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Grotesque   /groʊtˈɛsk/   Listen
Grotesque

adjective
1.
Distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous.  Synonym: monstrous.  "Twisted into monstrous shapes"
2.
Ludicrously odd.  Synonyms: antic, fantastic, fantastical.  "Fantastic Halloween costumes" , "A grotesque reflection in the mirror"



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"Grotesque" Quotes from Famous Books



... to go at once to you and break down all barriers and bear you away.... I thank Heaven you have so good a friend in 'Madame.' I long for the time to come when I may greet her as one of my best friends for your sake. In the mean time, I have selected an Indian cabinet, the grotesque delicate work of which would please your quaint fancy, which I trust she will accept, if you will join me in the gift. I shall have an opportunity of sending it in a few weeks.... Mrs. Eldridge, my dear old housekeeper, has just been in. She wishes to ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 85, November, 1864 • Various

... the presentation of slavery alone, in its most dreadful forms, would be a picture of such unrelieved horror and darkness as nobody could be induced to look at. Of set purpose, she sought to light up the darkness by humorous and grotesque episodes, and the presentation of the milder and more amusing phases of slavery, for which her recollection of the never-failing wit and drollery of her former colored friends in Ohio gave ...
— The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 1995, Memorial Issue • Various

... suspense was over for Mary, the glare of the store lamp went dancing in grotesque waves, and abruptly, uncannily, fell away into the distant, swimming glow of a lantern suffused with fog. She swayed. Only the leg-rest kept her from slipping off the pony. Her first returning sense ...
— Over the Pass • Frederick Palmer

... cells of the human body: it may feel the throes of war and famine, rejoice in the comforts of peace and plenty: it may appreciate the growth of civilization as its passage from childhood to maturity. If this at first sight appears a grotesque supposition, we must remember that it would appear equally so to ascribe such possibilities to the individual brain, were it not for the irrelevant accident of this particular form of complex standing in such relation to our own subjectivity that we are able to ...
— Mind and Motion and Monism • George John Romanes

... you tricks like that, when, for the gratification of a sinister whim, a grotesque fancy, born and bred of the stuff, you would risk everything. In excess it played hell with the nerves. That was why those eyes of hers.... Damn them! Why couldn't a man put them out of mind and out ...
— The Dop Doctor • Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

... small help from fancy, be transformed Into fleet Oreads sporting visibly. The Zephyrs, fanning, as they passed, their wings, Lacked not for love fair objects whom they wooed With gentle whisper. Withered boughs grotesque, Stripped of their leaves and twigs by hoary age, From depth of shaggy covert peeping forth In the low vale, or on steep mountain side; And sometimes intermixed with stirring horns Of the live deer, or goat's ...
— Bulfinch's Mythology • Thomas Bulfinch

... the terrible Raoul is grotesque. His movements are jerky, as if produced by imperfect machinery; his gait rejects all idea of order, and proceeds by spasmodic zig-zags and sudden stoppages, which knock him violently against peaceable citizens on the streets and boulevards of Paris. ...
— A Daughter of Eve • Honore de Balzac

... permanently applicable to a whole continent. If the United States were to-day a consolidated republic like France, recent events in California might have disturbed the peace of the country. But in the federal union, if California, as a state sovereign within its own sphere, adopts a grotesque constitution that aims at infringing on the rights of capitalists, the other states are not directly affected. They may disapprove, but they have neither the right nor the desire to interfere. Meanwhile the laws of nature quietly operate to repair the blunder. Capital flows away from California, ...
— American Political Ideas Viewed From The Standpoint Of Universal History • John Fiske

... Grace, beauty, imagination, all the resiliency of mind and muscle, are gone. Sometimes, however, you may see a woman, not necessarily old, but twisted and deformed out of all womanhood, bloated and drunken, lift her draggled skirts and execute a few grotesque and lumbering steps upon the pavement. It is a hint that she was once one of those children who danced to the organ-grinder. Those grotesque and lumbering steps are all that is left of the promise of childhood. In the befogged recesses of her brain has arisen a fleeting memory ...
— The People of the Abyss • Jack London

... exactly one;[66] and that he escaped from it with all the alacrity which we may presume to be expected by a prisoner when the bars of his jail have been opened for him. Whether we blame him or praise him, we can hardly refrain from feeling that his impatience was grotesque. There certainly was no desire on Cicero's part either to go to Cilicia or to remain there, and of all his feelings that which prompted him never to be far absent from Rome was the most ...
— The Life of Cicero - Volume II. • Anthony Trollope

... solemn style of architecture which I cannot describe, because it differed from any other that I know. It was not Egyptian and not Greek, although its solidity reminded me of the former, and the beauty and grace of some of the columns, of the latter. The profuseness and rather grotesque character of the carvings suggested the ruins of Mexico and Yucatan, and the enormous size of the blocks of stone, those of Peru and Baalbec. In short, all the known forms of ancient architecture might have found their inspiration here, and the ...
— When the World Shook - Being an Account of the Great Adventure of Bastin, Bickley and Arbuthnot • H. Rider Haggard

... Rome, compared with ours, was narrow and superficial; their ideas of Nature were crude and often grotesque; they lacked sympathy; the Greek had no sense of sin; the Roman none of the mercy which tempers justice. In their eyes the child was not holy, woman was not sacred, the slave was not man. Their notion of liberty was political and patriotic merely; the human soul, standing forth alone, and ...
— Education and the Higher Life • J. L. Spalding

