-för en 'bättre värld'
I should probably know 20 quotes from two books in particular: Per Anders Fogelström’s City of My Dreams and Göran Tunström’s The Christmas Oratio. One little problem, though – they were read for the International Baccalaureate final exams, which meant that we students memorised pages and pages of certain quotes. However, today I remember none.
Instead, my choice is:
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), George Orwell
”War is Peace
Slavery is Freedom
Ignorance is Strength”
Three lines, nine words, immortalised by George Orwell’s futuristic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The novel spews out words to underline, memorise, and regurgitate in political and philosophical discussions! Terms such as ”Big Brother”, ”Newspeak”, and ”Ministry of Peace/Plenty/Truth” are today used by people to describe widely spread political phenomena.
Since Orwell is such a hero of mine, I perhaps unconsciously have memorised his texts better than other texts. They sort of, stuck easier since I found them to be very accurate and intriguing. The quotes are often very political in their nature, hence it is not really the tattoo type of quote (as a friend described Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray), so my choice is not as universal as e.g. a more Shakespearean work would have been.
This work, together with Orwell’s other chef-d’oeuvre Animal Farm, has helped shape my political view and my perspective on life and society. Without a few strong quotes to put those insights on paper, perhaps I would not have loved them so much – hence, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is my choice of ”a book that I can quote/recite”.
Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare): ”I do bite my thumb”, ”Oh Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”, ”What? Drawn and talk of peace?”: Shakespeare revolutionised the English language, and many of his works have transpired into modern-day idioms, sayings, and general ”have-to-know” quotes.
Animal Farm (Orwell) – ”All animals are equal” turned into ”All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than other.”
David Copperfield (Charles Dickens) – ”Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show” – this epic bildungsroman is indeed quotable, although it should be more hailed in its sense of telling the story than the more quotable lines of the story.
A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens, again) – ”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the time of (…), it was the time of (…).”; A Tale of Two Cities is praised by many as Dickens’ best novel, which I am not sure about, but it is indeed a memorable, and quotable, one.
Le Petit Prince (Antoine de Saint-Éxupery) – France’s most sold novel ever is a children’s book, containing loads of universal quotes that gives the reader a moral lesson, and I am not quite sure but I would suspect that parents quote this novel in French-speaking countries, although we do not in the more Americanised world (to which I count Sweden belongs, as more of a relative measure towards the Francophone countries).