Halfway Between

January 31, 2007

Why not post one of my favorite passages ever?

All vistas close in the unseen–no one doubts it–but Helen closed them rather too quickly for her taste. At every turn of speech one was confronted with reality and the absolute. Perhaps Margaret grew too old for metaphysics, perhaps Henry was weaning her from them, but she felt that there was something a little unbalanced in the mind that so readily shreds the visible. The business man who assumes that this life is everything, and the mystic who asserts that it is nothing, fail, on this side and on that, to hit the truth. “Yes, I see, dear; it’s about halfway between,” Aunt Juley had hazarded in earlier years. No; truth, being alive, was not halfway between anything. It was only to be found by continuous excursions into either realm, and though proportion is the final secret, to espouse it at the outset is to insure sterility.

Howard’s End, Chapter 23



  1. As you’re reading for the Literature GRE, it seems fair to assume that you’re applying to graduate school for English. Would you mind my asking (as a complete stranger–albeit one with a lot of matching books on LibraryThing, and a fellow Philadelphian, and a current English grad student who enjoys your blog) where you’re thinking of applying?

  2. sweet lord i love you

  3. […] answer, as always, lies on neither side. But also, as we know from Howard’s End, it is not “halfway between” either: “It was only to be found by continuous excursions into either realm, and though […]

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