The Moronic Inferno

15th February 2010

I’ve read a lot of Martin Amis. I find his fiction off putting, but I keep reading because his work makes me want to take another pass at everything I write. The Moronic Inferno is a collection of his non-fiction essays, which I recommend. These are the parts I wanted to remember:

“Terrible things happen all the time. This is the terrible thing.”

“What’s the difference between $75 million and $150 million? Hardly any difference, surely, in our terms. But in the life of pure money $75 million and $150 million are chalk and cheese. What’s the difference? The difference is $75 million.”

of Truman Capote:
“‘The name’s Tony, isn’t it?’ he croaked.
‘No. Martin,’ I said, trying to make Martin sound quite like Tony.”

“From the point of view of ostentation — well, the house had a monogrammed marble driveway, and went on from there.”

“Miss Didion’s style relishes emphasis, repetition, re-emphasis. Her style likes looking at the same things from different angles. Her style likes starting and ending successive sentences with identical phrases.”

“Hef took the stage. For a man who never goes out, who rises at mid-afternoon, who wanders his draped mansion in slippers and robe (whose lifestyle, on paper, resembles nothing so much as a study in terminal depression)< Hef looks good -- surprisingly, even scandalously so." "Many times in Bellow's novels, we are reminding that 'being human' isn't the automatic condition of every human being." Vocabulary

amour propre
Respect for oneself; self-esteem.

beau monde
the world of fashion and society

squib
a short and witty or sarcastic saying or writing.

obsequy
a funeral rite or ceremony

traduce
to speak maliciously and falsely of; slander; defame:

blancmange
a sweet pudding prepared with almond milk and gelatin and flavored with rum or kirsch.

etiolate
to cause (a plant) to whiten or grow pale by excluding light: to etiolate celery.

quango
a semi-public advisory and administrative body supported by the government and having most of its members appointed by the government.

imposture
the action or practice of imposing fraudulently upon others.

voluptuary
a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit and enjoyment of luxury and sensual pleasure.

argot
a specialized idiomatic vocabulary peculiar to a particular class or group of people, esp. that of an underworld group, devised for private communication and identification: a Restoration play rich in thieves’ argot.

Troilism (sometimes spelled triolism)
refers to the erotic interest in watching one’s romantic partner engage in sexual behavior with a third party, sometimes while hidden

bumf
Printed matter, such as pamphlets, forms, or memorandums, especially of an official nature and deemed of little interest or importance.

8 thoughts on “The Moronic Inferno

  1. Maureen

    I don’t know how may books I’ve read over and over again, just because I loved the author’s use of language. And I love books that require me to have a dictionary near by.

  2. Curiosity

    Those are some great quotes. I have a few books that I love reading sometimes because they’re so clever and subtle. …And the other times, they just look nice on my shelf and lend the illusion that not everything I read involves magic and swords.

    Don’t tell, though. It’s a secret.

  3. rebecca c

    I wrote mt Master’s thesis about Martin Amis….”Living the Bomb; Martin Amis’ Nuclear Fiction.” LOVE him though I trend toward his non-fic over his fiction these days. Back in the day, I stalked him at a public reading and interviewed him for the thesis. Quite a gentleman and utterly without pretension.

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