Any artist should be grateful for a naive grace which puts him beyond the need to reason elaborately.
Alternatives, and particularly desirable alternatives, grow only on imaginary trees.
The fact that there are so many weak, poor and boring stories and novels written and published in America has been ascribed by our rebels to the horrible squareness of our institutions, the idiocy of power, the debasement of sexual instincts, and the failure of writers to be alienated enough. The poems and novels of these same rebellious spirits, and their theoretical statements, are grimy and gritty and very boring too, besides being nonsensical, and it is evident by now that polymorphous sexuality and vehement declarations of alienation are not going to produce great works of art either.
Topics: Poets, Poetry
A man should be able to hear, and to bear, the worst that could be said of him.
A writer is in the broadest sense a spokesman of his community. Through him that community comes to know its heart. Without such knowledge, how long can it survive?
You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.
There are evils that have the ability to survive identification and go on for ever… money, for instance, or war.
A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and a multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life.
There is only one way to defeat the enemy, and that is to write as well as one can. The best argument is an undeniably good book.
The real universe. That’s the present moment. The past is no good to us. The future is full of anxiety. Only the present is real – the here and now. Seize the day.
As for types like my own, obscurely motivated by the conviction that our existence was worthless if we didn’t make a turning point of it, we were assigned to the humanities, to poetry, philosophy, painting—the nursery games of humankind, which had to be left behind when the age of science began. The humanities would be called upon to choose a wallpaper for the crypt, as the end drew near.
Topics: Arts, Artists, Art
Psychoanalysis pretends to investigate the Unconscious. The Unconscious by definition is what you are not conscious of. But the Analysts already know what’s in it—they should, because they put it all in beforehand.
Topics: Mind, Psychiatry
Public virtue is a kind of ghost town into which anyone can move and declare himself sheriff.
Goodness is achieved not in a vacuum, but in the company of other men, attended by love.
Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of suppression; if you hold down one thing, you hold down the adjoining.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Philip Roth American Novelist, Short-story Writer
- A. M. Rosenthal Canadian-born American Editor
- Bernard Malamud American Novelist
- Joyce Carol Oates American Novelist
- S. I. Hayakawa Canadian-born American Academic
- William Faulkner American Novelist
- Ernest Hemingway American Author
- Nelson Algren American Novelist
- Laurence J. Peter Canadian-born American Educator
- Katherine Anne Porter American Writer