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Janet Flanner

  • Proust has been dead since 1922, yet the annual appearance of his posthumous works has left him, to the reader, alive. Now there is nothing left to publish. Five years after his interment, Proust seems dead for the first time.

    • Janet Flanner,
    • in The New Yorker ()
  • ... history looks queer when you're standing close to it, watching where it is coming from and how it is being made.

    • Janet Flanner,
    • in The New Yorker ()
  • This period has brought about the greatest, most terrible, and most destructive migration of modern times, a movement of men, women, and children trekking across Europe in flight from other men, women, and children ... Whether they go north, south, east, or west, they head toward poverty.

    • Janet Flanner,
    • in The New Yorker ()
  • For five years [1939-1944] Europe has been the victim of cannibalism, with one country trying to eat the other countries, trying to eat the grain, the meat, the oil, the steel, the liberties, the governments, and the men of all the others. The half-consumed corpses of ideologies and of the civilians who believed in them have rotted the soil of Europe, and in this day of the most luxurious war machinery the world has ever seen, the inhabitants of the continent's capital cities have been reduced to the primitive problems of survival, of finding something to eat, of hatred, of revenge, of fawning, of being for and against themselves or someone else, and of hiding, like savages with ration cards.

  • [On World War II:] The war, which destroyed so much of everything, was also constructive, in a way. It established clearly the cold, and finally unhypocritical fact that the most important thing on earth to men today is money.

  • The stench of human wreckage in which the Nazi regime finally sank down to defeat has been the most shocking fact of modern times.

  • General de Gaulle is very pituitary these days, to judge by his increased appearance at his recent, and important, press conference. ... Time, weight, and, evidently, the General's glands are giving his visage a heavy, royal outline; he looks more like a man of dynasty than of destiny.

  • In the Rue du Faubourg-St.-Denis, there is a two-hundred-yard stretch of food shops and street barrows. ... In the charcuteries there is a mosaic of every known dainty — turkey pâté, truffled pigs' trotters, chicken in half mourning, whole goose livers, boar's-snout jelly, and fresh truffles in their fragile bronze husks. In the poultry shops, there are indescribable inner items and blood sausages. At the fish stalls, there are costly deep-sea oysters and enormous, hairy sea spiders, to be buried in mayonnaise. The street barrows are filled with bearded leeks and potential salads. The Rue du Faubourg-St.-Denis is not a rich district of the city, but these days it offers a Lucullan supply. Food is still what Parisians buy if they can. It is a nervous means of getting satisfaction, a holdover from the lean years of the Occupation.

  • Genius is a talent only for living, those who possess it have little gift for dying.

  • ... people who don't want something are less likely to get it than people who do want something.

  • I keep going over a sentence. I nag it, gnaw it, pat it and flatter it.

    • Janet Flanner,
    • in Lost General Journal ()
  • I act as a sponge. I soak it up and squeeze it out in ink every two weeks.

    • Janet Flanner,
    • in Lost General Journal ()
  • Genius is immediate, but talent takes time.

    • Janet Flanner
  • [Charles de Gaulle] has been abysmally careless, like a man running a bus over mountains, who forgot to equip it with good brakes.

    • Janet Flanner

Janet Flanner, U.S. journalist, war correspondent, writer

(1892 - 1978)

She generally signed her articles and wrote as Genêt.