... window. The interior of the cottage was lighted up by a lurid glow, coming from what I afterward discovered to be a chemical furnace. By its rich light I could distinguish a great litter of retorts, test tubes and condensers, which sparkled over the table, and threw strange, grotesque shadows on the wall. On the further side of the room was a wooden framework resembling a hencoop, and in this, still absorbed in prayer, knelt the man whose voice I heard. The red glow beating upon his ...
— Danger! and Other Stories • Arthur Conan Doyle

... although at first an overwhelming sense of the uselessness of the attempt, the almost grotesque absurdity of expecting to hear from beyond the limits of the earth's atmosphere any word transmitted through a mechanical invention, upon the earth's crust, made me feel somewhat ashamed of my preparations, yet I arranged every portion of the receiver and exercised my best skill to ...
— The Certainty of a Future Life in Mars • L. P. Gratacap

... knew not how, through roofless halls, over disjointed fragments of fallen pillars, Sybil reached a flight of steps. A door, studded with iron nails, stayed her progress; it was an old, strong oaken frame, surmounted by a Gothic arch, in the keystone of which leered one of those grotesque demoniacal faces with which the fathers of the church delighted to adorn their shrines. Sybil looked up—her glance encountered the fantastical visage. It recalled the features of the sexton, and seemed ...
— Rookwood • William Harrison Ainsworth

... "Death?" She dismissed the grotesque suggestion with a shrug, then straightened up, breathing freely and deeply. "It is an easy swim," she remarked, occupied with her wet hair under the knotted scarlet; "the fog confused me; that ...
— The Firing Line • Robert W. Chambers

... the troublous completeness of the many- sided world? Is not Shakespeare, for this reason, our refuge? Fortunately unreal is his world when he will have it so; and there we may laugh with open heart at a grotesque man: without misgiving, without remorse, without reluctance. If great creating Nature has not assumed for herself she has assuredly secured to the great creating poet the right of partiality, of limitation, of setting aside and ...
— Essays • Alice Meynell

... scribbling of a scribe who was incapable of even designing a good initial letter.[2769] I shall not attempt to reconstruct the iconography of the Maid.[2770] The bronze equestrian statue in the Cluny Museum produces a grotesque effect that one is tempted to believe deliberate, if one may ascribe such an intention to an old sculptor. It dates from the reign of Charles VIII. It is a Saint George or a Saint Maurice, which, at a time doubtless quite recent, was taken to represent the Maid. Between the legs of the ...
— The Life of Joan of Arc, Vol. 1 and 2 (of 2) • Anatole France

... scene, painful as it was, had its grotesque features, which, in a less interested observer than Nicholas, might have provoked a smile. Mrs. Squeers stood at one of the desks, presiding over an immense basin of brimstone and treacle, of which delicious compound she administered a large installment to ...
— McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader • William Holmes McGuffey

... of wine with us. He was a plain decent well-behaved man, and expressed his gratitude to Dr. Johnson for having once got him permission from Dr. Taylor at Ashbourne to play there upon moderate terms. Garrick's name was soon introduced. JOHNSON. 'Garrick's conversation is gay and grotesque. It is a dish of all sorts, but all good things. There is no solid meat in it: there is a want of sentiment in it. Not but that he has sentiment sometimes, and sentiment, too, very powerful and very pleasing: but it has not its full proportion ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell

... One reason why she is so intolerable to me is that she is a grotesque caricature of ...
— The Clever Woman of the Family • Charlotte M. Yonge

... those, of course, who regard marriage from the old-fashioned and grossly immoral standpoint of Melancthon and other theologians, and who consider a wife as the divinely ordained vehicle for the chartered intemperance of her husband, it will seem grotesque in the highest degree that a physiological inquirer should attempt to advise them how often to seek the embraces of their wives; but those who regard woman from the standpoint of a higher ethics, who abhor the notion that she should ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... and unbroken, the black trunks of the trees among it looking like pillars of ebony in the ivory-paved courts of a temple. Up in the sky winter was passing with all his somber train, the clouds flying rapidly in great grotesque masses, and seeming to touch the tops of the trees like a ...
— The Hallam Succession • Amelia Edith Barr

... which he ended a spree. He had rolled up his coat for a pillow, and had thrown one arm across his purple, bloated face. Only the weak, helpless, open mouth could be seen. His muscular hands were relaxed, and the whole prostrate figure was pathetic in its unconsciousness of will and grotesque unhumanness. Fate had been too strong for Tom Davis. His birth and all the circumstances of his useless life had brought him with resistless certainty to this level, and his progress in the future could only ...
— John Ward, Preacher • Margaret Deland

... at all cared to see, and in addition to these the forest was alive with monkeys of several varieties, to say nothing of other animals whose quick movements would not permit him to identify them. Insects, as might be expected, swarmed in countless millions, some of them being most grotesque in form and colour. Butterflies of unusual size flitted about from flower to flower, and the upper branches of the trees were fairly alive with birds of the most brilliant plumage, among which he noticed two or three varieties of ...
— The Missing Merchantman • Harry Collingwood

... the Ure, it bears away again to the little village of Carperby. It has a triangular green surrounded by white posts. At the east end stands an old cross, dated 1674, and the ends of the arms are ornamented with grotesque carved heads. The cottages have a neat and pleasant appearance, and there is much less austerity about the place than one sees higher up the dale. A branch road leads down to Aysgarth Station, and just where the lane takes a sharp bend to the right a footpath goes across ...
— Yorkshire Painted And Described • Gordon Home

