We do not go to bed in single pairs; even if we choose not to refer to them, we still drag there with us the cultural impedimenta of our social class, our parents lives, our bank balances, our sexual and emotional expectations, our whole biographies—all the bits and pieces of our unique existences.
Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.
Topics: Reading, Books
The bed is now as public as the dinner table and governed by the same rules of formal confrontation.
Anxiety is the beginning of conscience, which is the parent of the soul but is not compatible with innocence.
If Miss means respectably unmarried, and Mrs. respectably married, then Ms. means nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people.
Fine art, that exists for itself alone, is art in a final state of impotence. If nobody, including the artist, acknowledges art as a means of knowing the world, then art is relegated to a kind of rumpus room of the mind and the irresponsibility of the artist and the irrelevance of art to actual living becomes part and parcel of the practice of art.
Topics: Artists, Art, Arts
The whore is despised by the hypocritical world because she has made a realistic assessment of her assets and does not have to rely on fraud to make a living. In an area of human relations where fraud is regular practice between the sexes, her honesty is regarded with a mocking wonder.
There’s a theory, one I find persuasive, that the quest for knowledge is, at bottom, the search for the answer to the question: “Where was I before I was born.” In the beginning was what? Perhaps, in the beginning, there was a curious room, a room like this one, crammed with wonders; and now the room and all it contains are forbidden you, although it was made just for you, had been prepared for you since time began, and you will spend all your life trying to remember it.
The notion of a universality of human experience is a confidence trick and the notion of a universality of female experience is a clever confidence trick.
Iconic clothing has been secularized. A guardsman in a dress uniform is ostensibly an icon of aggression; his coat is red as the blood he hopes to shed. Seen on a coat-hanger, with no man inside it, the uniform loses all its blustering significance and, to the innocent eye seduced by decorative color and tactile braid, it is as abstract in symbolic information as a parasol to an Eskimo. It becomes simply magnificent.
Topics: The Military
I think it’s one of the scars in our culture that we have too high an opinion of ourselves. We align ourselves with the angels instead of the higher primates.
In the mythic schema of all relations between men and women, man proposes, and woman is disposed of.
There are lots of things that you can brush under the carpet about yourself until you’re faced with somebody whose needs won’t be put off.
I think the adjective “post-modernist” really means “mannerist.” Books about books is fun but frivolous.
Mother goddesses are just as silly a notion as father gods. If a revival of the myths of these cults gives woman emotional satisfaction, it does so at the price of obscuring the real conditions of life. This is why they were invented in the first place.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- J. B. Priestley British Novelist, Playwright, Essayist
- Dorothy L. Sayers English Novelist, Playwright
- Elizabeth Goudge English Novelist
- Zadie Smith (b.1975) English Novelist, Essayist, Short-story Writer
- A. S. Byatt English Novelist, Poet
- Tanith Lee British Science Fiction Writer
- J. R. R. Tolkien British Philologist, Writer
- Robert Ranke Graves British Writer
- Laurence Housman English Novelist, Dramatist
- George Orwell English Novelist, Essayist, Journalist