"It was accepted tacitly that when he spoke of "our" people it was a black speaking for blacks, subtly different from when he used "we" or "us" and this meant an empathy between him and her.... It had come to her that this was the basis that ought to have existed between a man and a woman in general, where it was a question not of a difference of ancestry but of sex."
"One of the proud joys of the man of letters--if that man of letters is an artist--is to feel within himself the power to immortalize at will anything he chooses to immortalize. Insignificant though he may be, he is conscious of possessing a creative divinity. God creates lives; the man of imagination creates fictional lives which may make a profound and as it were more living impression on the world's memory."
"Only that type of story deserves to be called moral that shows us that one has the power within oneself to act, out of the conviction that there is something better, even against one's own inclination."
"The novelist, unlike many of his colleagues, makes up a number of word-masses roughly describing himself (roughly: niceties shall come later), gives them names and sex, assigns them plausible gestures, and causes them to speak by the use of inverted commas, and perhaps to behave consistently."
"For it does not follow because many books are written by persons born in America that there exists an American literature. Books which imitate or represent the thoughts and life of Europe do not constitute an American literature. Before such can exist, an original idea must animate this nation and fresh currents of life must call into life fresh thoughts along its shores."
"The attraction of horror is a mental, or even an intellectual, excitement, but the fascination of the repulsive, so noticeable in contemporary writing, can spring openly from some rotted substance within our civilization ..."
"I have watched ... many literary fashions shoot up and blossom, and then fade and drop.... Yet with the many that I have seen come and go, I have never yet encountered a mode of thinking that regarded itself as simply a changing fashion, and not as an infallible approach to the right culture."
"Expediency of literature, reason of literature, lawfulness of writing down a thought, is questioned; much is to say on both sides, and, while the fight waxes hot, thou, dearest scholar, stick to thy foolish task, add a line every hour, and between whiles add a line."