... bacteriology and microscopical research, while the exposure was made and the plate developed. Here, after an interval, we were joined by Polton, who bore with infinite tenderness the dripping negative on which could be seen the grotesque transparency of ...
— The Red Thumb Mark • R. Austin Freeman

... Lucretius.—Very curious. A peristyle forming a sort of platform, occupied with baubles, which they have had the good taste to leave there; a miniature fountain, little tiers of seats, a small conduit, a small fish-tank, grotesque little figures in bronze, statuettes and images of all sorts,—Bacchus and Bacchantes, Fauns and Satyrs, one of which, with its arm raised above its head, is charming. Another in the form of a Hermes ...
— The Wonders of Pompeii • Marc Monnier

... during the whole of the previous night, and now had slumbered in his chair from time to time. But his sleeping had been of that painful, wakeful nature which brings with it no refreshment. It had been full of dreams, in all of which there had been some grotesque reference to the property, but in none of them had there been any memory of the Squire's terrible death. And yet, as he woke and woke and woke again, it can hardly be said that the truth had come back upon ...
— Ralph the Heir • Anthony Trollope

... with mock fights, feints, sudden wrestlings. They would seize one another by the head and grind their knuckles into one another's wool. Occasionally, one would leap up and fall into one of those grotesque shuffles called "breakdowns." It all held a certain ...
— Birthright - A Novel • T.S. Stribling

... and it was Margaret who decided on a horse for this little girl, a golliwog for that, for the rector's wife a copper warming-tray. "We always give the servants money." "Yes, do you, yes, much easier," replied Margaret, but felt the grotesque impact of the unseen upon the seen, and saw issuing from a forgotten manger at Bethlehem this torrent of coins and toys. Vulgarity reigned. Public-houses, besides their usual exhortation against temperance reform, invited men to "Join our ...
— Howards End • E. M. Forster

... veiling. He likes to look imposing, and so he gets under that hat. This in many instances may account for the restiveness of his steed, which is as yet unaccustomed to the weight of a person with such a grotesque headgear. ...
— The Boer in Peace and War • Arthur M. Mann

... representing Our Lord in the centre of the angelic host, the Adoration of the Magi, and a figure of St. John; this work is believed to be of the thirteenth century. The central pillar of this chapel, with the curved fluting in the column and the quaintly grotesque devices of the figures carved on the capital, is well worthy of close examination. The grate that we see here was erected by the French Protestants, large numbers of whom fled to England during the persecution which ...
— The Cathedral Church of Canterbury [2nd ed.]. • Hartley Withers

... on each side by the steep banks of the lakelets. Those sterile shores, washed by water, which was covered with large green patches, had no other ornament than aquatic trees devoid of foliage, the twisted trunks and hoary heads of which, rising from the reeds and rushes, gave them a certain grotesque likeness to gigantic marmosets. These ugly growths seemed to waken and talk to each other when the frogs deserted them with much croaking, and the water-fowl, startled by the sound of the wheels, flew low ...
— The Chouans • Honore de Balzac

... Jimsy King with emphasis but without passion. The statement was too grotesque for ...
— Play the Game! • Ruth Comfort Mitchell

... his father's sermons and parish talks, come to mind. Most of these are approved, but some seem strangely grotesque. To Oswald's tense perception the general tenor is along severely orthodox lines, but as to occult verities the style appears flippantly superficial. Many comments upon "rewards of virtue" and "refined ...
— Oswald Langdon - or, Pierre and Paul Lanier. A Romance of 1894-1898 • Carson Jay Lee

... A dancing Bear grotesque and funny Earned for his master heaps of money, Gruff yet good-natured, fond of honey, And cheerful if the day was sunny. Past hedge and ditch, past pond and wood He tramped, and on some common stood; There, cottage children circling gaily, He in their midmost ...
— Poems • Christina G. Rossetti

... he was in such a state of nervous excitement that he acted like a schoolboy. Once he persuaded me to go out on foot with him, muffled in grotesque costumes, with masks and instruments of music. We promenaded all night, in the midst of the most frightful din of horrible sounds. We found a driver asleep on his box and unhitched his horses; then, pretending we had just come ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... fog groped his way to the door opening on the river steps, bolted it, groped his way back and stood scratching his head. A grin, grotesque in the wavering light, contorted the long lower half of the face for a moment and ...
— News from the Duchy • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... My wearied body and overstrained mind awakened all my imagination into preternatural activity. Ideas, visions, almost inspirations, floated before it with startling vividness. Most of them were grotesque enough, some were ghastly, some recalled thoughts and sensations that had for years been buried in the debris of my past life. But, behind and above them all, hovered the shape of that awful woman, and through them gleamed the memory of her entrancing loveliness. ...
— She • H. Rider Haggard

... is the curly-crested toucan (Pteroglossus Beauharnaisii). The feathers on its head consist of thin, horny blades of a lustrous black colour, curled up at the ends, and resembling shavings of steel. The curly crest assumes, indeed, the grotesque form of a coachman's wig dyed black, and produced apparently by ...
— The Western World - Picturesque Sketches of Nature and Natural History in North - and South America • W.H.G. Kingston

