10+ quotes from History by Elsa Morante

Quotes from History

Elsa Morante ·  754 pages

Rating: (2.7K votes)

“ Man, by his very nature, tends to give himself an explanation of the world into which he is born. And this is what distinguishes him from the other species. Every individual, even the least intelligent, the lowest of outcasts, from childhood on gives himself some explanation of the world. And with it he manages to live. And without it, he would sink into madness.”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“How strange and unnatural destiny is. I married a man eight years younger than myself, and according to the law of nature I should have been the first to die, with Him at my side. Instead, it was my destiny to witness His death.'
In speaking of Giuseppe, she always wrote Him, with a capital letter. Her style was prolix, repetitive, but with a certain academic nobility; and her handwriting was elongated, fine, even elegant. (However, in her final decline, her letters grew shorter and her written words, all shaky and twisted, groped across the page, uncertain of their direction.)”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“So much of the news was invented for propaganda.”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“I'm going to cover the whole world like it was a neighborhood, and in airplanes and raing cars, not on foot!”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“For Blitz, meanwhile, an almost tragic dilemma had begun. As time passed, he and Giuseppe understood each other better and better, conversing and playing together on the floor with immense amusement, and so he found himself madly in love also with Giuseppe, as well as Nino. But Nino was always out, and Giuseppe always at home: thus it was impossible for him to live constantly in the company of both his loves, as he would have wished. And in consequence, with either one, he was always tortured by regret: and if he was with one, the mere mention of the others name or a smell that recalled him was enough for his homesickness to stream behind him, like a banner against the wind. At times, while he was on sentry duty outside Ninos school, suddenly, as if at a message brought him by a cloud, he would begin to sniff the sky with a mournful whimper, recalling the incarcerated Giuseppe. For a few minutes, a dissension would rend him, drawing him in two opposite directions at the same time; but finally, having overcome his hesitation, he would dash toward the San Lorenzo house, his long nose cleaving the wind like a prow. But at his destination, unfortunately, he found the door barred; and all his cries, mortified by the muzzle, passionately calling for Giuseppe, were in vain; for Giuseppe, though hearing him and suffering in his solitary room, longing to let him in, was unable to do so. Then, resigning himself to his destiny of waiting outside doors, Blitz would stretch out there on the ground, where, at times, in his boundless patience, he would doze off. And perhaps he had a dream of love, which brought him a reminiscence of Nino: it's a fact that, a moment later, he would stir from his sleep and hop down the steps with desperate whimpers, to retrace his way to the school.”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“A merrier baby than he had never been seen. Everything he glimpsed around him roused his interest and stirred him to joy. He looked with delight at the threads of rain outside the window, as if they were confetti and multicolored streamers. And if, as happens, the sunlight reached the ceiling indirectly and cast the shadows of the street's morning bustle, he would stare as it fascinated, refusing to abandon it, as if he were watching an extraordinary display of Chinese acrobats, given especially or him. You would have said, to tell the truth, from his laughter, from the constant brightening of his little face, that he didn't see things only in their usual aspects, but as multiple images of other things, varying to infinity. Otherwise, there was no explaining why the wretched, monotonous scene the house offered every day could afford him such diverse, inexhaustible amusement.”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“In his endless journeys of exploration, crawling on all fours around the Urals and the Amazon and the Australian archipelagos which the furniture of the house was to him, sometimes he no longer knew where he was. And he would be found under the sink in the kitchen, ecstatically observing a patrol of cockroaches as if they were wild colts on the prairie. He even recognized a ttar in a gob of spit.
But nothing had the power to make him rejoice as much as Nino's presence. It seemed that, in his opinion, Nino concentrated in himself the total festivity of the world, which everywhere else was to be found scattered and divided. For in Giuseppe's eyes, Nino represented by himself all the myriad colors, and the glow of fireworks, and every species of fantastic and lovable animal, and carnival shows. Mysteriously, he could sense Nino's arrival from the moment when he began the ascent of the stairs! And he would hurry immediately, as fast as he could with his method, toward the entrance, repeating ino ino, in an almost dramatic rejoicing of all his limbs. At times, even, when Nino came home late at night, he, sleeping, would stir slightly at the sound of the key, and with a trusting little smile he would murmur in a faint voice: Ino.”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“She was still obliged to leave the house every day, on her usual hunt for food; and especially on days of bad weather she had no other solution but to leave Useppe alone, his own guard, locking him in the room. It was then that Useppe learned to pass time thinking. He would press both fists to his brow and begin to think. What he thought about is not given to us to know; and probably his thoughts were imponderable futilities. But it's a fact that, while he was thinking in this way, the ordinary time of other people was reduced for him almost to zero. In Asia there exists a little creature known as the lesser panda, which looks like something between a squirrel and a teddy bear and lives on the trees in inaccessible mountain forests; and every now and then it comes down to the ground, looking for buds to eat. Of one of these panda it was told that he spent millennia thinking on his own tree, from which he climbed down to the ground every three hundred years. But in reality, the calculation of such periods was relative: in fact, while three hundred years had gone by on earth, on that panda's tree barely ten minutes had passed.”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“In the end, of the one thousand fifty-six who had left, in a body, from the Tiburtina station, a total of fifteen came back alive.
And of those dead, the luckiest were surely the first eight hundred and fifty. The gas chamber is the only seat of charity, in a concentration camp.”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

“La peggiore violenza contro l’uomo è la degradazione dell’intelletto.”
― Elsa Morante, quote from History

About the author

Elsa Morante
Born place: in Rome, Italy
Born date August 18, 1912
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