Quotes of Note

“Originality consists of trying to be like everybody else – and failing.” – Raymond Radiguet, French writer who died at age 20 from typhoid fever

“The job of the novelist is to inhabit both male and female characters, so in a sense every novelist should possess a hermaphroditic imagination.” – Jeffrey Eugenides in a Paris Review interview

“The chief character is a mole whom the reader plumps upon on the first page whitewashing his house.  Here is an initial nut to crack; a mole whitewashing.  No doubt moles like their abodes to be clean; but whitewashing?  Are we very stupid, or is this joke really inferior?” – 1908 London Times review of Kenneth Grahame’s new book The Wind in the Willows

“I know what I should love to do – to build a study; to write, and to think of nothing else. I want to bury myself in a den of books. I want to saturate myself with the elements of which they are made, and breathe their atmosphere until I am of it. Not a bookworm, being which is to give off no utterances; but a man in the world of writing – one with a pen that shall stop men to listen to it, whether they wish to or not.” – Lew Wallace

“Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences.” – Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

“I am stricken by the realization that Faulkner is really gone. And I am deep in memory, as if summoned there by a trumpet blast. Dilsey and Benjy and Luster and all the Compsons, Hightower and Byron Bunch and Flem Snopes and the gentle Laura Grove—all of these people and a score of others come swarming back comically and villainously and tragically in my mind with a kind of mnemonic sense of utter reality, along with the tumultuous landscape and the fierce and tender weather, and the whole maddened, miraculous vision of life wrested, as all art is wrested, out of nothingness.” – William Styron’s eulogy of William Faulkner

“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” – Virginia Woolf

“I never rework a book.  I’d rather use what I’ve learned on the next one.  The worst of it is that I’m no longer a kid and I’m just now getting to be a good writer.  Just now.” – Louis L’Amour

“One of the nice things about books as opposed to television and movies to some extent is it’s not a passive entertainment. People really do get involved, and they do create, and they do have their own visions of what different characters look like and what should happen. It’s great – it means their brains are working.” – James Patterson

“There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick.” – Robert A. Heinlein

“The rigors of Chem 101 [Chemistry 101] may create almost as many humanities majors per year as the splendors of Shakespeare.” – Mark Edmundson, Why Read?

“Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.” – Flannery O’Connor

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