GALLERY OF QUOTATIONS

FROM
U.VA's ELECTRONIC TEXT CENTER / MODERN ENGLISH COLLECTION
AND OTHER SOURCES



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"Let's face it -- think of Africa, and the first images that come to mind are of war,
poverty, famine and flies. How many of us really know anything at all about the truly great ancient African civilizations, which in their day, were just as splendid and glorious as any on the face of the earth? Join me on the journey from Zanzibar to Timbuktu, the Nile River
Valley to Great Zimbabwe, the slave coast of Guinea to the medieval monasteries of
Ethiopia in search of the lost wonders of the African world. Shall we begin?"

-- Henry Louis Gates, Wonders of the African World (2000)


"Lamprey has made a minute examination of the much-spoken-of "Horned Men of Africa.'' He found that this anomaly was caused by a congenital malformation and remarkable development of the infraorbital ridge of the maxillary bone. He described several cases, and through an interpreter found that they were congenital, followed no history of traumatism, caused little inconvenience, and were unassociated with disturbance of the sense of smell. He also learned that the deformity was quite rare in the Cape Coast region, and received no information tending to prove the conjecture that the tribes in West Africa used artificial means to produce the anomaly, although such custom is prevalent among many aborigines."

-- George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle, Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (1896)



"The committee are accused of having sent out bricks and stones from England for the reparation of Cape Coast Castle on the coast of Guinea, a business for which parliament had several times granted an extraordinary sum of money. These bricks and stones too, which had thus been sent upon so long a voyage, were said to have been of so bad a quality, that it was necessary to rebuild from the foundation the walls which had been repaired with them. The forts and garrisons which lie north of Cape Rouge, are not only maintained at the expence of the state, but are under the immediate government of the executive power; and why those which lie south of that Cape, and which too are, in part at least, maintained at the expence of the state, should be under a different government, it seems not very easy even to imagine a good reason."

-- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations (1776)



"He saw a great deal of the people of his day, and was apparently an estimable personage; but as a raconteur he is unpardonably dull and colorless. His literary importance may be measured by the fact that the performance in which he took most satisfaction was his standing godfather to much of the poetic progeny of the prolific but now forgotten "L. E. L." This lady is chiefly remembered by the tragical circumstances of her death (she poisoned herself, if we are not mistaken, at Cape Coast Castle, in Africa, where, after having married an officer in the English army, she had gone to live).

-- Henry James, English Writers, 1864-1914


WILEY & PUTNAM'S
LIBRARY OF AMERICAN BOOKS
No. I.
JOURNAL OF AN AFRICAN CRUISER.
Journal of an African Cruiser. Edited by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 1 vol.,
beautifully printed, 50 cents.

"To our recollection, the last dozen years have only produced three books touching upon Western Africa; that of Holman, the blind traveller, who called at Sierra Leone and Cape Coast Castle, but of course saw nothing; Ranken's `White Man's Grave,' which was confined to Sierra Leone, and which preferred the attractions of literary
effect to solid accuracy; with Dr. Madden's semi-official reports, which were obnoxious to the same remark with a bias superadded. Hence, the`Journal of an African Cruiser' is not only fresh in its subject, but informing in its matter, especially in relation to the experiment of Liberia. It has the further advantage of giving us an American view of the slave trade and the Negro character, without the prejudices of the southern planter, or the fanaticism of the abolitionist."

London Atlas


"The religious ideas which the Negroes brought with them to America from Africa were the fragments of a system of thought and custom, which, in its general features, is common to most barbarous people. What we call "fetichism" is, I suppose, merely the childish way of looking at and explaining the world, which did not, in the case of the people of West Africa, preclude a belief in the one true God, although He was regarded by them as far away and not interested in the little affairs of men."

-- Booker T. Washington, The Religious Life of the Negro (1905)




Winston's heart stirred. That was the bulletin from the front; instinct told him that it was bad news that was coming. All day, with little spurts of excitement, the thought of a smashing defeat in Africa had been in and out of his mind. He seemed actually to see the Eurasian army swarming across the never-broken frontier and pouring down into the tip of Africa like a column of ants. Why had it not been possible to outflank them in some way? The outline of the West African coast stood out vividly in his mind. He picked up the white knight and moved it across the board. There was the proper spot. Even while he saw the black horde racing southward he saw another force, mysteriously assembled, suddenly planted in their rear, cutting their comunications by land and sea. He felt that by willing it he was bringing that other force into existence. But it was necessary to act quickly. If they could get control of the whole of Africa, if they had airfields and submarine bases at the Cape, it would cut Oceania in two. It might mean anything: defeat, breakdown, the redivision of the world, the destruction of the Party! He drew a deep breath. An extraordinary medley of feeling-but it was not a medley, exactly; rather it was successive layers of feeling, in which one could not say which layer was undermost struggled inside him.