... door-way of a neighbouring stable was another party watching the rain, nearly as picturesque; and before them was dancing, in grotesque attitudes, a half-crazed old woman, at whose vagaries the lookers-on indolently smiled. Our admiration of the beautiful children quite won the hearts of the mothers, who had, apparently, at first regarded us with a somewhat haughty air, and a few little silver pieces completed our conquest; we, therefore, ...
— Barn and the Pyrenees - A Legendary Tour to the Country of Henri Quatre • Louisa Stuart Costello

... to a long and recriminatory correspondence in the columns of The Tittersham Observer. The Rev. Eldred Bolster, Vicar of Little Titley, writing in the issue of May 9th, characterises them as grotesque and preposterous fabrications. He points out, to begin with, that the Nether Wambleton Parish Magazine only contains eighteen pages, of which no fewer than sixteen are provided from London and have no reference ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, June 3, 1914 • Various

... is 665 ft. in length, 640 ft. in breadth and more than 100 ft. high. Besides the imposing proportions of its chambers, the cavern is remarkable for the variegated beauty of its stalactite formations, some resembling transparent drapery, others waterfalls, trees, animals or human beings, the more grotesque being called by various fanciful appellations. These subterranean wonders were known as far back as 1213, but the cavern remained undiscovered in modern times until 1816, and it is only in still more recent times that its vast extent has been fully ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... of habit still operating, he left them all on when at eleven o'clock he quitted the brilliantly illuminated porch and went to his bedroom on the second floor. He undressed and he put on him his night wear, becoming a grotesque shrunken figure, what with his meager naked legs and his ashen eager face and thin dust-colored throat rising above the collarless neckband of the garment. He blew out the flame of the oil lamp which burned on a reading stand at the left side of his bed and extinguished the two candles ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1921 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... room. In the lamplight the paint on her cheeks made startling unnatural patches of—paint. The reflections slid over the liquid black mass of her hair, died in the lustrous creamy folds of her garment. She was at once grotesque and impressive, like a figure in a Chinese pantomime watched from the western auditorium of his inheritance. His fondness for her, his admiration, had not lessened. He surveyed his position, the presence ...
— Java Head • Joseph Hergesheimer

... is so. I know what miserable associations cluster around this instrument of popular power. I know that the arena in which it stands is trodden into mire by the feet of reckless ambition and selfish greed. The wire-pulling and the bribing, the pitiful truckling and the grotesque compromises, the exaggeration and the detraction, the melo-dramatic issues and the sham patriotism, the party watch-words and the party nick-names, the schemes of the few paraded as the will of the many, the elevation of men whose only worth is in the ...
— Humanity in the City • E. H. Chapin

... instance of the strength and weakness of human nature so striking and so grotesque as the character of this haughty, vigilant, resolute, sagacious blue-stocking, half Mithridates and half Trissotin, bearing up against a world in arms, with an ounce of poison in one pocket and a quire of ...
— Familiar Quotations • John Bartlett

... as we see, for some years previous to the Great Exhibition of 1851, yet that decidedly gave a considerable impetus to the more correct and artistic delineation of animals, especially in what may be called the grotesque school instituted by the Germans, which, though it may perhaps be decried on the score of misrepresenting nature in the most natural way possible, yet teaches a special lesson by the increased care necessary to more perfectly render the fine points required in giving animals that ...
— Practical Taxidermy • Montagu Browne

... really alarmed at the grotesque yet ghastly expression of that striped and sodden face, with the straight black hair, and the head lolling and rolling on the shoulder. Without a word, he took Hazlet by one arm, while Suton held the other, and D'Acres carried the legs, and as quickly as they could they hurried along with their ...
— Julian Home • Dean Frederic W. Farrar

... produced. It was crowned by a statuette of Hercules, with other most exquisite figurines at the four corners, set upon feet of crouching sphinxes, half women and half panthers, and was further enriched by reliefs of laughing boys holding garlands, by grotesque masks and foliages of the most graceful and ingenious design that could possibly ...
— Romance of Roman Villas - (The Renaissance) • Elizabeth W. (Elizbeth Williams) Champney

... proof of this. Hence the fathers were left to their own wits in giving general directions, and to the taste of white 'artists,' and allowed even Indians to suit themselves. You will find this all through ancient Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Indians loved the gaudy, loud, grotesque, and as it was the main thing for the fathers to gain the Indians in any lawful way possible, the taste of ...
— The Old Franciscan Missions Of California • George Wharton James

... neglected, but it has some of the German vein in its strata,—the patience, the learning, the homely delineation, and even some traces of the mixture of the humorous and the terrible which form that genius for the grotesque so especially German—you find this in their legends and ghost-stories. But in Holland activity destroys, in ...
— The Pilgrims Of The Rhine • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... peculiar features of low Paris is the shop for the sale of articles at the uniform price of one son. One before which I paused in the Rue Mouffetard was presided over, by two women—evidently grandmother and granddaughter. The former was as grotesque a type of the jolly old vendeuse of Paris as it would be possible to find. A low, winey humor twinkled in her little black eyes, hidden in wrinkly wads of fat; her nose glowed with good feeling; her toothless mouth smirked good-naturedly. A worn ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 15, - No. 87, March, 1875 • Various

... p. 241). Probably the sculptures were like many still to be seen in the temples of that date in Southern India, where the base of the pillar is elaborately carved with grotesque figures ...
— A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar; A Contribution to the History of India • Robert Sewell

