Tolstoy does not tell us how things look to the author; he tells us how they look to the characters. In short, he does not use simile and metaphor. (That astonishing assertion in Wood's review is what got me started reading Tolstoy in the first place. How can anyone write without using metaphor and simile? That would be like-never mind.)
John Mark Reynolds
You see, it's really quite simple. A simile is just a mode of comparison employing 'as' and 'like' to reveal the hidden character or essence of whatever we want to describe, and through the use of fancy, association, contrast, extension, or imagination, to enlarge our understanding or perception of human experience and observation.
May be its hard for others, but not for me; I am strong enough to deal with it. For my love' I am ready to sacrifice my pleasures, rest, everything I have and my entire life for nothing in return; not even a single simile and with all that feelings; I am not sure that, 'it is love' is it love?
Rana Zahid Iqbal
Poetic simile was strictly limited to statements like 'his mighty steed was as fleet as the wind on a fairly calm day, say about Force Three,' and any loose talk about a beloved having a face that launched a thousand ships would have to be backed by evidence that the object of desire did indeed look like a bottle of champagne.
How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know that refracted your own light at you? People were more often - he searched for a simile, found one in his work - torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people's faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?
I will not go so far as to say that to construct a history of thought without profound study of the mathematical ideas of successive epochs is like omitting Hamlet from the play which is named after him. That would be claiming too much. But it is certainly analogous to cutting out the part of Ophelia. This simile is singularly exact. For Ophelia is quite essential to the play, she is very charming . . . and a little mad.
Alfred North Whitehead
A broken heart in real life isn't half as dreadful as it is in books. It's a good deal like a bad tooth, though you won't think THAT a very romantic simile. It takes spells of aching and gives you a sleepless night now and then, but between times it lets you enjoy life and dreams and echoes and peanut candy as if there were nothing the matter with it.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
It is surprising to see what superficial, inconsequential reasonings satisfy the most part of mankind. A piece of wit, a jest, a simile, or a quotation of an Author, passes for a mighty argument.... This weakness and effeminacy of mankind in being persuaded where they are delighted, have made them the sport of orators, poets, and men of wit.
He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often-he searched for a simile, found one in his work-torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people's faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?
He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often--he searched for a simile, found one in his work--torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people's faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?
To me, it appears no unjust simile to compare the affairs of this great Continent to the mechanism of a clock, each state representing some one or other of the smaller parts of it which they are endeavoring to put in fine order without considering how useless & unavailing their labor is unless the great Wheel or Spring which is to set the whole in motion is also well attended to & kept in good order.
Coincidence obeys no laws and if it does we don't know what they are. Coincidence, if you'll permit me the simile, is like the manifestation of God at every moment on our planet. A senseless God making senseless gestures at his senseless creatures. In that hurricane, in that osseous implosion, we find communion.
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out always cut it out. Never use the passive voice where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
It's no use telling us that something was 'mysterious' or 'loathsome' or 'awe-inspiring' or 'voluptuous.' By direct description, by metaphor and simile, by secretly evoking powerful associations, by offering the right stimuli to our nerves (in the right degree and the right order), and by the very beat and vowel-melody and length and brevity of your sentences, you must bring it about that we, we readers, not you, exclaim, 'how mysterious!' or 'loathsome' or whatever it is. Let me taste for myself, and you'll have no need to tell me how I should react.
C. S. Lewis
Old Marley was as dead as a doornail. Mind! I don't mean to say that, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.
We all start out with the same alphabet. We are all unique. Talent is not the most important thing --- discipline and dedication are. Craft can be learned but desire and longing are innate. Despite the demands of school and just being young, try to write SOMETHING every day --- a description, a captured emotion, a simile, a metaphor. Read, for crying out loud! A writer must read the way a ball player must go to the ballfield every day to practice. Everything is possible in this world of ours--- and so's publication.
It is a curious fact, but a fact it is, that your witty people are the most hard-hearted in the world. The truth is, fancy destroys feeling. The quick eye to the ridiculous turns every thing to the absurd side; and the neat sentence, the lively allusion, and the odd simile, invest what they touch with something of their own buoyant nature. Humor is of the heart, and has its tears; but wit is of the head, and has only smiles - and the majority of those are bitter.