-- George Orwell, 1984 (1949)


"So the man groped for light; all this was not Life, -- it was the world-wandering of a soul in search of itself, the striving of one who vainly sought his place in the world, ever haunted by the shadow of a death that is more than death, -- the passing of a soul that has missed its duty. Twenty years he wandered, -- twenty years and more; and yet the hard rasping question kept gnawing within him, "What, in God's name, am I on earth for?" In the narrow New York parish his soul seemed cramped and smothered. In the fine old air of the English University he heard the millions wailing over the sea. In the wild fever-cursed swamps of West Africa he stood helpless and alone. You will not wonder at his weird pilgrimage, -- you who in the swift whirl of living, amid its cold paradox and marvellous vision, have fronted life and asked its riddle face to face."

-- W.E.B. DuBois, Souls of Black Folk (1901)


"And so the Colonial Office appointed John Clayton to a new post in British West Africa, but his confidential instructions centered on a thorough investigation of the unfair treatment of black British subjects by the officers of a friendly European power. Why he was sent, is, however, of little moment to this story, for he never made an investigation, nor, in fact, did he ever reach his destination."

-- Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes (1914)


"I may give one other case: so confidently did I expect to find gradations in important points of structure between the different castes of neuters in the same species, that I gladly availed myself of Mr F. Smith's offer of numerous specimens from the same nest of the driver ant (Anomma) of West Africa. The reader will perhaps best appreciate the amount of difference in these workers, by my giving not the actual measurements, but a strictly accurate illustration: the difference was the same as if we were to see a set of workmen building a house of whom many were five feet four inches high, and many sixteen feet high; but we must suppose that the larger workmen had heads four instead of three times as big as those of the smaller men, and jaws nearly five times as big."

--Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 1859


"Miss Kingsley, in her "West African Studies", tells us that if we desire to understand the institutions of this district, we must study the native's religion. For his religion has so firm a grasp upon his mind that it influences everything he does. it is not a thing apart, as the religion of the Europeans is at times. The African cannot say, "Oh, that is all right from a religious point of view, but one must be practical." To be practical, to get on in the world, to live the day and night through, he must be right in the religious point of view, namely, must be on working terms with the great world of spirits around him. The knowledge of this spirit world constitutes the religion of the African, and his customs and ceremonies arise from his idea of the best way to influence it."

-- Upton Sinclair, The Profits of Religion: An Essay in Economic Interpretation (1918)


"All sorts of things we're going to do," said Capes; "all sorts of times we're going to have. Sooner or later we'll certainly do something to clean those prisons you told me about -- limewash the underside of life. You and I. We can love on a snow cornice, we can love over a pail of whitewash. Love anywhere. Anywhere! Moonlight and music -- pleasing, you know, but quite unnecessary. We met dissecting dogfish. . . . Do you remember your first day with me? . . . Do you indeed remember? The smell of decay and cheap methylated spirit! . . . My dear! we've had so many moments! I used to go over the times we'd had together, the things we'd said -- like a rosary of beads. But now it's beads by the cask -- like the hold of a West African trader. It feels like too much gold-dust clutched in one's hand. One doesn't want to lose a grain. And one must -- some of it must slip through one's fingers."

-- H.G. Wells, Ann Veronica: A Modern Love Story (1909)


"We were talking about nerve just now," observes the surgeon. "Just after my qualifying I served in the Navy for a time, as I think you know. I was on the flag-ship on the West African Station, and I remember a singular example of nerve which came to my notice at that time. One of our small gunboats had gone up the Calabar river, and while there the surgeon died of coast fever. On the same day a man's leg was broken by a spar falling upon it, and it became quite obvious that it must be taken off above the knee if his life was to be saved. The young lieutenant who was in charge of the craft searched among the dead doctor's effects and laid his hands upon some chloroform, a hip-joint knife, and a volume of Grey's Anatomy. He had the man laid by the steward upon the cabin table, and with a picture of a cross section of the thigh in front of him he began to take off the limb. Every now and then, referring to the diagram, he would say: `Stand by with the lashings, steward. There's blood on the chart about here.' Then he would jab with his knife until he cut the artery, and he and his assistant would tie it up before they went any further. In this way they gradually whittled the leg off, and upon my word they made a very excellent job of it. The man is hopping about the Portsmouth Hard at this day."

-- Arthur Conan Doyle, Round the Red Lamp, 1894