Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Eugenio Montale

Italian Poet, Prose Writer, Editor and Translator, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

"The real history, the one that counts and is not to be found in books, is precisely this one, the one made by simple men; and it is the only one that rules the world."

"The time has come, now, to suspend the suspension of every worldly deception - wished for by you for me… Living on memories - I can no longer. Better the bite of the ice than your sleepwalker's lethargy, O late awakener! Scarcely emerged from adolescence, for half my life I was thrown into the Augean stables. I did not find two thousand oxen, nor did i see any animals - ever - and yet in the pathways, thicker and thicker with dung, walking was difficult, breathing was difficult - The human bellowing grew from day to day. Then from year to year - who counted the seasons any more in that thick mist? - a hand feeling for the tiniest openings worked in its memorial…until from the crevices the fanning fire of a machine-gun pushed us back, tired shovellers caught in the act by the foreign police chiefs of the mud. And at last the fall - beyond belief! What did that new mire mean? and the breathing of other, but similar, stenches? and the whirlpool-whirling on rafts of dung? Was that the sun, that filthy grub from a sewer over the chimney pots? …(I think that perhaps you've stopped reading me. But now you know all of me, of my prison and my life afterwards; now you know that the eagle can't be born of a mouse.)"

"After the invention of printing, poetry becomes vertical, does not fill the white space completely, it is rich in new paragraphs and repetitions."

"Against the dark background of this contemporary civilization of well-being, even the arts tend to mingle, to lose their identity."

"And then you hear, even if you repeat as you can, stop midway or high sea , that there is no stopping for us, but the road, still the road, and that the journey is always to start over."

"Art is the production of objects for consumption, to be used and discarded while waiting for a new world in which man will have succeeded in freeing himself of everything, even of his own consciousness."

"Back to event the sun and the widespread voices, not the usual noises door."

"At the inner circle of the disciples and friends of the Cross - composed mostly of men representing the official culture (school, universities, academies) I never belonged. But instead, I breathed the air of other environments where the teaching of the Cross had penetrated inland perhaps indirect."

"But poets were not considered dangerous and they were advised to exercise self-censorship. At most, poets were requested not to write at all. I took advantage of this negative liberty."

"Bring me then the plant that points to those bright Lucidites swirling up from the earth, And life itself exhaling that central breath! Bring me the sunflower crazed with the love of light"

"But wait joy is more polite."

"Codest can tell you now: what not are, what we do not want. (From the word Do not ask )"

"But you have to go to the East to understand what the religion . I really understood the religious sentiment only there; religions is the true home of the East. And, after all, Catholicism is an Eastern religion, which has spread everywhere, but perhaps only the spirit of those countries can assimilate and accept it totally."

"Evidently the arts, all the visual arts, are becoming more democratic in the worst sense of the word."

"Do not ask for words that each side our soul shapeless, and letters of fire the state, and shine like a crocus lost in the middle of a dusty field. Ah man that if there must be a safe, to others and to himself a friend, and his shadow does not care that the dog days print on top of a crumbling wall!"

"Far away, I was with you when your father entered in the shadows and left you his farewell."

"For my part, if I consider poetry as an object, I maintain that it is born of the necessity of adding a vocal sound (speech) to the hammering of the first tribal music."

"From them there is always more to learn. They possess some basic concepts, the ones that count. Unfortunately, it seems that few are left."

"Go and tell the man in the street, the man who has not been to college, that a man can be a great artist, and together, an immoral man and even a criminal, and the man in the street will have no difficulty in admit that a man inside there may be two, three, four different from each other."

"From the Tower falls the sound of bronze: the show goes on between drums argue that the glory of the districts."

"Go, words, betrayed the bite secreted in vain, the wind blowing in the heart. The real reason is most of those who keep silent"

"Happiness, for you we walk on a knife edge. To the eyes you are a flickering light, to the feet, thin ice that cracks; and so may no one touch you who loves you."

"His natural gift is to see without being seen and to be present as it can be a fact or rather a gift of nature. [ Sergio Solmi ]"

"Holidays - Have no pity"

"I confess my extreme embarrassment: I do not know in what capacity I was asked to talk about him, that for many years I live far away from what Anatole France called the city of the books, I who for many years (and through no fault of my own) do not I have only one book on the shelf of Benedetto Croce and I do my work on the ground floor, away from the upper echelons of philosophy and scholarly criticism. Benedetto Croce I met, I met him several times in Florence before the last war, when to ask to see him and talk to him was not devoid of some inconvenience. I think it was Bonciani the hotel and later in the house of Luigi Russo . And the other two times I have visited the Cross, in Naples, in his house, in the last years of his life."

"However, poetry does not live solely in books or in school anthologies."

"I am here because I wrote poetry, an absolutely useless, but almost never harmful."

"I am perhaps a late follower of Zoroaster and I believe that the foundation of life is built upon the struggle between the two opposing forces of Good and Evil."

"I do not go in search of poetry. I wait for poetry to visit me."

"I fell, giving the arm at least a million stairs | and now you're not there is a vacuum at each step ."

"I have been judged to be a pessimist but what abyss of ignorance and low egoism is not hidden in one who thinks that Man is the god of himself and that his future can only be triumphant?"

"I do not know how exhausted you resist | in this lake indifference LORD thy heart; maybe you save an amulet that you keep close your lipstick, to down, to file: a white rat,d 'ivory, and so exist!"

"I have always knocked at the door of that wonderful and terrible enigma which is life."

"I learned a truth that few people know: that the ' art bestows its consolations especially the artists failed."

"I love athletics because it is poetry If the night dream, dream to be a marathon runner."

"I read long ago that a man has chosen to Moscow on a hunger strike. His name is Andrej Sackharov and is a famous physicist. It seems important that a man of science take the weapon of protest that was to Gandhi."

"I often think of the beautiful Turin, where sweet must feel to live."

"I was a poet who wrote an autobiography poetic without ceasing to beat at the gates of the impossible. I would not dare to speak of myth in my poetry, but there is a desire to question life. At the beginning I was skeptical, influenced by Schopenhauer . But in my verses of maturity I tried to hope, to beat the wall, to see what could be the other side of the wall, convinced that life has a meaning that escapes us. I knocked desperately as one who waits for a response."

"In reality art is always for everyone and for no one."

"It has often been observed that the repercussion of poetic language on prose language can be considered a decisive cut of a whip."

"Listen to the poets graduates only move between plants whose names are rare."

"Many of today's verses are prose and bad prose."

"In the most glorious days of the art, the artists... expressed themselves by imitating the great artists of the past, and were imitating themselves. A masterpiece was an ' imitation unsuccessful."

"Man cannot produce a single work without the assistance of the slow, assiduous, corrosive worm of thought."

"Mass communication, radio, and especially television, have attempted, not without success, to annihilate every possibility of solitude and reflection."

"Maybe one morning, walking in an air of glass arid, addressing, see the miracle: nothing behind me, the void behind me with a drunkard's terror."

"Milan is a huge conglomerate of hermits."

"Now I am used to suffer, and perhaps I need."

"My lasts to this day, no more, I need coincidences, reservations, the traps, the scorn of those who believe that reality is what you see."

"Narrative art, the novel, from Murasaki to Proust, has produced great works of poetry."