... blazed cheerfully upon the hearth, round which were clustered, in uncouth attitudes of old Etruscan sculpture, the grim and grotesque figures of the household Gods. Two lamps of bronze, each with four burners, placed on tall candelabra exquisitely carved in the same metal, diffused a soft calm radiance through the room, accompanied by an aromatic odor ...
— The Roman Traitor (Vol. 1 of 2) • Henry William Herbert

... every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception." ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... development of membranous appendages of the part of the face in which the nostrils open is one of the most curious peculiarities of a vast number of Bats, in many of which these singular nose-leaves almost rival the ears in size, while their structure often renders them most grotesque. We have two Bats thus adorned in Britain, namely, the Greater and the Lesser Horseshoe Bats, but most of the leaf-nosed species are inhabitants of warmer regions, and it is there that they run out into the most remarkable eccentricities ...
— A Book of Natural History - Young Folks' Library Volume XIV. • Various

... an impassable gulf between him and Greek religion, and a still wider gulf between him and Christianity. The attempts which are occasionally made, especially in this country, to dress up the Labour movement as a return to the Palestinian Gospel, are little short of grotesque. The contrast is well summed up by Belfort Bax, in a passage quoted by Professor Gardner. 'According to Christianity, regeneration must come from within. The ethics and religion of modern socialism on the contrary look for regeneration from without, from material conditions ...
— The Legacy of Greece • Various

... except when it is especially called to our minds by some occasion like the present, that it was not always with men as it is now. It is a strain on our imaginations to conceive the social arrangements of our immediate ancestors. We find them grotesque. The solution of the problem of physical maintenance so as to banish care and crime, so far from seeming to us an ultimate attainment, appears but as a preliminary to anything like real human progress. We have but relieved ourselves of an impertinent and needless harassment ...
— Looking Backward - 2000-1887 • Edward Bellamy

... birds in heaven, they saw the island like a large white patch, and the bridges like slim white spars, on the black ground of the river. High up overhead the snow settled among the tracery of the cathedral towers. Many a niche was drifted full; many a statue wore a long white bonnet on its grotesque or sainted head. The gargoyles had been transformed into great false noses, drooping towards the point. The crockets were like upright pillows swollen on one side. In the intervals of the wind there was a dull sound of dripping about the ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 4 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... politicians paid no railroad fares. Many of them got passes for their families and their friends; and it was certainly to be expected that they should listen to the requests of those who granted these favors. The situation became grotesque when a great ruler, seeking a nomination to office with the proclaimed purpose of enforcing the laws against rebates and passes, required the railroad managers to furnish him free transportation on ...
— The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 • Various

... the abbey formed a quadrangle, surrounded by the cloisters, and in this inner court was a curious fountain, carved with exquisite skill by some gothic artist in one of those capricious moods of sportive invention that produced those grotesque medleys for which the feudal sculptor was celebrated. Not a sound was heard except the fall of the fountain and the light echoes ...
— Venetia • Benjamin Disraeli

... of the year 1845. The copper-plate engravings of lovely ladies, who had flourished in that day, were yellow and spotted with mildew; the costumes grotesque and outlandish; the simpering beauties faded and commonplace. Even the little clusters of verses (in which the poet's feeble candle shed its sickly light upon the obscurities of the artist's meaning) had ...
— Lady Audley's Secret • Mary Elizabeth Braddon

... stupor manifested by Stirn, when that functionary beheld the extraordinary substitute which fate and philosophy had found for Lenny Fairfield. Instead of the weeping, crushed, broken-hearted captive whom he had reluctantly come to deliver, he stared speechless and aghast upon the grotesque but tranquil figure of the doctor enjoying his pipe, and cooling himself under his umbrella, with a sangfroid that was truly appalling and diabolical. Indeed, considering that Stirn always suspected the Papisher ...
— My Novel, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... imagined that France possessed a submerged Constitution that might be extracted from her annals had a difficult task. Lanjuinais desired to sail by a beacon and to direct the politics of 1789 by a charter of 864. There was a special reason, less grotesque than the archaeology of Lanjuinais, which made men averse to the Declaration. Liberty, it was said, consists in the reign of the national will, and the national will is known by national custom. Law ought to spring from custom, and to be governed by it, not by independent, ...
— Lectures on the French Revolution • John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

... tingling. Once more, for the third or the fourth time since he had come upon these men, he was struck with the odd notion that it was not real; that he was witnessing a play in which the actors did not know their lines and were missing their cues. It was the grotesque bordering on ...
— Death Points a Finger • Will Levinrew

... by some fantastic luck in the old fantastic civilisation of China, I were raised from the Yellow Button to the Coral Button, or from the Coral Button to the Peacock's Feather. Precisely because these things would be grotesque, I might hardly feel them as incongruous. Precisely because they meant nothing to me I might be satisfied with them, I might enjoy them without any shame at my own impudence as an alien, adventurer. ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Maisie Ward

... was taken by eight immense, needle-pointed spines, set in pairs, of which the chief pair had a length of over two feet. The monster's hide was set thick with scales and knobs of horn, brilliantly colored in black, yellow, and green, that his grotesque bulk might be less noticeable to his foes among the sharp shadows and patchy lights of the fern jungles where ...
— In the Morning of Time • Charles G. D. Roberts

