers that be is the law in the final analysis."

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