Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Burr by Gore Vidal

  • "What a small group it was that fought the Revolution, founded the republic, and governed the better part of a continent for a quarter-century!" - 92
  • "You will be favourable to Burr, and so must fail because the American reader cannot bear a surprise. He knows that this is the greatest country on earth, Washington the greatest man that ever lived, Burr the wickedest, and evidence to the contrary is not admissible. That means no inconvenient facts, no new information. If you really want the reader's attention, you must flatter him. Make his prejudices your own. Tell him things he already knows. He will love your soundness." - 139
  • "for to the Puritan mind Hell is pre-ordained; therefore it is impious to tamper with God's earthly arrangements; better to sing hosannas to His celestial arbitrariness." - 212
  • "You know, I made Hamilton a giant by killing him. If he had lived, he would have continued his decline. He would have been quite forgotten by now. Like me." - 270
  • "Well, what are we anyway but so many critics in the stalls, criticising the grand performers?" - 344
  • "For the average American freedom of speech is simply the freedom to repeat what everyone else is saying and no more." - 390
  • "Apparently [Jeremy] Bentham thought that human beings had but two desires, gain and pleasure, and he accepted those desires as the facts of our condition (he hated St. Paul) and tried to make of them a philosophy whose keystone was an eloquent defense of usury." - 395-6