Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America—that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement. At any rate, that is how it seemed to young George Webber, who was never so assured of his purpose as when he was going somewhere on a train. And he never had the sense of home so much as when he felt that he was going there. It was only when he got there that his homelessness began.
A cult is a religion with no political power.
We are always acting on what has just finished happening. It happened at least 1/30th of a second ago. We think we’re in the present, but we aren’t. The present we know is only a movie of the past.
Topics: Time, Time Management
The modern picture of the artist began to form: The poor, but free spirit, plebeian but aspiring only to be classless, to cut himself forever free from the bonds of the greedy bourgeoisie, to be whatever the fat burghers feared most, to cross the line wherever they drew it, to look at the world in a way they couldn’t see, to be high, live low, stay young forever—in short, to be the bohemian.
Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs.
Not even the most powerful organs of the press, including Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times, can discover a new artist or certify his work and make it stick. They can only bring you the scores.
Topics: Criticism, Critics
It is very comforting to believe that leaders who do terrible things are, in fact, mad. That way, all we have to do is make sure we don’t put psychotics in high places and we’ve got the problem solved.
All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.
Loneliness is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man.
If a man has talent and can’t use it, he’s failed. If he uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he uses the whole of it, he has succeeded, and won a satisfaction and triumph few men ever know.
If a man has a talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns somehow to use the whole of it, he has gloriously succeeded, and won a satisfaction and a triumph few men ever know.
Topics: Success, Work, Abilities, Mistakes, Failures, Appropriateness, Talents, Aptness
In Sleep we lie all naked and alone, in Sleep we are united at the heart of night and darkness, and we are strange and beautiful asleep; for we are dying the darkness and we know no death.
At that instant he saw, in one blaze of light, an image of unutterable conviction, the reason why the artist works and lives and has his being—the reward he seeks—the only reward he really cares about, without which there is nothing. It is to snare the spirits of mankind in nets of magic, to make his life prevail through his creation, to wreak the vision of his life, the rude and painful substance of his own experience, into the congruence of blazing and enchanted images that are themselves the core of life, the essential pattern whence all other things proceed, the kernel of eternity.
Topics: The Artist
Le Corbusier was the sort of relentlessly rational intellectual that only France loves wholeheartedly, the logician who flies higher and higher in ever-decreasing circles until, with one last, utterly inevitable induction, he disappears up his own fundamental aperture and emerges in the fourth dimension as a needle-thin umber bird.
So, then, to every man his chance—to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining golden opportunity—to every man his right to live, to work, to be himself, to become whatever his manhood and his vision can combine to make him—this, seeker, is the promise of America.
If a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged, a liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested
The notion that the public accepts or rejects anything in modern art is merely romantic fiction. The game is completed and the trophies distributed long before the public knows what has happened.
Topics: Art, Artists, Arts
There are some people who have the quality of richness and joy in them and they communicate it to everything they touch. It is first of all a physical quality; then it is a quality of the spirit.
Topics: Spirit, Spirituality
You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become un interested in money, compliments, or publicity.
This is the artist, then—life’s hungry man, the glutton of eternity, beauty’s miser, glory’s slave.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Norman Mailer American Novelist, Journalist
- Raymond Chandler American Novelist
- Lionel Trilling American Critic
- Ellery Queen American Crime Fiction Authors
- Lloyd Alexander American Writer
- Owen Wister American Novelist
- Walker Percy American Novelist
- Wendell Berry American Author, Environmentalist
- Ralph Ellison American Novelist
- John Dos Passos American Novelist, Artist