In such a world as ours the idle man is not so much a biped as a bivalve; and the wealth which breeds idleness, of which the English peerage is an example, and of which we are beginning to abound in specimens in this country, is only a sort of human oyster bed, where heirs and heiresses are planted, to spend a contemptible life of slothfulness in growing plump and succulent for the grave-worms' banquet.
An Englishman will take you into a large room, beautifully proportioned, and will point out to you that it is white- all over white- and somebody will say what exquisite taste. You know in your own mind, in your own soul, that it is not taste at all˘that is the want of taste˘that is mere evasion. English music is white and evades everything.
One of the things I love about translation is it obliterates the self. When I'm trying to figure out what Tu Fu has to say, I have to kind of impersonate Tu Fu. I have to take on, if you will, his voice and his skin in English, and I have to try to get as deeply into the poem as possible. I'm not trying to make an equivalent poem in English, which can't be done because our language can't accommodate the kind of metaphors within metaphors the Chinese written language can, and often does, contain.
My father was English. He date-raped my mother so she's hated English men ever since. You know my boyfriend's English, and I'm, uh, I'm half-English, which she's never been real happy about. If she finds out I'm dating someone English, she'll ah, think I' turning my back on her and becoming a foreigner. ' Cathy, that's the stupidest reason I've ever heard.
The people who perpetrated the terror of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings are something different because these people were obviously not desperate and poor refugee dwellers. They were middle class, educated enough to speak English, to be able to go to flight school, to come to America, to live in Florida.
To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.
There [is] a feeling of recognition, as of meeting an old friend, which comes to us all in the face of great artistic experiences. I had the same experience when I first heard an English folksong, when I first saw Michelangelo's Day and Night, when I suddenly came upon Stonehenge or had my first sight of New York City - the intuition that I had been there already.
It's a challenge getting rid of an accent by yourself. I have parents that have such thick accents. They are like, "She sounds fine. " They didn't know. To them, I spoke perfect English because their accents were so heavy. I don't even want to know what I sounded like. I don't want to know!