Category Archives: Appreciations

Submissions

“If the Muses could lobby for their interest, all biographical research into the lives of artists would probably be prohibited by law, and historians of the individual would have to confine themselves to those who act but do not make—generals, criminals, eccentrics, courtesans and the like, about whom information is not only more interesting but less misleading. Good artists—the artist manqué is another matter—never make satisfactory heroes for novelists because their life stories, even when interesting for themselves, are peripheral and less significant than their productions.”

                                                                              –W. H. Auden

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Ideally

“The novel, which is a work of art, exists, not by its resemblances to life, which are forced and material, as a shoe must consist of leather, but by its immeasurable difference from life, which is both designed and significant, and is both the method and the meaning of the work.”

                                                                        –Robert Louis Stevenson

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“It did nothing for me.”

“I do not accept this excited rhetoric about what texts ‘actually do,’ which is replacing the older, soberer emphasis on what they say. I regard the methodology of ‘stop and go’ as a parody of genuine scientific investigation of the workings of the human brain, providing a spurious justification for what the critic himself arbitrarily chooses to ‘do’ to, and with, the text. A better way, to my mind, of slowing down the reading process and awakening attention to the nuances of language in the hands of great masters is to read aloud, to oneself, to one’s friends, or in a group, or to listen to a good reader.”

                                                                                            –Helen Gardner

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Masters

“However strong national armaments may be, they do not create military security for any nation nor do they guarantee the maintenance of peace.”

“There is no compromise possible between preparation for war, on the one hand, and preparation of a world society based on law and order on the other.”

                                                                                                   –Albert Einstein

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Testing

“…for just as the universal family of gifted writers transcends national barriers, so is the gifted reader a universal figure, not subject to spatial or temporal laws. It is he—the good, the excellent reader—who has saved the artist again and again from being destroyed by emperors, dictators, priests, puritans, philistines, political moralists, policemen, postmasters, and prigs. Let me define this admirable reader. He does not belong to any specific nation or class. No director of conscience and no book club can manage his soul. His approach to a work of fiction is not governed by those juvenile emotions that make the mediocre reader identify himself with this or that character and ‘skip descriptions.’ The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book. The admirable reader does not seek information about Russia in a Russian novel, for he knows that the Russia of Tolstoy or Chekhov is not the average Russia of history but a specific world imagined and created by individual genius. The admirable reader is not concerned with general ideas: he is interested in the particular vision. He likes the novel not because it helps him to get along with the group (to use a diabolical progressive-school cliché); he likes the novel because he imbibes and understands every detail of the text, enjoys what the author meant to be enjoyed, beams inwardly and all over, is thrilled by the magic imageries of the master-forger, the fancy-forger, the conjuror, the artist. Indeed, of all the characters that a great artist creates, his readers are the best.”

                                                                                        –Vladimir Nabokov

“If you want to create life, the one way not to set about it is by explanation.”

                                  –Henry Green

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Here do we go from where?

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when a cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainment, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”

                                                                                           –Neil Postman

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Cardinal

“Fiction is experimentation; when it ceases to be that, it ceases to be fiction. One never puts down a sentence without the feeling that it has never been put down before in such a way, and that perhaps even the substance of the sentence has never been felt. Every sentence is an innovation.”

                                                                                                –John Cheever

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“Society is a very culpable entity, and has to answer for the manufacture of many unwholesome commodities, from bad pickles to bad poetry.”

                                                                                    –George Eliot

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Not for us, current needs, doesn’t fit, unfortunately, good luck

“A trapeze artist on his high wire is performing and defying death at the same time. He’s doing more than showing off his skill; he’s using his skill to stay alive. Art demands that sense of risk, of danger. But few artists in any period risk their lives. The truth is they’re not on a high enough wire.”

                                                                                          –Stanley Kunitz

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Long and Sluggish Lines

“I am primarily a teacher and proud of it because it is one of the most honorable things one can be. My function is to teach my students or my reader how to appreciate really great writers in every sense of appreciation, meaning to evaluate; meaning once you’ve established for yourself and by the criteria of all the great works of the past from Homer and the Bible, considered as literature, through Dante and Shakespeare and Milton and up to the present day, with Proust and with Joyce. Once it is perfectly clear that one is dealing with really great and profound literature that is marked by cognitive power, aesthetic beauty, originality and above all, of the deepest human relevance, then appreciate it in the sense of not only enjoying it and communicating the enjoyment of it but apprehending it, deepening your understanding of it.”

                                                                      –Harold Bloom

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-skafidas/harold-bloom-preposterous_b_7546334.html

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