There is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy. The arguments take so odd and surprising a form; the weapons used seem so childishly simple when compared with the far-reaching results; but there is no escape from the conclusions.
G.H. Hardy, "A Mathematician's Apology"
To capture the multiplicity of relations that link (and divide) past from present, the critic needs all the formal resources possible. Multiple perspectives, intertextuality, self-reflexivity, palimpsest structure, and recursive narratives can help one respond to the complexity of cultural history. One needs writing strategies that are equal to the uncanniness of history, the anachronistic, the untimely, the thick knots of connection. One needs the resourcefulness of a bricoleur and the irreverence of a hacker.
Jay Clayton, Charles Dickens in Cyberspace
If we’re lucky, we become scrapbook reflections somehow greater than ourselves, but time is one-way glass, so we want memories like blessings: close our eyes and watch them pass.
The centrally exciting and important fact, from which ramify the thousand others which otherwise would have no clear and valid existence, is: that was the way it was. What could be more moving, more significant or true: every force and hidden chance in the universe has so combined that a certain thing was the way it was.
James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men