"In science, which, being fixed and limited, admits of no other variety than such as arises from new methods of distribution, or new arts of illustration, the necessity of following the traces of our predecessors is indisputably evident; but there appears no reason why imagination should be subject to the same restraint.... The roads of science are narrow, so that they who travel them, must either follow or meet one another; but in the boundless regions of possibility, which fiction claims for her dominion, there are surely a thousand recesses unexplored, a thousand flowers unplucked, a thousand fountains unexhausted, combinations of imagery yet unobserved, and races of ideal inhabitants not hitherto described."
"The personality of the artist, at first a cry or a cadence or a mood and then a fluid, and lambent narrative, finally refines itself out of existence, impersonalises itself, so to speak. The aesthetic image in the dramatic form is life purified in and reprojected from the human imagination. The mystery of aesthetic like that of material creation is accomplished. The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails."
"Not the least vital of the problems which confront our country is the problem of her attitude towards those of her children who, having left her in her hour of need, have been called back to her now on the eve of her longawaited victory, to her whom in loneliness and exile they have at last learned to love. In exile, we have said, but here we must distinguish. There is an economic and there is a spiritual exile. There are those who left her to seek the bread by which men live and there are others, nay, her most favoured children, who left her to seek in other lands that food of the spirit by which a nation of human beings is sustained in life."
"And the first till last alshemist wrote over every square inch of the only foolscap available, his own body, till by its corrosivesublimation one continuous present tense integument slowly unfolded all marryvoising moodmoulded cyclewheeling history...."
"By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phaseof the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments."
"The plant is not a mere product of the soil, but a living process centred in itself, the essence of which has nothing to do with the character of the soil. In the same way the art-work must be regarded as a creative formation, freely making use of every precondition. Its meaning and its own individual particularity rests in itself, and not in its preconditions. In fact one might also describe it as a being that uses man and his personal dispositions merely as a cultural medium or soil, disposing his powers according to his own laws, while shaping itself to the fulfillment of its own creative purpose."
"The point of view of art and that of life are different even in the artist himself. Art flies around truth, but with the definiteintention of not getting burnt. Its capacity lies in finding in the dark void a place where the beam of light can be intensely caught, without this having been perceptible before."
"Popular art is dominated throughout by the star system, not only in its actors but in all its elements, whatever the medium. Everywork of art, to be sure, has its dominant elements, to which the rest are subordinate. But in popular art it is the dominant ones alone that are the objects of interest, the ground of its satisfaction. By contrast, great art is in this sense pointless; everything in it is significant, everything makes its own contribution to the aesthetic substance. The domain of popular art is, paradoxically, an aristocracy, as it were: some few elements are singled out as the carriers of whatever meaning the work has while the rest are submerged into an anonymous mass. The life of the country is reduced to the mannered gestures of its king. It is this that gives the effect of simplification and standardization."
"Life baffles and seems almost to mock. It refuses long to remain consistently one thing or another and it seldom puts us into onemood without violating it soon after. But Art, seeming to have for human dignity a respect which Life consistently lacks, grants us at least our right to sorrow fully and freely when sorrow is called for or to laugh our laugh out when laughter is appropriate. The artist selects and classifies what nature mingles in a hideous confusion and in doing so he is, in one of his many ways, adapting the universe to our minds by presenting it in an order which our emotions can follow."
"You know, I often thought that the gangster and the artist are the same in the eyes of the masses. They're admired and hero-worshipped but there is always present underlying desire to see them destroyed at the peak of their glory."