Letitia Elizabeth Landon
In qualche luogo, non lontano, cantava una donna. Dove e da che parte, era difficile capire. Il canto sommesso, lento, malinconico, simile a un pianto e percepibile appena, si faceva udire ora a destra ora a sinistra, ora dall'alto, ora sembrava sottoterra, come se dovunque nella steppa si librasse uno spirito invisibile, e cantasse.
A lacerare e lacerarsi ci vuole un attimo. La pelle tira, leggermente arrossata dai cerotti. Mi accarezzo e affiora un sorriso. Calore. Pace interna o una cosa simile. Mettere le cose al proprio posto. Le ferite che cicatrizzano sotto bendaggi maldestri tradiscono sempre. E allora, non guardatemi, vi prego non guardatemi, vi scongiuro non guardatemi. Non sono cose adatte a chi pue² respirare forte in un giorno di sole.
Valentina Di Martino
Very Like a Whale One thing that literature would be greatly the better for Would be a more restricted employment by authors of simile and metaphor. Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts, Can'ts seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else. What foes it mean when we are told That the Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold? In the first place, George Gordon Byron had had enough experience To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of Assyrians. However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and thus hinder longevity, We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity. Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a wolf on the fold? In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy there are a great many things, But i don't imagine that among then there is a wolf with purple and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings. No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof; Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof woof? Frankly I think it very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say, at the very most, Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host. But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them, With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them. That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets, from Homer to Tennyson; They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison, And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket after a winter storm. Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm, And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly, What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.
Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow, its hues are as various as the hues of that arch, -as distinct too, yet as intimately blended. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow! How is it that from beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness? -from the covenant of peace a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies which are have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been.
Edgar Allan Poe
Guardi, Cecile... [... ] In quale altro posto si pue² trovare un simile insieme di persone diverse? Ricchi e poveri di tutte le razze, di tanti paesi, dalle storie diverse, che credono in Dio, Jehovah, Allah, o che non credono in niente, come il miscredente che le parla? E giocano insieme, imparano gomito a gomito e fraternizzano? C'e¨ forse un altro posto in cui e‰glantine de Saint-Andre avrebbe la possibilite di incontrare Toussaint Baoule e di amarlo?
Come se nel cuore della natura di uno scrittore ci fosse la purezza. Il cielo aiuti un simile scrittore! Come se Joyce non avesse annusato oscenamente le mutande di Nora. Come se nell'anima di Dostoevskij non avesse mai bisbigliato Svidrigailov. Nel cuore della natura di uno scrittore c'e¨ il capriccio. Curiosite , fissazioni, isolamento, veleno, feticismo, austerite , leggerezza, perplessite , infantilismo eccetera. Il naso nella cucitura di un indumento intimo: ecco la natura dello scrittore. L'impurite.
As the station wagon pulled back onto the highway, the sun was slowly sinking below the horizon like a leaky boat. Well, except for that fact that boats are not generally round, orange and on fire. Hmm. Come to think of it, in no way whatsoever did the sun, in this instance, resemble a leaky boat. My apologies. That was a dreadful attempt at simile. Please allow me to try again. As the station wagon pulled back onto the highway, the sun was slowly sinking below the horizon like a self-luminous, gaseous sphere comprised mainly of of hydrogen and helium.
Sometimes I think that creativity is a matter of seeing, or stumbling over, unobvious similarities between things-like composing a fresh metaphor, but on a more complex scale. One night in Hiroshima it occurred to me that the moon behind a certain cloud formation looked very like a painkiller dissolving in a glass of water. I didn't work toward that simile, it was simply there: I was mugged, as it were, by the similarity between these two very different things. Literary composition can be a similar process. The writer's real world and the writer's fictional world are compared, and these comparisons turned into text. But other times literary composition can be a plain old slog, and nothing to do with zones or inspiration. It's world making and the peopling of those worlds, complete with time lines and heartache.
How would it alter Juliet's love perception to learn the sea is but a rounded jug of water? Would her sensuous analogy turned simple simile unveil to her the limits of herself? Or would she forget the ocean, that deplorable casket, and turn on the true bottomless tumbler, the only running tap: the sky? It may have lost the title 'heavens' when its gods were dethroned, but its infinity reigns. So long as you walk, it reigns. So long as I talk and you listen, there's a voice and ears to keep it active, moving, and reason to say: look! infinity lives. And when we and the other consciousnesses pass, though it in part dies with us, still it reigns. It will, in a sense, plod on, like a lifeless coffin through its own space, sails set for nothing, unstoppable when trailing its fabric.