... truth, which he had hitherto hidden with such delicacy and care, but he cast the idea aside. "Do you really take me for a man who sells himself?" he asked coldly. "I, who came here but a little while ago, palpitating and trembling to tell my love! Wasn't I more than mad, more than grotesque? For, after all, I have your fortune. I'm paid. I have ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol VI. • Various

... to the river's edge; and beyond these could gain tantalizing glimpses of the mouth of the Rock, its waters gleaming like silver between grassy banks. The opposite shore appeared dark and gloomy in comparison, with great rock-crowned bluffs outlined against the sky, occasionally assuming grotesque forms, which the boatmen pointed ...
— The Devil's Own - A Romance of the Black Hawk War • Randall Parrish

... were all grimy from their work among the smoke and the gases. And through the grime the sweat had run down like little rivers making courses for themselves in the soft dirt of a hillside. They looked grotesque enough, but there was nothing about them to make me feel like laughing, I can tell you! And they all grinned amiably when the amazed and disconcerted Reverend Harry Lauder, M.P., Tour came tumbling in among them. We all felt right at hame at once— and I the more so when a chap I had met and ...
— A Minstrel In France • Harry Lauder

... generations. But those who preserved it to the present day had avoided the lamentable plastering which disfigures so many others. The walls were built with fine large stones, on which time had left its melancholy impress. There was no grotesque painting on them to mar their quiet beauty, and the dim light that filtered through at that early hour gave them a vague ...
— In the Field (1914-1915) - The Impressions of an Officer of Light Cavalry • Marcel Dupont

... never been any explanation of the ebb and flow in our veins—of happiness and unhappiness. That respectability and evening parties where one has to dress, and wretched slums at the back of Gray's Inn—something solid, immovable, and grotesque—is at the back of it, Jacob thought probable. But then there was the British Empire which was beginning to puzzle him; nor was he altogether in favour of giving Home Rule to Ireland. What did the Daily Mail ...
— Jacob's Room • Virginia Woolf

... Tai-o-hae, he reckoned the inhabitants at many thousands; he was but newly dead, and in the same bay Stanislao Moanatini counted on his fingers eight residual natives. Or take the valley of Hapaa, known to readers of Herman Melville under the grotesque misspelling of Hapar. There are but two writers who have touched the South Seas with any genius, both Americans: Melville and Charles Warren Stoddard; and at the christening of the first and greatest, some influential ...
— In the South Seas • Robert Louis Stevenson

... Honorable John went on to discuss the politics of Lockmanville, and to lay bare the shameless and grotesque corruption in a town where business interests were fighting. The trouble was, apparently, that the people were beginning to rebel—they were tired of being robbed in so many different ways, and they went to the ...
— Samuel the Seeker • Upton Sinclair

... by the fifty, and ate as he felt inclined. He forbade all pruning of trees as an act of insubordination to Nature, and delighted in rain but cowered in terror from thunder and lightning. He peered curiously at clouds to find strange shapes in them, and in his pursuit of the grotesque examined the spittle of sick persons on the walls or ground, hoping for suggestions of monsters, combats of horses, or fantastic landscapes. But why this should have been thought madness in Cosimo when Leonardo in his directions to artists explicitly advises ...
— A Wanderer in Florence • E. V. Lucas

... tarnished gold. The mouldings and traceries sprang up from the four corners, and all terminated in the centre, in which grinned a Medusa's head, with her circling snakes, in high preservation, and of great and ghastly beauty. There were other grotesque visages, sprinkled here and there over that elaborate roof; but look at that Medusa from what point you might, the painted wooden eyes were cast with a stolid sternness upon you. When I had a bedfellow, it was always some castaway like myself—some poor wretch who could not go home and ...
— Rattlin the Reefer • Edward Howard

... mystery of these Icebergs, we float down again to Tropical Seas and Islands; and as we linger under the shade of palm and banana tree, the rude chant of the negro strikes the ear in the grotesque and characteristic framework of the 'Bananier,' the plaintive melody of 'La Savane' sighs past on the evening breeze, Spanish eyes flash out temptingly from the enticing cadence of the 'Ojos Criollos,' and Spanish guitars tinkle in the soft moonlight of the 'Minuit ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3, No. 1 January 1863 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... hedger, a fisherman, a country mason,—people of that kind I rather like to talk with. I could live a good deal with them. But the London vulgar I abominate, root and branch. The mere sound of their voices nauseates me; their vilely grotesque accent and pronunciation—bah! I could write a paper to show that they are essentially the basest of English mortals. Unhappily, I know so much about them. If I saw the probability of my dying in a London lodging-house, I ...
— Born in Exile • George Gissing

... was against such an hypothesis. He therefore assumed that the other planets revolved about the sun, while the sun, moon, and stars revolved about the earth as a centre. Geometrically this is much the same as the Copernican system, but physically it involves the grotesque demand that the whole system of stars revolves round our insignificant little earth every twenty-four hours. Since his previous small book on the comet, Tycho had evidently considered more fully its possible astrological significance, for he foretold a religious ...
— Kepler • Walter W. Bryant

... did not strike him as particularly grotesque. He felt it was a natural question, and he only regretted that it had been put, because, though he had driven more than one young man to righteousness along the path of terror, in this present case the truth came too late save to add another horror to death. He believed in all sincerity that as ...
— Lying Prophets • Eden Phillpotts

