Even More Aphorisms by Aleksandar Krzavac

I’ve blogged about Aleksandar Krzavac’s aphorisms before, once in 2009 and once in 2007. He is a Serbian journalist, illustrator and playwright. He is the author of the satirical play Ludi I Zbunjeni (Crazed and Confused People), and his cartoons (sometimes erotic) have appeared widely in Serbian newspapers and magazines. Krzavac is a member of the Belgrade Aphoristic Circle and some of his sayings are featured in the film Goodbye, How Are You?, an excellent documentary about that group. Here’s a selection of his latest:

You do not need to stand on your head to get a different view of world.

History is written in blood. Only the signatures are in ink.

Heaven and Hell have been united; they are now a border-free zone.

Robots will make great aphorists. They like to communicate in short sentences.

Aphorisms by James Guida

Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the always enlightening ursprache blog as well as the aphoristically amazing Tramp Freighter, sends news of James Guida, an Australian aphorist who now lives in New York City: “His aphorisms show the marks of having studied both philosophy and literature. A collection of his aphorisms, Marbles,was published by Turtle Point Press in 2009. It took me a while to engage James Guida’s aphorisms. At first, I found them a bit slack for a form that often relies on one line pulled taut. Too many were built with two sentences when it seemed one would do. But a third of the way into the Marbles, my opinion shifted and I felt myself becoming more attuned to Guida’s wry sensibility and his casually self-revealing voice. Also, I realized the two-sentence approach was not always doing the same thing; it was working things out in different ways. Sometimes the second sentence was reflection, sometimes an elaboration, sometimes an inflection of the first line. Here few from his collection:”

There is after all a criminal aspect to Solitude. It too would like to snuff out the witnesses.

How incredibly little a person has to know in order to live, and how incredibly much he has to know without knowing it.

Perfectly good fruit, simply in being bumped about by chance, indifferently sniffed at, idly handled and overlooked, is sometimes gradually made unfit for those who would otherwise choose it. So it is with lovers.

I’ve noticed that I rarely make the same mistake twice. I make it a little differently each time.

Few things disclose a person’s own colors more than their behavior with those they consider a little green.

Nothing less interesting than the conversation meant to be overheard.

Some people are distinguished by the fact that, meeting them alone, it’s impossible to imagine what their spouses look like.

Aphorisms by Logan Pearsall Smith

Logan Pearsall Smith (Geary’s Guide pp. 173–174) described aphorisms as “x-rays of observation.” His father was an evangelical Quaker and his mother a best-selling author of inspirational literature, so it’s no wonder the young Logan Pearsall became an obsessive collector of aphorisms. He specialized in English–language aphorists, compiling an important anthology and writing monographs about unjustly neglected practitioners of the form. Although an American, Smith lived almost his entire adult life in London, where he became known as an essayist and critic. As a young man in Philadelphia, he knew Walt Whitman, from nearby Camden, New Jersey. One of his sisters married Bertrand Russell (GG p. 346), and Smith once employed Cyril Connolly (GG pp. 29–30) as an assistant. Smith wrote what is, for me, one of the all-time great aphorisms:

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.

Though his aphoristic output was small, there are a relatively high rate of keepers, such these, culled from a recent reading of All Trivia:

Aphorisms are salted and not sugared almonds at Reason’s feast.

He who goes against the fashion is himself its slave.

A best-seller is the gilded tomb of a mediocre talent.

If you are losing your leisure, look out! You may be losing your soul.

The notion of making money by popular work, and then retiring to do good work on the proceeds, is the most familiar of all the devil’s traps for artists.

How many of our daydreams would darken into nightmares, were there a danger of their coming true!

Solvency is entirely a matter of temperament.

Aphorisms by Edward Bulwer–Lytton

I said in my previous post that Edward Bulwer–Lytton was a pretty respectable aphorist but failed to give any examples of his aphoristic respectability. I do so here. Surprisingly, perhaps, in addition to composing what has come to be universally regarded as the most awful opening line of any novel ever written, Bulwer–Lytton is also credited with composing some of the best phrases in the English language, including “the pen is mightier than the sword,” “the great unwashed” and the “pursuit of the almighty dollar.” For more aphorisms, see pp. 184-186 of Geary’s Guide.

One of the surest evidences of friendship that one individual can display to another is telling him gently of a fault. If any other can excel it, it is listening to such a disclosure with gratitude, and amending the error.

You believe that easily which you hope for earnestly.

The easiest person to deceive is one’s self.

Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.