Richard Ronald Allan
How very lovable her face was to him. Yet there was nothing ethereal about it; all was real vitality, real warmth, real incarnation. And it was in her mouth that this culminated. Eyes almost as deep and speaking he had seen before, and cheeks perhaps as fair; brows as arched, a chin and throat almost as shapely; her mouth he had seen nothing to equal on the face of the earth. To a young man with the least fire in him that little upward lift in the middle of her red top lip was distracting, infatuating, maddening. He had never before seen a woman's lips and teeth which forced upon his mind with such persistent iteration the old Elizabethan simile of roses filled with snow. Perfect, he, as a lover, might have called them off-hand. But no - they were not perfect. And it was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity.
To explain the matter I will employ a simile, which yet, I confess is very dissimilar; but its dissimilitude is greatly in favour of my sentiments. A rich man bestows, on a poor and famishing beggar, alms by which he may be able to maintain himself and his family. Does it cease to be a pure gift, because the beggar extends his hand to receive it? Can it be said with propriety, that 'the alms depended partly on THE LIBERALITY of the Donor, and partly on THE LIBERTY of the Receiver,' though the latter would not have possessed the alms unless he had received it by stretching out his hand? Can it be correctly said, BECAUSE THE BEGGAR IS ALWAYS PREPARED TO RECEIVE, that 'he can have the alms, or not have it, just as he pleases?' If these assertions cannot be truly made about a beggar who receives alms, how much less can they be made about the gift of faith, for the receiving of which far more acts of Divine Grace are required!
Nell'ascensore che li portava al settimo piano, Lacke si mise a piangere. Non silenziosamente, singhiozzava peggio di un bambino. Quando Larry apre¬ la porta dell'ascensore e spinse Lacke sul pianerottolo, il singhiozzo aumente² riecheggiando contro le pareti di cemento. Ora, era un urlo di dolore primordiale, smisurato, che riempiva tutti gli appartamenti, scivolando attraverso le buche delle lettere, i buchi delle serrature, trasformando l'intero palazzo in un grande monumento eretto in memoria dell'amore. Larry rabbrivide¬, non aveva mai sentito niente di simile prima. Non si piangeva cose¬. Non si doveva piangere cose¬. Se si piangeva cose¬ si moriva.
John Ajvide Lindqvist
Fast reading of a great novel will get us the plot. It will get us names, a shadowy idea of characters, a sketch of settings. It will not get us subtleties, small differentiations, depth of emotion and observation, multilayered human experience, the appreciation of simile and metaphor, any sense of context, any comparison with other novels, other writers. Fast reading will not get us cadence and complexities of style and language. It will not get us anything that enters not just the conscious mind but the unconscious. It will not allow the book to burrow down into our memory and become part of ourselves, the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom and vicarious experience which helps to form us as complete human beings. It will not develop our awareness or add to the sum of our knowledge and intelligence. Read parts of a newspaper quickly or an encyclopaedia entry, or a fast-food thriller, but do not insult yourself or a book which has been created with its author's painstakingly acquired skill and effort, by seeing how fast you can dispose of it.
The poem or the discovery exists in two moments of vision: the moment of appreciation as much as that of creation; for the appreciator must see the movement, wake to the echo which was started in the creation of the work. In the moment of appreciation we live again the moment when the creator saw and held the hidden likeness. When a simile takes us aback and persuades us together, when we find a juxtaposition in a picture both odd and intriguing, when a theory is at once fresh and convincing, we do not merely nod over someone else's work. We re-enact the creative act, and we ourselves make the discovery again... Reality is not an exhibit for man's inspection, labeled: "Do not touch." There are no appearances to be photographed, no experiences to be copied, in which we do not take part. We re-make nature by the act of discovery, in the poem or in the theorem. And the great poem and the deep theorem are new to every reader, and yet are his own experiences, because he himself re-creates them. They are the marks of unity in variety; and in the instant when the mind seizes this for itself, in art or in science, the heart misses a beat.
