Esther liked books out where everyone could see them

“Esther liked books out where everyone could see them, a sort of graphic index to the intricate labyrinth of her mind arrayed to impress the most casual guest, a system of immediate introduction which she had found to obtain in a number of grimy intellectual households in Greenwich Village. Her husband, on the other hand, did not seem to care where his books were, so long as they were where he put them.”

— William Gaddis, The Recognitions

she deceived herself ludicrously

“Now, confession of the truth was the last thing that would occur to Mrs Yule when social relations were concerned. Her whole existence was based on bold denial of actualities. And, as is natural in such persons, she had the ostrich instinct strongly developed; though very acute in the discovery of her friends’ shams and lies, she deceived herself ludicrously in the matter of concealing her own embarrassments.”

— George Gissing, New Grub Street

the writing of the dead

(But there’s no need to apologize. Writings left behind by the dead can’t always be taken at face value as inevitably relating the truth. Those who are going to die have jealousies and envies that are incomprehensible to those who remain. Among them are those perverse ones whose hatred for the empty promises of “truth” cuts to the bone and who at best nail the coffin lid on with lies. One can’t very well swallow the bait whole by just claiming it is the writing of the dead.)

Kobo Abe, The Box Man

a kind of trouser society

A pair of trousers. If I were just in trousers, somehow I could go out into the world. It would make no difference whether I was naked from the waist up and my feet bare just as long as I had trousers on. Otherwise if you go walking around the streets without trousers, no matter how new your shoes and how elegant your coat, it’s enough to raise a big hue and cry. Enlightened society is a kind of trouser society.

Kobo Abe, The Box Man