No man is offended by another man's admiration of the woman he loves it is the woman only who can make it a torment.
That's what literature is. It's the people who went before us, tapping out messages from the past, from beyond the grave, trying to tell us about life and death! Listen to them!
Life is not a PG feel-good movie. Real life often ends badly. Literature tries to document this reality, while showing us it is still possible for us to endure nobly.
Life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was woman's lot. It was a man's world, and she accepted it as such. The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness. The man roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger, and the woman muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him. Men were rough of speech and often drunk. Women ignored the lapses of speech and put the drunkards to bed without bitter words. Men were rude and outspoken, women were always kind, gracious and forgiving.
Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are. That’s my definition anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies. So now you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life.
In life there are two things which are dependable. The pleasures of the flesh and the pleasures of literature.
Jane, be still; don't struggle so like a wild, frantic bird, that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.
So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun. True connoisseurs, however, are known to favor the stretch in between, since it's the hardest to do anything with. That's about all that can be said for plots, which anyway are just one thing after another, a what and a what and a what.
Oh! it is absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.
Literary detection and firearms don't really go hand in hand, pen mighter than the sword and so forth.
Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!
It's not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.
Mother used to say that however miserable one is, there’s always something to be thankful for. And each morning, when the sky brightened and light began to flood my cell, I agreed with her.
O how incomprehensible everything was, and actually sad, although it was also beautiful. One knew nothing. One lived and ran about the earth and rode through forests, and certain things looked so challenging and promising and nostalgic: a star in the evening, a blue harebell, a reed-green pond, the eye of a person or a cow. And sometimes it seemed that something never seen yet long desired was about to happen, that a veil would drop from it all, but then it passed, nothing happened, the riddle remained unsolved, the secret spell unbroken, and in the end one grew old and looked cunning . . . or wise . . . and still one knew nothing perhaps, was still waiting and listening.
It's always seemed a little preposterous that Hamlet, for all his paralyzing doubt about everything, never once doubts the reality of the ghost. Never questions his own madness might not in fact be unfeigned.
I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men, and the colour of things: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all things in a phrase, all existence in an epigram: whatever I touched I made beautiful
a spider and a flyi heard a spiderand a fly arguingwait said the flydo not eat mei serve a great purposein the worldyou will have toshow me said the spideri scurry aroundgutters and sewersand garbage canssaid the fly and gatherup the germs oftyphoid influenzaand pneumonia on my feetand wingsthen i carry these germsinto households of menand give them diseasesall the people whohave lived the rightsort of life recoverfrom the diseasesand the old soaks whohave weakened their systemswith liquor and iniquitysuccumb it is my missionto help rid the worldof these wicked personsi am a vessel of righteousnessscattering seeds of justiceand serving the noblest usesit is true said the spiderthat you are moreuseful in a ploddingmaterial sort of waythan i am but i do notserve the utilitarian deitiesi serve the gods of beautylook at the gossamer websi weave they float in the sunlike filaments of songif you get what i meani do not work at anythingi play all the timei am busy with the stuffof enchantment and the materialsof fairyland my workstranscend utilityi am the artista creator and demi godit is ridiculous to supposethat i should be deniedthe food i need in orderto continue to createbeauty i tell youplainly mister fly it is alldamned nonsense for that foodto rear up on its hind legsand say it should not be eatenyou have convinced mesaid the fly say no moreand shutting all his eyeshe prepared himself for dinnerand yet he said i couldhave made out a casefor myself too if i hadhad a better line of talkof course you could said the spiderclutching a sirloin from himbut the end would have beenjust the same if neither ofus had spoken at allboss i am afraid that whatthe spider said is trueand it gives me to thinkfuriously upon the futilityof literaturearchy
What are we doing to each other? Because I know that I am doing to him exactly what he is doing to me. We are sometimes so happy, and never in our lives have we known more unhappiness.
The world has become sad because a puppet was once melancholy. The nihilist, that strange martyr who has no faith, who goes to the stake without enthusiasm, and dies for what he does not believe in, is a purely literary product. He was invented by Turgenev, and completed by Dostoevsky. Robespierre came out of the pages of Rousseau as surely as the People's Palace rose out debris of a novel. Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose.