While I am slaving away grading a pile of papers written by whippersnappers who think “modernismistic” is a word and that “stream of conciseness” is one of its “predominate” attributes, allow me to post something soothingly well written and lovely. This basically explains my whole philosophy of life (at least that part of it that hasn’t already been covered):
In reading, one should notice and fondle details. There is nothing wrong about the moonshine of generalization when it comes after the sunny trifles of the book have been lovingly collected. If one begins with a ready-made generalization, one begins at the wrong end and travels away from the book before one has started to understand it. […] We should always remember that the work of art is invariably the creation of a new world, so that the first thing we should do is to study that new world as closely as possible, approaching it as something brand new, having no obvious connection with the worlds we already know. When this new world has been closely studied, then and only then let us examine its links with other worlds, other branches of knowledge.
–Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature
Don’t you feel more sane and rational now? I know I do. Nabokov: always better than a punch in the neck.