Literary Quotations
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QUOTES ON INSANITY


Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity. In pronounced cases there is no question about them. But in some supposed cases, in various degrees supposedly less pronounced, to draw the exact line of demarkation few will undertake tho' for a fee some professional experts will. There is nothing namable but that some men will undertake to do it for pay.

HERMAN MELVILLE, Billy Budd

We are all born mad. Some remain so.

SAMUEL BECKETT, Waiting for Godot

One can make the insane believe anything, just because they are receptive to everything.

AUGUST STRINDBERG, The Father

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, A Midsummer Night's Dream

I owe my complete restoration to a discovery I made while being treated at that particular very expensive sanatorium. I discovered there was an endless source of robust enjoyment in trifling with psychiatrists: cunningly leading them on; never letting them see that you know all the tricks of the trade; inventing for them elaborate dreams, pure classics in style (which make them, the dream-extortionists, dream and wake up shrieking); teasing them with fake "primal scenes"; and never allowing them the slightest glimpse of one's real sexual predicament.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Lolita

Reason in madness!

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, King Lear

At one time people conveniently "went mad" and were never heard from again. Like a character in a romantic novel. But now ... you are too hip to yourself on a psychological level. You all are too intimate with too many of the symptoms of insanity to be caught completely off your guard.

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.

PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

The distinction between sanity and insanity is narrower than the razor's edge, sharper than a hound's tooth, more agile than a mule deer. It is more elusive than the merest phantom. Perhaps it does not even exist; perhaps it is a phantom.

PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

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