It is not proper to project our feelings onto things or to attribute our own sensations and passions to them. Can it also be improper to see in them a guide, a way of life?
It has always surprised me that in a world of relations as hard as that of the United States, cordiality constantly springs out like water from an unstanchable fountain.
Wit invents; inspiration reveals. The inventions of wit are conceits – metaphors and paradoxes – that discover the secret correspondences that unite beings and things among and with themselves; inspiration is condemned to dissipate its revelations – unless a form can be found to contain them.
Fixity is always momentary. But how can it always be so? If it were, it would not be momentary – or would not be fixity.
Abstract painting seeks to be a pure pictorial language, and thus attempts to escape the essential impurity of all languages: the recourse to signs or forms that have meanings shared by everyone.
A work survives its readers; after a hundred or two hundred years, it is read by new readers who impose on it new modes of reading and interpretation. The work survives because of these interpretations, which are, in fact, resurrections: without them, there would be no work.
Words are things, but things which mean. We cannot do away with meaning without doing away with signs, that is, with language itself. Moreover, we would have to do away with the universe. All the things man touches are impregnated with meaning.
Man, it seems to me, is not in history: he is history.
Social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings.
An understanding of Sor Juana’s work must include an understanding of the prohibitions her work confronts. Her speech leads us to what cannot be said, what cannot be said to an orthodoxy, the orthodoxy to a tribunal, and the tribunal to a sentence.