Category Archives: Quotes

Quotes, from a variety of sources, related to teaching and learning–somewhat more loosely defined than in other categories on Mark’s Text Terminal.

Rotten Reviews: Raymond Carver

“There is nothing here to appease a reader’s basic literary needs.”

Atlantic Monthly

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Write it Right: Allude to for Mention

Allude to for Mention. What is alluded to is not mentioned, but referred to indirectly. Originally, the word implied a playful, or sportive reference. That meaning is gone out of it.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Down and Out in Paris and London

Down and Out in Paris and LondonAn autobiographical study (1933) by George Orwell (1903-50), the author’s first published book. It is an account of working with the poor in London’s East End, and performing menial jobs in a working-class district of Paris, while trying to get his writing published. A useful piece of advice in the book is to stick to the cheaper restaurants in Paris, as in the more glamorous establishments the waiters are likely to spit in the soup.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Mark Twain on the Sacred and the Profane

“Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”

Mark Twain

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Term of Art: Psychosocial Stressor

psychosocial stressor: n. Any life event or change, such as divorce, marriage, bereavement, loss or change of a job, or moving house, that causes stress and may be associated with the onset or deterioration of a mental disorder. See also adjustment disorder.”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

7 Chemicals of Alchemist’s Arcana

“Sulphuric Acid * Iron Oxide * Sodium Carbonate * Sodium Nitrate * Liquor Hepatis * Red Pulvis Solaris * Black Pulvis Solaris

The alchemist’s vocabulary does not always translate directly into a modern formula. They were keen on Natron, which was a generic word that included both the salts of sodium carbonate and sodium nitrate. Vitriol, however, is what we know as sulphuric acid and Aqua Fortis was nitric acid. Black pulvis solaris was formed from ground black antimony (stibnite–a sulphide of antimony) mixed with ground sulphur. Red pulvis solaris was a mixture of mercury (which could be extracted by heating cinnabar) and sulphur.

The alchemists also made a strong connection between the seven prime metals and the planets. The sun was linked to gold, the moon to silver, Mars to iron, Mercury to quicksilver, Saturn to lead, Jupiter to tin, and Venus to copper.

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.


“Malediction (noun): An invoking of evil or harm upon somebody or something; pronounced curse; evil talk or slander. Adjective: maledictive, maledictory.

‘He caught up the empty pewter mug at his right and threw it at the clumsy lad with a malediction.’

Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.