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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I will refuse.

“You get up on your little 21-inch screen, and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state — Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories and minimax solutions and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments just like we do.

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business.

The world is a business, Mr. Beale! It has been since man crawled out of the slime, and our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there is no war or famine, oppression or brutality — one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.”

                                                                                  –from The Network

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Back When

“Wasn’t there a time when American writers were let alone by personality mongers and publicity monsters?”

                                                                                  –Jack Kerouac

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Suffrage

“Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.”

                                –Bertrand Russell