Author's Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 295 quotes )
To make someone an icon is to make him an abstraction, and abstractions are incapable of vital communication with living people.1010 One has only to spend a term trying to teach college literature to realize that the quickest way to kill an author's vitality for potential readers is to present that author ahead of his time as "great" or "classic." Because then the author becomes for the students like medicine or vegetables, something the authorities have declared "good for them" that they "ought to like," at which point the students' nictitating membranes come down, and everyone just goes through the requisite motions of criticism and paper-writing without feeling one real or relevant thing. It's like removing all oxygen from the room before trying to start a fire.
Because every book of art, be it a poem or a cupola, is understandably a self-portrait of its author, we won't strain ourselves too hard trying to distinguish between the author's persona and the poem's lyrical hero. As a rule, such distinctions are quite meaningless, if only because a lyrical hero is invariably an author's self-projection.
There have been so many interpretations of the story that I'm not going to choose between them. Make your own choice. They contradict each other, the various choices. The only choice that really matters, the only interpretation of the story, if you want one, is your own. Not your teacher's, not your professor's, not mine, not a critic's, not some authority's. The only thing that matters is, first, the experience of being in the story, moving through it. Then any interpretation you like. If it's yours, then that's the right one, because what's in a book is not what an author thought he put into it, it's what the reader gets out of it.
In the Author’s mind there bubbles up every now and then the material for a story. For me it invariable begins with mental pictures. This ferment leads to nothing unless it is accompanied with the longing for a Form: a verse or prose, short story, novel, play or what not. When these two things click you have the Author’s impulse complete. (from the essay Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What’s To Be Said)
When a book leaves its author's desk it changes. Even before anyone has read it, before eyes other than its creator's have looked upon a single phrase, it is irretrievably altered. It has become a book that can be read, that no longer belongs to its maker. It has acquired, in a sense, free will. It will make its journey through the world and there is no longer anything the author can do about it. Even he, as he looks at its sentences, reads them differently now that they can be read by others. They look like different sentences. The book has gone out into the world and the world has remade it.
I think Dr. Willis McNelly at the California State University at Fullerton put it best when he said that the true protagonist of an sf story or novel is an idea and not a person. If it is *good* sf the idea is new, it is stimulating, and, probably most important of all, it sets off a chain-reaction of ramification-ideas in the mind of the reader; it so-to-speak unlocks the reader’s mind so that the mind, like the author’s, begins to create. Thus sf is creative and it inspires creativity, which mainstream fiction by-and-large does not do. We who read sf (I am speaking as a reader now, not a writer) read it because we love to experience this chain-reaction of ideas being set off in our minds by something we read, something with a new idea in it; hence the very best since fiction ultimately winds up being a collaboration between author and reader, in which both create and enjoy doing it: joy is the essential and final ingredient of science fiction, the joy of discovery of newness.
Audiences often ask if characters are based on real people. Indeed the impulse of the amateur is to write about who one knows. The professional on the other hand understands the impossibility of such a task. The creator of the character must know more about the character than anyone could ever possibly know about a real person. The author must possess the complete knowledge; what the person was wearing on Christmas morning when he or she was five, what presents he or she received, and who gave them and how they were given. A "character" therefore is a real person who exists in another plane, a parallel universe based on the author's perceptions of reality. When it comes to people don't write about who you know but what you know of human nature.
You know, there was a time when childbirth was possibly the most terrifying thing you could do in your life, and you were literally looking death in the face when you went ahead with it. And so this is a kind of flashback to a time when that's what every woman went through. Not that they got ripped apart, but they had no guarantees about whether they were going to live through it or not. You know, I recently read - and I don't read nonfiction, generally - Becoming Jane Austen. That's the one subject that would get me to go out and read nonfiction. And the author's conclusion was that one of the reason's Jane Austen might not have married when she did have the opportunity...well, she watched her very dear nieces and friends die in childbirth! And it was like a death sentence: You get married and you will have children. You have children and you will die. (Laughs) I mean, it was a terrifying world.
Language can't describe reality. Literature has no stable reference, no real meaning. Each reader's interpretation is equally valid, more important than the author's intention. In fact, nothing in life has meaning. Reality is subjective. Values and truths are subjective. Life itself is a kind of illusion. Blah, blah, blah, let's have another scotch.
To imagine writing as absence seems to be a simple repetition, in transcendental terms, of both the religious principle of the inalterable and yet never fulfilled tradition, and the aesthetic principle of the work's survival, its perpetuation beyond the author's death, and it enigmatic excess in relation to him.
His connection to his life was that of a sculptor to his statue or a novelist to his novel. It is an inviolable right of a novelist to rework his novel. If the opening does not please him, he can rewrite or delete it. But Zdena's existence denied Mirek that author's prerogative. Zdena insisted on remaining on the opening pages of the novel and did not let herself be crossed out.
It should surprise no one that the life of the writer—such as it is—is colorless to the point of sensory deprivation. Many writers do little else but sit in rooms recalling the real world. This explains why so many books describe the author’s childhood. A writer’s childhood may well have been the occasion of his only firsthand experience.
A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain - a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space .... Therefore we must judge a weird tale not by the author's intent, or by the mere mechanics of the plot; but by the emotional level which it attains at its least mundane point... The one test of the really weird is simply this - whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe's utmost rim.
A novel, in which all is created by the author's whim, must strike a more profound level of truth, or it is worthless."And yet, I have heard you say that any novel that relieves your ennui for an hour has proved its usefulness."You have a good memory. It must have been ten thousands of years ago that I uttered those words."And if it was?"In another ten thousand, perhaps I will agree with them again."In my opinion, the proper way to judge a novel is this: Does it give one an accurate reflection of the moods and characteristics of a particular group of people in a particular place at a particular time? If so, it has value. Otherwise, it has none."You do not find this rather narrow?"Mada?"Well?"I was quoting you.
A sensible person does not read a novel as a task. He reads it as a diversion. He is prepared to interest himself in the characters and is concerned to see how they act in given circumstances, and what happens to them; he sympathizes with their troubles and is gladdened by their joys; he puts himself in their place and, to an extent, lives their lives. Their view of life, their attitude to the great subjects of human speculation, whether stated in words or shown in action, call forth in him a reaction of surprise, of pleasure or of indignation. But he knows instinctively where his interest lies and he follows it as surely as a hound follows the scent of a fox. Sometimes, through the author's failure, he loses the scent. Then he flounders about till he finds it again. He skips.
Still, my fascination with Buchanan did not abate, nor was I able, as the Seventies set in, to move the novel forward through the constant pastiche and basic fakery of any fiction not fed by the springs of memory -- what Henry James calls (in a letter to Sarah Orne Jewett) the "fatal cheapness [and] mere escamotage" of the "'historic' novel."From the author's introduction to the signed first edition.
They have clubbed us off the streets they are stronger they are rich they hire and fire the politicians the newspapereditors the old judges the small men with reputations the collegepresidents the wardheelers (listen businessmen collegepresidents judges America will not forget her betrayers) they hire the men with guns the uniforms the policecars the patrolwagons all right you have won you will kill the brave men our friends tonight (author's punctuation)