WORDS, WORDS, WORDS
Autobiography is an unrivalled vehicle for telling the truth about other
Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at
very small expense.
No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but
most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly
believe their wish has been granted.
Today's literature: prescriptions written by patients.
If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing.
In the case of many poets, the most important thing for them to do
... is to write as little as possible.
As repressed sadists are supposed to become policemen or butchers
so those with irrational fear of life become publishers.
The covers of this book are too far apart.
Most rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people
who can't talk for people who can't read.
One reason the human race has such a low opinion of itself is that
it gets so much of its wisdom from writers.
A jerk who knees is better than a knee that jerks.
Biography is often practised as a form of lion-taming without the risks.
The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism is a mode of autobiography.
It is often remarked, but for this reason easily forgotten, that sensitive
minds are daily becoming rarer, and cultured minds more commonplace.
Deciding to remember, and what to remember, is how we decide who we are.
For we all of us, grave or light, get our thoughts entangled in metaphors,
and act fatally on the strength of them.
There is no test of literary merit except survival.
The canon of the novel demands that virtuous love be depicted as essentially
tedious and uninteresting. ... But all this is a weakness in the art of
portrayal and quite unrelated to passion as it exists in nature.
Two things: solving a problem and stating a problem correctly. It is only
the second that is obligatory for the artists.
I have never mastered the art of composing synopses, a disability which
has put me at a disadvantage in a society littered with the corpses of
publicly funded artistic expression.
Damn description, it is always disgusting.
There is at the back of every artist's mind something like a pattern or
a type of architecture ... the landscape of his dreams ... This general
atmosphere, and pattern or structure of growth, governs all his creations,
G. K. Chesterton
Some gentlemen have
made an amazing figure in literature by general discontent with the universe
as a trap of dullness into which their great souls have fallen by mistake;
but the sense of a stupendous self and an insignificant world may have