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date: 23 January 2019


  1. Despair, in short, seeks its own environment as surely as water finds its own level.
    Alfred Alvarez 1929–  English critic, poet, and novelist: The Savage God (1971)
  2. My God, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me?
    The Bible (Authorized Version, 1611): Psalm 22, v. 1; text as given in the Book of Common Prayer (1662)
  3. I give the fight up: let there be an end,
    A privacy, an obscure nook for me.
    I want to be forgotten even by God.
    Robert Browning 1812–89 English poet: Paracelsus (1835) pt. 5, l. 363
  4. lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate!
    Abandon all hope, you who enter!
    inscription at the entrance to Hell; now often quoted as ‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here’
    Dante Alighieri 1265–1321 Italian poet: Divina Commedia ‘Inferno’ canto 3, l. 1
  5. In despair there are the most intense enjoyments, especially when one is very acutely conscious of the hopelessness of one's position.
    Fedor Dostoevsky 1821–81 Russian novelist: Notes from Underground (1864) pt. 1, ch. 7
  6. There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.
    George Eliot 1819–80 English novelist: Adam Bede (1859) ch. 31
  7. In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896–1940 American novelist: ‘Handle with Care’ in Esquire March 1936; see John
  8. Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim.
    Graham Greene 1904–91 English novelist: Heart of the Matter (1948) bk. 1, pt. 1, ch. 2
  9. Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
    Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
    In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
    Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
    Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844–89 English poet and priest: ‘Carrion Comfort’ (written 1885)
  10. No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
    More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
    Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844–89 English poet and priest: ‘No worst, there is none’ (written 1885)
  11. Don't despair, not even over the fact that you don't despair.
    Franz Kafka 1883–1924 Czech novelist: diary, 21 July 1913
  12. Human life begins on the far side of despair.
    Jean-Paul Sartre 1905–80 French philosopher, novelist, dramatist, and critic: The Flies (1943) act 3, sc. 2
  13. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded.
    Mary Shelley 1797–1851 English novelist: Frankenstein (1818) ch. 10