Quotes

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Portrait of Henry James 1913

«It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, for our consideration and application of these things, and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.» —Henry James (Letter to H.G. Wells, 1915).

tom_waits


“Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather, re-arranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him?” — Sigmund Freud Creative Writing and Day-Dreaming», 1908)


«Anyone who cannot give an account
to oneself of the past three thousand
years remains in the darkness, without 
experience, living from day to day.»
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“You have to enter the wound deeply enough to become suspicious to others.” Hans Jürgen Syberberg



“Lev Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana”, 1908, the first color photo portrait in Russia.

“The artist of the future will live the ordinary life of a human being, earning his living by some kind of labour. He will strive to give the fruit of that supreme spiritual force which passes through him to the greatest number of people, because this conveying of the feelings that have been born in him to the greatest number of people is his joy and his reward. The artist of the future will not even understand how it is possible for an artist, whose joy consists in the widest dissemination of his works, to give these works only in exchange for a certain payment.” ― Leo Tolstoy “What is Art ” (1911).


Photo: W G Sebald, Text from: The Rings Of Saturn (1995).

«You must write every sin­gle day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like lad­ders to sniff books like per­fumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.»― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

«Life is difficult. It’s big. One should live as long as possible. Let’s take care of one another in the name of this great epoch. We have to be calm, like being at war or inside an incubator.» —Viktor Shklovsky

«It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses,we must plant more roses.» ― George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)


«Les miroirs feraient bien de réfléchir un peu plus
avant de renvoyer les images.» —Jean Cocteau


«People, fearing their own extinction, are willing to accept and perpetuate hand-me-down answers to the meaning of life and death; and, fearing a weakening of the tribal structures that sustain them, reinforce with their tales the conventional notions of justice, freedom, law and order, nature, family, etc. The writer, lone rider, has the power, if not always the skills, wisdom, or desire, to disturb this false contentment.» —Robert Coover

«The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death.» — Italo Calvino

«Contemporary things in prose can have value appropriate to the contemporary psyche only if they’re written in one sitting. Reflections or recollections of twenty of thirty lines—say, at the maximum a hundred lines—that’s the contemporary novel.»
Yuri Karlovich Olesha

«As to experience, intellectual and moral, the creative imagination can make a little go a long way, provided it remains long enough in the mind and is sufficiently brooded upon. One good heart-break will furnish the poet with many songs, and the novelist with a considerable number of novels. But they must have hearts that can break.» — Edith Wharton

«An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. “Can they be brought together?” This is a practical question. We must get down to it. “I despise intelligence” really means: “I cannot bear my doubts.”»— Albert Camus

«Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.» —Bertolt Brecht


«Something to be said for remaining in a place far off, without name, without identity.» — Ann Quin (in: Passages)

«A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.» —Ursula K. Le Guin

«If there is good to be said, the writer should say it. If there is bad to be said, he should say it in a way that reflects the truth that, though we see the evil, we choose to continue among the living.» —John Gardner (The Art of Fiction)


«Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.» —E. M. Forster

«Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.» — Georgia O’Keefe

«The overwhelming presence of love is vital to understanding how great literature works.» — Harold Bloom

«Imagination only comes when you privilege the subconscious.» — Hilary Mantel

«How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself.» — Gore Vidal (Julian)

« A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. » —Thomas Mann

« The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. » —Jane Austen

« I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money. »Dorothy Parker

« Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars. » – Gustave Flaubert

« That which has died falls not out of the universe. If it stays here, it also changes here, and is dissolved into its proper parts, which are elements of the universe and of thyself. And these too change, and they murmur not. »
- Marcus Aurelius


« Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get writing done, no shortcut. » – William Faulkner

« We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to. » – W. Somerset Maugham


«If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.» –– H. G. Wells

« Art is not about itself but the atten­tion we bring to it. »
Marcel Duchamp

« Only one thing registers on the subconscious mind: repetitive application – practice. What you practice is what you manifest. » – Fay Weldon


There is much more mystery in the shadow of a man walking on a sunny day, than in all religions of the world. — Giorgio de Chirico

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
Oscar Wilde (from: The Critic as Artist)

“You are free now,” said the Officer. For the first time the face of the Condemned Man showed signs of real life. — Franz Kafka (from: The Penal Colony)

“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.” — Jean Genet

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”
Joyce Carol Oates

“L’homme des lettres doit s’abstenir des femmes, elles font perdre son temps, on doit se borner a leur ecrire, cela forme le style.”
Honoré de Balzac


“Any life is made up of a single moment, the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.” — Jorge Luis Borges

“I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the great plain. I want to make a dragon’s head, an angel, a devil — or perhaps a saint — out of stone.” – Ingmar Bergman


“Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.”
Bertrand Russell

“Many things in the world have not been named; and many things, even if they have been named, have never been described.”
Susan Sontag


“The purpose of a writer is to be read, and the criticism which would destroy the power of pleasing must be blown aside.”– Samuel Johnson

“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.” — Pablo Picasso

“To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.”
Samuel Beckett

“Our digestions, going sacredly and silently right, that is the foundation of all poetry.”
G. K. Chesterton

“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” — James Joyce

“Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening.” — Gertrude Stein

3 thoughts on “Quotes

  1. Pingback: Caught in the Crossfire: moment of truth | An attempt to thought-provoking, literary courting | Julie O'Yang

  2. Pingback: Caught in the Crossfire — Moments of Truth | Brave New World

  3. Pingback: Time Of Heroes « Marcus Speh

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