"Hell is the impossibility of reason"

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 11 17:03:18 UTC 2010

Here is a raw unverified Google Books cite. To me the phrase "Hell is
a state of unreason" is suggestive of  "Hell is the impossibility of
reason". Of course the two phrases are different. Date probes indicate
that the time-frame 1941 is plausible for the document.

The Unitarian register
American Unitarian Association - 1941 - Snippet view
Hell is a state of unreason and heaven logic's perfect work. When we
are logical we are in heaven and are creating heaven about us even
though to those who disagree with us — and everybody disagrees with
everybody else of course — it ...


On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 11:02 AM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "Hell is the impossibility of reason"
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> In the movie _Platoon_ (1986), scenarist-director Oliver Stone attributes
> this proverb to "somebody once wrote...."  Stone later said that "I had
> heard that quote somewhere years ago and I remembered it when I got to
> Vietnam [in 1968]."
> My searches reveal no likely antecedents. I suspect that Stone unconsciously
> revised something else.
> A plausible antecedent is the following, from a Jesuit source.  It is
> unlikely that Stone was familiar with it:
> 1874 Edward Ignatius Purbrick_May Papers_ (London: Burns & Oates) 146: Hell
> is the impossibility of loving; the impossibility of not loving is heaven."
> The same definition of Hell was once offered as a paraphrase of Dostoevsky,
> but the date here is far too late for Stone to have read it before 1968:
> 1975  Henri Peyre _French Literary Imagination and Dostoevsky_  (University,
> Ala.: U. of Alabama P.) 34:"To hate one's own species in oneself, is not
> that Hell?" (_L'Imposture_), which almost parallels the famous cry of The
> Brothers Karamazov: "*Hell is the impossibility of loving*."
> In any event, Stone's own definition of Hell (with many thousands of  RGs)
> seems to count as an original inspiration even if suggested by something
> else.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
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