Prose Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 240 quotes )
It is not certain whether the effects of totalitarianism upon verse need be so deadly as its effects on prose. There is a whole series of converging reasons why it is somewhat easier for a poet than a prose writer to feel at home in an authoritarian society.[...]what the poet is saying- that is, what his poem "means" if translated into prose- is relatively unimportant, even to himself. The thought contained in a poem is always simple, and is no more the primary purpose of the poem than the anecdote is the primary purpose of the picture. A poem is an arrangement of sounds and associations, as a painting is an arrangement of brushmarks. For short snatches, indeed, as in the refrain of a song, poetry can even dispense with meaning altogether.
For me a page of good prose is where one hears the rain. A page of good prose is when one hears the noise of battle.... A page of good prose seems to me the most serious dialogue that well-informed and intelligent men and women carry on today in their endeavor to make sure that the fires of this planet burn peaceably.
(W)hy is poetry wholly an elderly taste? When I was twenty I could not for the life of me read Shakespeare for pleasure; now it lights me as I walk to think I have two acts of King John tonight, and shall next read Richard the Second. It is poetry that I want now -- long poems. I want the concentration and the romance, and the words all glued together, fused, glowing; having no time to waste any more on prose. When I was twenty I liked Eighteenth Century prose; now it's poetry I want, so I repeat like a tipsy sailor in the front of a public house.
Invisible prose only!" rules out the sparkling style of [writers]. . . For [whom] vivid prose, and the visionary mind it evinces, rich with speculation, insight, and subjectivity, is the craft and offers a unique caliber of truth. Is there any other art form one would praise by saying it's "invisible"? By definition, art transcends the ordinary, calls attention to itself, and offers virtuosity as its calling card. One that makes it possible to do what metaphor does so well: illuminate what can't be wholly understood.
The yard was a little centre of regeneration. Here, with keen edges and smooth curves, were forms in the exact likeness of those he had seen abraded and time-eaten on the walls. These were the ideas in modern prose which the lichened colleges presented in old poetry. Even some of those antiques might have been called prose when they were new. They had done nothing but wait, and had become poetical. How easy to the smallest building; how impossible to most men.
Most contemporary novels are not really "written." They obtain what reality they have largely from an accurate rendering of the noises that human beings currently make in their daily simple needs of communication; and what part of a novel is not composed of these noises consists of a prose which is no more alive than that of a competent newspaper writer or government official. A prose that is altogether alive demands something of the reader that the ordinary novel-reader is not prepared to give.
The golden rule of fictional prose is that there are no rules - except the ones that each writer sets for him or herself. Repetition and simplicity worked (usually) for Hemingway's artistic purposes. Variation and decoration worked for Nabokov's, especially in Lolita. This novel takes the form of a brilliant piece of special pleading by a man whose attraction to a certain type of pubescent girl, whom he calls a "nymphet", leads him to commit evil deeds. The book aroused controversy on its first publication, and still disturbs, because it gives a seductive eloquence to a child-abuser and murderer. As Humbert Humbert himself says, "You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
He was a physicist, more precisely an astrophysicist, diligent and eager but without illusions: the Truth lay beyond, inaccessible to our telescopes, accessible to the initiates. This was a long road which he was traveling with effort, wonderment, and profound joy. Physics was prose: elegant gymnastics for the mind, mirror of Creation, the key to man's dominion over the planet; but what is the stature of Creation, of man and the planet? His road was long and he had barely started up it, but I was his disciple: did I want to follow him?