"History is not a book, arbitrarily divided into chapters, or a drama chopped into separate acts: it has flowed forward. Rome is a continuity, called "eternal." What has accumulated in this place acts on everyone, day and night, like an extra climate."
"As a novelist, I cannot occupy myself with "characters," or at any rate central ones, who lack panache, in one or another sense, who would be incapable of a major action or a major passion, or who have not a touch of the ambiguity, the ultimate unaccountability, the enlarging mistiness of persons "in history." History, as more austerely I now know it, is not romantic. But I am."
"No one of the characters in my novels has originated, so far as I know, in real life. If anything, the contrary was the case: persons playing a part in my life--the first twenty years of it--had about them something semi-fictitious."
"The writer, like a swimmer caught by an undertow, is borne in an unexpected direction. He is carried to a subject which has awaited him--a subject sometimes no part of his conscious plan. Reality, the reality of sensation, has accumulated where it was least sought. To write is to be captured--captured by some experience to which one may have given hardly a thought."
"When I read a story, I relive the moment from which it sprang. A scene burned itself into me, a building magnetized me, a mood orseason of Nature's penetrated me, history suddenly appeared to me in some tiny act, or a face had begun to haunt me before I glanced at it."
"What is a novel? I say: an invented story. At the same time a story which, though invented has the power to ring true. True to what? True to life as the reader knows life to be or, it may be, feels life to be. And I mean the adult, the grown-up reader. Such a reader has outgrown fairy tales, and we do not want the fantastic and the impossible. So I say to you that a novel must stand up to the adult tests of reality."
"... a novel survives because of its basic truthfulness, its having within it something general and universal, and a quality of imaginative perception which applies just as much now as it did in the fifty or hundred or two hundred years since the novel came to life."
"The heart may think it knows better: the senses know that absence blots people out. We really have no absent friends. The friend becomes a traitor by breaking, however unwillingly or sadly, out of our own zone: a hard judgment is passed on him, for all the pleas of the heart."
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