Let us return for a moment to Lady Lovelace's objection, which stated that the machine can only do what we tell it to do. One could say that a man can "inject" an idea into the machine, and that it will respond to a certain extent and then drop into quiescence, like a piano string struck by a hammer. Another simile would be an atomic pile of less than critical size: an injected idea is to correspond to a neutron entering the pile from without. Each such neutron will cause a certain disturbance which eventually dies away. If, however, the size of the pile is sufficiently increased, the disturbance caused by such an incoming neutron will very likely go on and on increasing until the whole pile is destroyed. Is there a corresponding phenomenon for minds, and is there one for machines? There does seem to be one for the human mind. The majority of them seem to be "sub critical, " i.e. to correspond in this analogy to piles of sub-critical size. An idea presented to such a mind will on average give rise to less than one idea in reply. A smallish proportion are supercritical. An idea presented to such a mind may give rise to a whole "theory" consisting of secondary, tertiary and more remote ideas. Animals' minds seem to be very definitely sub-critical. Adhering to this analogy we ask, "Can a machine be made to be super-critical?
Rapture I can feel she has got out of bed. That means it is seven a.m. I have been lying with eyes shut, thinking, or possibly dreaming, of how she might look if, at breakfast, I spoke about the hidden place in her which, to me, is like a soprano's tremolo, and right then, over toast and bramble jelly, if such things are possible, she came. I imagine she would show it while trying to conceal it. I imagine her hair would fall about her face and she would become apparently downcast, as she does at a concert when she is moved. The hypnopompic play passes, and I open my eyes and there she is, next to the bed, bending to a low drawer, picking over various small smooth black, white, and pink items of underwear. She bends so low her back runs parallel to the earth, but there is no sway in it, there is little burden, the day has hardly begun. The two mounds of muscles for walking, leaping, lovemaking, lift toward the east-what can I say? Simile is useless; there is nothing like them on earth. Her breasts fall full; the nipples are deep pink in the glare shining up through the iron bars of the gate under the earth where those who could not love press, wanting to be born again. I reach out and take her wrist and she falls back into bed and at once starts unbuttoning my pajamas. Later, when I open my eyes, there she is again, rummaging in the same low drawer. The clock shows eight. Hmmm. With huge, silent effort of great, mounded muscles the earth has been turning. She takes a piece of silken cloth from the drawer and stands up. Under the falls of hair her face has become quiet and downcast, as if she will be, all day among strangers, looking down inside herself at our rapture.
Le passioni umane sono una cosa molto misteriosa e per i bambini le cose non stanno diversamente che per i grandi. Coloro che ne vengono colpiti non le sanno spiegare, e coloro che non hanno mai provato nulla di simile non le possono comprendere. Ci sono persone che mettono in gioco la loro esistenza per raggiungere la vetta di una montagna. A nessuno, neppure a se stessi, potrebbero realmente spiegare perche lo fanno. Altri si rovinano per conquistare il cuore di una persona che non ne vuole sapere di loro. E altri ancora vanno in rovina perche non sanno resistere ai piaceri della gola, o a quelli della bottiglia. Alcuni buttano tutti i loro beni nel gioco, oppure sacrificano ogni cosa per un'idea fissa, che mai potre diventare realte. Altri credono di poter essere felici soltanto in un luogo diverso da quello dove si trovano e cose¬ passano la vita girando il mondo. E altri ancora non trovano pace fino a quando non hanno ottenuto il potere. Insomma, ci sono tante e diverse passioni, quante e diverse sono le persone. Per Bastiano Baldassare Bucci la passione erano i libri.
The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree.I believe this simile largely speaks the truth. The green and budding twigs may represent existing species; and those produced during former years may represent the long succession of extinct species. At each period of growth all the growing twigs have tried to branch out on all sides, and to overtop and kill the surrounding twigs and branches, in the same manner as species and groups of species have at all times overmastered other species in the great battle for life. The limbs divided into great branches, and these into lesser and lesser branches, were themselves once, when the tree was young, budding twigs; and this connection of the former and present buds by ramifying branches may well represent the classification of all extinct and living species in groups subordinate to groups. Of the many twigs which flourished when the tree was a mere bush, only two or three, now grown into great branches, yet survive and bear the other branches; so with the species which lived during long-past geological periods, very few have left living and modified descendants. From the first growth of the tree, many a limb and branch has decayed and dropped off; and these fallen branches of various sizes may represent those whole orders, families, and genera which have now no living representatives, and which are known to us only in a fossil state. As we here and there see a thin straggling branch springing from a fork low down in a tree, and which by some chance has been favoured and is still alive on its summit, so we occasionally see an animal like the Ornithorhynchus or Lepidosiren, which in some small degree connects by its affinities two large branches of life, and which has apparently been saved from fatal competition by having inhabited a protected station. As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications.
