The Drowned World

by

J. G. Ballard

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Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Liveright Publishing edition of The Drowned World published in 2013.
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Chapter 1 Quotes

The biological mapping had become a pointless game, the new flora following exactly the emergent lines anticipated twenty years earlier, and he was sure that no one at Camp Byrd in Northern Greenland bothered to file his reports, let alone read them.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

... the somber green-black fronds of the gymnosperms, intruders from the Triassic past, and the half-submerged white-faced buildings of the 20th century still reflected together in the dark mirror of the water, the two interlocking worlds apparently suspended at some junction in time...

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Sometimes he wondered what zone of transit he himself was entering, sure that his own withdrawal was symptomatic...of a careful preparation for a radically new environment, with its own internal landscape and logic, where old categories of thought would merely be an encumbrance.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Strangeman
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

All this detailed mapping of the harbors for use in some hypothetical future is absurd...the whole place is nothing but a confounded zoo.

Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Looking up at the ancient impassive faces, Kerans could understand the curious fear they roused, rekindling archaic memories of the Paleocene, when the reptiles had gone down before the emergent mammals, and sense the implacable hatred one zoological class feels towards another that usurps it.

Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

... the genealogical tree of mankind was systematically pruning itself, apparently moving backwards in time, and a point might ultimately be reached where a second Adam and Eve found themselves alone in a new Eden.

Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

For a few moments Kerans stared quietly at the dim yellow annulus of Ernst's sun glowering through the exotic vegetation, a curious feeling of memory and recognition signaling through his brain.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Beatrice Dahl
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Is it only the external landscape which is altering? How often recently most of us have had the feeling of déjà vu, of having seen all this before, in fact of remembering these swamps and lagoons all too well.

Related Characters: Dr. Alan Bodkin (speaker), Dr. Robert Kerans
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

A more important task than mapping the harbors and lagoons of the external landscape was to chart the ghostly deltas and luminous beaches of the submerged neuronic continents.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

"Colonel, there isn't any other direction."

Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

Nor had he tried to follow up any of Bodkin's or Riggs' oblique remarks about the dreams and their danger, almost as if he had known that he would soon be sharing them, and accepted them as an inevitable element of his life...

Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

Distantly in his ears he could hear the sun drumming over the sunken water. As he recovered from his first fears he realized that there was something soothing about its sounds, almost reassuring and encouraging like his own heartbeats.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

By and large, each of them would have to pursue his or her own pathway through the time jungles... Although they might see one another occasionally... their only true meeting ground would be in their dreams.

Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

"Dr. Bodkin, did you live in London as a child? You must have many sentimental memories to recapture, of the great palaces and museums." He added: "Or are the only memories you have pre-uterine ones?"

Related Characters: Strangeman (speaker), Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin, Beatrice Dahl
Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

"The trouble with you people is that you've been here for thirty million years and your perspectives are all wrong. You miss so much of the transitory beauty of life. I'm fascinated by the immediate past--the treasures of the Triassic compare pretty unfavorably with those of the closing years of the Second Millennium."

Related Characters: Strangeman (speaker), Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin, Beatrice Dahl
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

Kerans managed to take his eyes off Strangeman's face and glanced at the looted relics.
"They're like bones," he said flatly.

Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

For some reason the womb-like image of the chamber was reinforced rather than diminished by the circular rows of seats, and Kerans heard the thudding in his ears uncertain whether he was listening to the dim subliminal requiem of his dreams.

Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Yet he had a further neuronic role, in which he seemed almost a positive influence, holding a warning mirror up to Kerans and obliquely cautioning him about the future he had chosen.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Strangeman
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

No longer the velvet mantle he remembered from his descent, it was no a fragmenting cloak of rotting organic forms, like the vestments of the grave. The once translucent threshold of the womb had vanished, its place taken by the gateway to a sewer.

Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

Dimly he realized that the lagoon had represented a complex of neuronic needs that were impossible to satisfy by any other means. This blunting lethargy deepened, unbroken by the violence around him, and more and more he felt like a man marooned in a time sea, hemmed in by the shifting planes of dissonant realities millions of years apart.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Strangeman
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

"Colonel, you've got to flood it again, laws or no laws. Have you been down in those streets; they're obscene and hideous! It's a nightmare world that's dead and finished, Strangeman's resurrecting a corpse!"

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans (speaker), Strangeman, Colonel Riggs
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

Obscured by the events of the past week, the archaic sun in his mind beat again continuously with its immense power, its identity merging now with that of the real sun visible behind the rain-clouds.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans, Strangeman
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

So he left the lagoon and entered the jungle again, within a few days was completely lost, following the lagoons southward through the increasing rain and heat, attacked by alligators and giant bats, a second Adam searching for the forgotten paradises of the reborn sun.

Related Characters: Dr. Robert Kerans
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:
No matches.