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La politique dans une œuvre littéraire c’est un coup de pistolet au milieu d’un concert–quelque chose de grossier et auquel pourtant il n’est pas possible de refuser son attention.
Politics in a literary work is a pistol shot in the middle of a concert—a rather coarse matter, but, on the other hand, something which one ignores at one’s own peril.
–Marie-Henri Beyle (Stendhal), La Chartreuse de Parme ch xxiii(1839) in: Romans et nouvelles, vol. 2, p. 405 (Pléiade ed. 1968)(S.H. transl.)
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."