When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature. If a writer can make people live there may be no great characters in his book, but it is possible that his book will remain as a whole; as an entity; as a novel. If the people the writer is making talk of old masters; of music; of modern painting; of letters; or of science then they should talk of those subjects in the novel. If they do not talk of these subjects and the writer makes them talk of them he is a faker, and if he talks about them himself to show how much he knows then he is showing off. No matter how good a phrase or a simile he may have if he puts it in where it is not absolutely necessary and irreplaceable he is spoiling his work for egotism. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over. For a writer to put his own intellectual musings, which he might sell for a low price as essays, into the mouths of artificially constructed characters which are more remunerative when issued as people in a novel is good economics, perhaps, but does not make literature. People in a novel, not skillfully constructed characters, must be projected from the writer's assimilated experience, from his knowledge, from his head, from his heart and from all there is of him. If he ever has luck as well as seriousness and gets them out entire they will have more than one dimension and they will last a long time. A good writer should know as near everything as possible. Naturally he will not. A great enough writer seems to be born with knowledge. But he really is not; he has only been born with the ability to learn in a quicker ratio to the passage of time than other men and without conscious application, and with an intelligence to accept or reject what is already presented as knowledge. There are some things which cannot be learned quickly and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man's life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave. Every novel which is truly written contributes to the total of knowledge which is there at the disposal of the next writer who comes, but the next writer must pay, always, a certain nominal percentage in experience to be able to understand and assimilate what is available as his birthright and what he must, in turn, take his departure from. If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. A writer who appreciates the seriousness of writing so little that he is anxious to make people see he is formally educated, cultured or well-bred is merely a popinjay. And this too remember; a serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
Eliot's understanding of poetic epistemology is a version of Bradley's theory, outlined in our second chapter, that knowing involves immediate, relational, and transcendent stages or levels. The poetic mind, like the ordinary mind, has at least two types of experience: The first consists largely of feeling (falling in love, smelling the cooking, hearing the noise of the typewriter), the second largely of thought (reading Spinoza). The first type of experience is sensuous, and it is also to a great extent monistic or immediate, for it does not require mediation through the mind; it exists before intellectual analysis, before the falling apart of experience into experiencer and experienced. The second type of experience, in contrast, is intellectual (to be known at all, it must be mediated through the mind) and sharply dualistic, in that it involves a breaking down of experience into subject and object. In the mind of the ordinary person, these two types of experience are and remain disparate. In the mind of the poet, these disparate experiences are somehow transcended and amalgamated into a new whole, a whole beyond and yet including subject and object, mind and matter. Eliot illustrates his explanation of poetic epistemology by saying that John Donne did not simply feel his feelings and think his thoughts; he felt his thoughts and thought his feelings. He was able to "feel his thought as immediately as the odour of a rose." Immediately" in this famous simile is a technical term in philosophy, used with precision; it means unmediated through mind, unshattered into subject and object. Falling in love and reading Spinoza typify Eliot's own experiences in the years in which he was writing The Waste Land. These were the exciting and exhausting years in which he met Vivien Haigh-Wood and consummated a disastrous marriage, the years in which he was deeply involved in reading F. H. Bradley, the years in which he was torn between the professions of philosophy and poetry and in which he was in close and frequent contact with such brilliant and stimulating figures as Bertrand Russell and Ezra Pound, the years of the break from his family and homeland, the years in which in every area of his life he seemed to be between broken worlds. The experiences of these years constitute the material of The Waste Land. The relevant biographical details need not be reviewed here, for they are presented in the introduction to The Waste Land Facsimile. For our purposes, it is only necessary to acknowledge what Eliot himself acknowledged: the material of art is always actual life. At the same time, it should also be noted that material in itself is not art. As Eliot argued in his review of Ulysses, "in creation you are responsible for what you can do with material which you must simply accept." For Eliot, the given material included relations with and observations of women, in particular, of his bright but seemingly incurably ill wife Vivien(ne).
Jewel Spears Brooker