book quotes

E.L. Doctorow, The Waterworks, 1994, page 91, Random House ebook. The narrator, a newspaper editor in 1870s New York, talks about a talented but obnoxious painter:

Harry was a boor. It has been my experience that artists are invariably boors. That is the paradox … a mysterious God lets them paint what they will never understand. Like all those Florentines and Genoans and Venetians … who were scoundrels and sybarites, but whom this God trusted to give us the angels and saints and Jesus Christ himself through their dumb hands.

Arthur Machen Ultimate Collection, page 821, e-artnow edition, 2016, from the novel The Terror. "Merritt" is an industrialist from the Midlands vacationing in a seaside town in Wales:

Merritt gazed on, amused by the antics of the porpoises who were tumbling and splashing and gamboling a little way out at sea, charmed by the pure and radiant air that was so different from the oily smoke that often stood for heaven at Midlingham, and charmed, too, by the white farmhouses dotted here and there on the heights of the curving coast.
Then he noticed a little row-boat at about two hundred yards from the shore. There were two or three people aboard, he could not quite make out how many, and they seemed to be doing something with a line; they were no doubt fishing, and Merritt (who disliked fish) wondered how people could spoil such an afternoon, such a sea, such pellucid and radiant air by trying to catch white, flabby, offensive, evil-smelling creatures that would be excessively nasty when cooked.