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‘In modern Athens , the vehicles of mass transportation are called metaphorai . To go to work or come home, one takes a “metaphor” – a bus or a train.'
'The story of man's travels through his own texts remains in large measure unknown.'
'A source of strong emotions and terrifying images which it arouses through fears of the Beyond, Catholicism frequently provokes madness; it generates delirious beliefs, entertains hallucinations, leads men to despair and to melancholia.'
'In public life, language is a weapon of war and is deployed in conditions of radical distrust. All that matters is what you said, not what you meant. The political realm is a world of lunatic literalism.'
'Today I feel no wish to demonstrate that sanity is impossible. On the contrary, though I remain no less certain than in the past that sanity is a rather rare phenomenon, I am convinced that it can be achieved and would like to see more of it.'
‘Synchronic metaphor of the diachronic. An instant soup. As here, symbolizing the New World's rejection of history, but in France there are still kitchens where soup has simmered for all of four centuries (…). Thus, a good meat broth set bubbling about the time of the League of Cambrai, bits of sausage added while Gaston de Foix was fighting in Italy, cabbage shredded in while Guises were shredding the Huguenots, a few new beef bones to celebrate the Aristocratic Fronde, fresh pork scraps for the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (…) End of neck for the Jacobins, chitterlings code of Napoléon, bitter herbs for Elba.'
‘An interesting case is the early attempt to impose taxes on playing cards in Britain , which involved printing the Ace of Spades separately at the government printing office. The penalty for anyone using any Ace of Spades other than those printed by government was originally death (…), though the sentence was later reduced to transportation, and later still, in 1861, to penal servitude for life'
‘Mes amies préféraient les sandwiches et s'étonnaient de me voir manger seulement un gâteau au chocolat gothiquement historié de sucre ou une tarte à l'abricot. C'est qu'avec les sandwiches au chester et à la salade, nourriture ignorante et nouvelle, je n'avais rien à dire. Mais les gâteaux étaient instruits, les tartes étaient bavardes.'
'Cold things have little smell, and one of the attractions of a snowy night is the total blank our nose perceives. Part of the fun of ice cream is the surprise when a huge flavour develops in the warmth of your mouth. Try this: put some strawberries and ice in a blender, give the mixture a twirl until the ice is finely crushed, wait for ten seconds, then take off the lid and smell. What you get is hard-boiled eggs, because the strawberries contain light, sulphur-containing compounds that alone manage to struggle free at this low temperature.'
'The city of Leonia refashions itself every day: every morning the people wake between fresh sheets, wash with just-unwrapped cakes of soap, wear brand-new clothing, take from the latest model refridgerator still unopened tins, listening to the last-minute jingles from the most up-to-date radio(...). This is the result: the more Leonia expels goods, the more it accumulates them; the scales of its past are soldered into a cuirass that cannot be removed. As the city is renewed each day, it preserves all of itself in its only definitive form: yesterday's sweepings piled up on the sweepings of the day before yesterday and of all its days and years and decades (...). Leonia's rubbish little by little would invade the world, if, from beyond the final crest of its boundless rubbish heap, the street cleaners of other cities were not pressing, also pushing the mountains of refuse in front of themselves (...). The greater its height grows, the more the danger of a landslide looms: a tin can, an old tyre, an unraveled wine flask, if it rolls toward Leonia, is enough to bring with it an avalanche of unmated shoes, calendars of bygone years, withered flowers, submerging the city in its own past, which it had tried in vain to reject, mingling with the past of the neighbouring cities, finally clean. A cataclysm will flatten the sordid mountain range, canceling every trace of the metropolis always dressed in new clothes.'
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