Verdun 1918

The charnel-house

Literary & historical extracts

Image: Human skull at Verdun (1918)

Hegel, The Spirit of Christianity. Pg. 232:

The pricks of conscience have become blunt, since the deed’s evil spirit has been chased away; there is no longer anything hostile in the man, and the deed remains at most as a soulless carcass lying in the charnel-house of actualities, in memories.

Karl Marx, “English-French Mediation in Italy.” Pg. 480:

The death’s head of diplomacy grins after every revolution and particularly after the reactions which follow every revolution. Diplomacy hides itself in its perfumed charnel-house as often as the thunder of a new revolution rumbles.

Georg Lukács, Theory of the Novel. Pg. 64:

[S]econd nature is not dumb, sensuous and yet senseless like the first: it is a complex of senses — meanings — which has become rigid and strange, and which no longer awaken interiority; it is a charnel-house of long-dead interiorities.

Béla Balázs, Theory of the Film. Pg. 171:

[T]here are worse things, although no human beings appear. The gardens of the Champagne after the German retreat. (It was not in the second world war that the Germans invented some of their methods.) We see a charnel-house of an ancient and lovely orchard culture. Thousands of precious, noble fruit trees neatly sawed off by power-saw, all exactly at the same height. The creation of centuries of skill and industry destroyed with machine-like accuracy. These pictures, too, have a physiognomy; the distorted faces of the tree-corpses are no less terrible than those of the human dead.”

 René Fülöp-Miller, The Silver Bacchanal. Pg. 10:

I could not escape from the charnel-house of memory.

Alfred Weber, Farewell to European History. Pg. 152:

A field of ruins is left, one that spiritually and intellectually overspreads the whole world and, as far as ocular evidence goes, has its centre in the wholesale destruction of men and things in Europe, first of all in Germany and round about Germany far into Russia, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and not last England; a field of rubble beneath which lie probably 12 to 20 million dead, civilization’s best blood; that contains countless wounded, mothers, wives and children of the fallen, the maimed and the homeless, and not only cities demolished en masse but everywhere wrecked monuments, perished documents, even the oldest and most precious, once held to be the inviolable and eternal memorials of European culture a gruesome charnel-house reeking with the exhalations of hatred.

John White, Indian charnel-house (1586)

John White, Indian charnel-house (1586)

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