"Whose are the truly labored sentences? From the weak and flimsy periods of the politician and literary man, we are glad to turn even to the description of work, the simple record of the month's labor in the farmer's almanac, to restore our tone and spirits."
"The party of God and the party of Literature have more in common than either will admit; their texts may conflict, but their bigotries coincide. Both insist on being the sole custodians of the true word and its only interpreters."
"The liveliness of literature lies in its exceptionality, in being the individual, idiosyncratic vision of one human being, in which, to our delight and great surprise, we may find our own vision reflected."
"Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart."
"The analytical writer observes the reader as he is; accordingly, he makes his calculation, sets his machine to make the appropriate effect on him. The synthetic writer constructs and creates his own reader; he does not imagine him as resting and dead, but lively and advancing toward him. He makes that which he had invented gradually take shape before the reader's eyes, or he tempts him to do the inventing for himself. He does not want to make a particular effect on him, but rather enters into a solemn relationship of innermost symphilosophy or sympoetry."
"They actually like it if a work of literature is a little wicked, especially in the middle; only the sense of propriety must not be offended outright, and finally, everything must have a happy ending."
"German writings attain popularity through a great name, or through personalities, or through good connections, or through effort, or through moderate immorality, or through accomplished incomprehensibility, or through harmonious platitude, or through versatile boredom, or through constant striving after the absolute."
"The following are the universally fundamental laws of literary communication: 1. one must have something to communicate; 2. one must have someone to whom to communicate it; 3. one must really communicate it, not merely express it for oneself alone. Otherwise it would be more to the point to remain silent."
"To me, literature is a calling, even a kind of salvation. It connects me with an enterprise that is over 2,000 years old. What do we have from the past? Art and thought. That's what lasts. That's what continues to feed people and given them an idea of something better. A better state of one's feelings or simply the idea of a silence in one's self that allows one to think or to feel. Which to me is the same."
"The ratio of authentic literature to trash in pornography may be somewhat lower than the ratio of novels of genuine literary merit to the entire volume of sub-literary fiction produced for mass taste. But it is probably not lower than, for instance, that of another somewhat shady sub-genre with a few first-rate books to its credit, science fiction."