... had a natural manner which surpassed all the art in the world. Grotesque and terrible, he threw the table into consternation by his sincerity. Madame Martin, whom he amused, complimented him ...
— The Red Lily, Complete • Anatole France

... necessitated by this train of accidents. In the super-universe from which I come, such derangements of the celestial machinery simply do not happen. For this reason, our evolution has unfolded harmoniously along one line of development, whereas yours has branched out into diversified and grotesque expressions of the Life-Principle. Your so-called highest manifestation of this principle, namely, your own species, is characterized by a great number of specialized organs. Through this very specialization of functions, however, you have forfeited your ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, May, 1930 • Various

... Queen ever realized the full size of those tanks, or even saw the lids which Mr. Phillips had mentioned. The light was very dim. The situation, in spite of the grotesque appearance of the tanks, was exceedingly romantic. Long stalactites hung, faintly gleaming, from the roof. The water, strangely blue, mourned against the stones of the beach, sighed through the deep recesses of the cave. The world and all ...
— The Island Mystery • George A. Birmingham

... the fish he obtains. These gatherings afford much delight to the children, of whom a great number accompanied their elders in the prahus. Women and children were in holiday attire, and, in spite of the grotesque ornaments of big rings in the split, distended ear-lobes, the latter were unusually charming. They had bracelets of brass and silver around their wrists and ankles; some of them wore necklaces of antique beads in dull colors, yellow, dark brown, or deep blue. Such a necklace may cost over ...
— Through Central Borneo: - An Account of Two Years' Travel in the Land of Head-Hunters - Between the Years 1913 and 1917 • Carl Lumholtz

... service of porcelain of Chinese make adorned her table, pleasing the fancy with its grotesque pictures,—then so new, now so familiar to us all. The Chinese garden and summer-house, the fruit-laden trees, and river with overhanging willows; the rustic bridge with the three long-robed figures passing over it; the boat floating upon ...
— The Golden Dog - Le Chien d'Or • William Kirby

... carefully made it his business to present the eccentricity—I use the word in its literal sense—of most things, and the humour followed in accordance with the above definition. The method was simple. Chesterton invented some grotesque situation, some hypothesis which was glaringly absurd. He then placed it in an abrupt juxtaposition with the normal, instead of working from the normal to the actual, in the usual manner. Just as the reader was beginning to protest against the reversal of his accustomed ...
— G. K. Chesterton, A Critical Study • Julius West

... new-art mode. In front her shirtwaist appeared cool and white, at the sleeves it flowered alarmingly into something like an India shawl. A string of massive amethysts completed a discord as elaborate as a harmony of Richard Strauss. Her whole impression was almost as inviting as it was grotesque. One could not chat with her without liking her, and it is to be suspected that only a very guileless or austere male could like her without proceeding to ...
— The Collectors • Frank Jewett Mather

... to human faces. I am apt to believe, that they took the first hint of their dress from a fair sheep newly ruddled. 'Tis with pleasure I recollect my dear pretty country-women: and if I was writing to any body else, I should say, that these grotesque daubers give me still a higher esteem of the natural charms of dear Lady R——'s auburne (sic) hair, and the lively colours of her unsullied complexion. I am, ...
— Letters of the Right Honourable Lady M—y W—y M—e • Lady Mary Wortley Montague

... circumference through the stables at Laxton! I, as it happened, could report to Lord Massey their earlier condition; he to me could report their immediate changes. I won him easily to an interest in my own Irish experiences, so fresh, and in parts so grotesque, wilder also by much in Connaught than in Lord Massey's county of Limerick; whilst he (without affecting any delight in the hunting systems of Northamptonshire and Leicestershire) yet took pleasure in explaining to me those characteristic features of the English midland ...
— Memorials and Other Papers • Thomas de Quincey

... rendering of the immortal fifteenth century satire, assigned on no very solid evidence to Antoine de la Salle, the Quinze Joyes de Mariage, the resemblance being kept down to the recurrence at the end of each section of the same phrase, "in Lob's pound," which reproduces the less grotesque "dans la nasse" of the original. But here, as later, the skill with which Dekker adapts and brings in telling circumstances appropriate to his own day deserves every acknowledgment. Dekker's Dreame is chiefly verse and chiefly pious; and then at a date somewhat later than that of ...
— A History of English Literature - Elizabethan Literature • George Saintsbury

... would have been as well to try to train woodbine to draw water or to educate cattails to write Greek. The little boy spent all of the day idling; it was a curious, Oriental sort of idling. Callers at Heartholm grew disapprovingly accustomed to the sight of the grotesque face and figure peering through the shrubberies; they shrugged their shoulders impatiently, coming upon the recumbent child dreamily gazing at his own reflection in the lily-pond, looking necromantically out from the molten purple ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... suppose that she was protecting me!" he thought. "She is the man and rejoices that I, the weak comrade, should be protected from danger. . . . What a grotesque ...
— The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... of war, Lincoln was keenly appreciative of anything that disclosed the comic or grotesque side of men or happenings,—largely, doubtless, for the relief afforded him. At the beginning of Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, in June, 1863, when the Union forces under Colonel Milroy were driven out of Harper's Ferry by the Confederates, great consternation and alarm were caused by reports ...
— The Every-day Life of Abraham Lincoln • Francis Fisher Browne

... when he no longer thought the West must be exile for a literary man; and his latest visits to its summer schools as a lecturer impressed him with the genuineness of the interest felt there in culture of all kinds. He spoke of this, with a due sense of what was pathetic as well as what was grotesque in some of its manifestations; and I think that in reconciling himself to our popular crudeness for the sake of our popular earnestness, he completed his naturalization, in the only sense in which our ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... bent over the parchment, upon which the grotesque outline of a griffin began to grow, twisted round a very conventional tree, with the stem issuing from its mouth, and its elongated tail executing marvellous spiral curves. The illuminator was taken by surprise the next instant, and the curve ...
— The White Rose of Langley - A Story of the Olden Time • Emily Sarah Holt

... supporting a gothic building, varying in height and thickness, and here and there intersected by wide and deep chasms and glens, running far inland between the mountains. Loose stones above, have in some places the appearance of statues, and the superior region exhibits all kind of grotesque shapes. It is by far the most singular and picturesque chain of mountains on this coast. To the highest part of it we gave the name of St. Pauls, as it is not unlike that cathedral when viewed at a distance, with its dome and ...
— Journal of a Voyage from Okkak, on the Coast of Labrador, to Ungava Bay, Westward of Cape Chudleigh • Benjamin Kohlmeister and George Kmoch

... firs and pines rising to the clouds, where eagles soar and scream and rear their young. Flocks and herds now graze upon the banks; here lies the scattered village, and its whole population, half civilized men, and matrons and maidens in antique, grotesque attire, crowd the shores. Now the pinnacles and the battlements of a great city rise to view. Armies were gathered at several points to entertain the imperial pleasure-party with all the pomp and pageantry of war. ...
— The Empire of Austria; Its Rise and Present Power • John S. C. Abbott

... new life as pantomimes. A bottle-nosed Lear will come on with a monstrous corpulence from which he will frantically dance himself free during the midnight storm; Rosalind and Celia will join in a grotesque ballet with shepherds and shepherdesses; Ophelia in fleshings and a voluminous brevity of grenadine will dance through the mad scene, finishing with the famous "attitude of the scissors" in the arms of Laertes; and all the speeches in "Hamlet" will be so ingeniously parodied ...
— Impressions of Theophrastus Such • George Eliot

... were cool, and at times chilly. This fire was never allowed to go out, but burned night and day, although, of course, it reached its full height and beauty after dark, when the flames shot up high and sent grotesque shadows dancing under and among the trees, and on the sandy beach which had been selected as the ideal location ...
— The Camp Fire Girls in the Mountains - or Bessie King's Strange Adventure • Jane L. Stewart

... form is so fleeting and so subject to the dictates of fashion as opera. It has always been the plaything of fashion, and suffers from its changes. To-day the stilted figures of Hasse, Pergolesi, Rameau, and even Gluck, seem as grotesque to us as the wigs and buckles of their contemporaries. To Palestrina's masses and madrigals, Rameau's and Couperin's clavecin pieces, and all of Bach, we can still listen without this sense of incongruity. On the other hand, operas of ...
— Critical & Historical Essays - Lectures delivered at Columbia University • Edward MacDowell

... to the camp for the remaining pans and when he turned back he saw Wabi leaping in a grotesque dance about the rock while Mukoki stood on the edge of the pool, his dredge poised over it, silent ...
— The Gold Hunters - A Story of Life and Adventure in the Hudson Bay Wilds • James Oliver Curwood

... like ogives, through the orifices of which shone the blue sky; monstrous serpents coiled in groups like the spirals of a solomonic column; gigantic negroes, heads down and hands on the ground, the roots like fingers thrust deep into the soil, their feet in the air, grotesque stems with bunches of leaves springing from them. Some, vanquished by the centuries, were lying on the ground, sustained by forked branches, like old men trying to lift themselves with ...
— The Dead Command - From the Spanish Los Muertos Mandan • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... one grows intoxicated by breathing the odor of faded roses, Rodolphe again became so by reviving in recollection that past life in which every day brought about a fresh elegy, a terrible drama, or a grotesque comedy. He went through all the phases of his strange love from their honeymoon to the domestic storms that had brought about their last rupture, he recalled all the tricks of his ex-mistress, repeated all her witty sayings. He saw her going to and fro about their little household, ...
— Bohemians of the Latin Quarter • Henry Murger

... soldiers resting on their knapsacks, and their arms stacked in the dark corners,—of the Governor and his satellites, some of them in brilliant militia array, seated around the lighted table,—and of the grotesque eloquence with which either the Governor or some of his prominent people would now and then burst out into an oratorical tirade, all thrown away on his sleepy auditors, and lost to the world for want ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 92, June, 1865 • Various

... vegetables: their guns supplied them with an abundance of meat, of a flavor as delicious as the refined palate of a modern epicure could well wish. Their clothes were made chiefly of the skins of animals, and were easily procured: and although calculated to give a grotesque appearance to a fine gentleman in a city drawing room; yet were they particularly suited to their situation, ...
— Chronicles of Border Warfare • Alexander Scott Withers

... skipped along to the winning-post like a young lamb. A great cheer was echoed from cliff to cliff. Uncle Jake has not spoken his mind all his life for nothing. Seacombe does not unanimously like him, but it has the sense to be rather proud of him. A veterans' race is usually a sad spectacle, a grotesque memento mori: for ...
— A Poor Man's House • Stephen Sydney Reynolds



Words linked to "Grotesque" :   ugly, fine art, grotesqueness, antic, strange, art, fantastic, unusual



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