Wednesday, January 16, 2019 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Francoise Sagan

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Of course the illusion of art is to make one believe that great literature is very close to life, but exactly the opposite is true. Life is amorphous, literature is formal.

Francoise Sagan

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To have access to literature, world literature, was to escape the prison of national vanity, of philistinism, of compulsory provincialism, of inane schooling, of imperfect destinies and bad luck. Literature was the passport to enter a larger life; that is, the zone of freedom.
Literature was freedom. Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged, literature is freedom.

Susan Sontag

The writer is an ordinary man, not a spokesman for the people, and that literature can only be the voice of one individual. Writing that becomes an ode to a country, the standard of a nation, the voice of a party... loses its nature—it is no longer literature. Writers do not set out to be published, but to know themselves. Although Kafka or Pessoa resorted to language, it was not in order to change the world. I, myself, believe in what I call cold literature: a literature of flight for one's life, a literature that is not utilitarian, but a spiritual self-preservation in order to avoid being stifled by society. I believe in a literature of the moment, for the living. You have to know how to use freedom. If you use it in exchange for something else, it vanishes.

Gao Xingjian

Books should confuse. Literature abhors the typical. Literature flows to the particular, the mundane, the greasiness of paper, the taste of warm beer, the smell of onion or quince. Auden has a line: "Ports have names they call the sea." Just so will literature describe life familiarly, regionally, in terms life is accustomed to use — high or low matters not. Literature cannot by this impulse betray the grandeur of its subject — there is only one subject: What it feels like to be alive. Nothing is irrelevant. Nothing is typical.

Richard Rodriguez

The people of China forged their own literature apart from letters. And today this is what lives, to be part of what is to come, and all the formal literature, which was called art, is dead. The plots of these novels are often incomplete, the love interest is often not brought to solution, heroines are often not beautiful and heroes often are not brave. Nor has the story always an end; sometimes it merely stops, in the way life does, in the middle of it when death is not expected.
In this tradition of the novel have I been born and reared as a writer.

Pearl Buck

You may divide literature into two great classes of books. The smaller class of the two consists of the books written by people who had something to say. They had in life learned something, or seen something, or done something, which they really wanted and needed to tell to other people. They told it. And their writings make, perhaps, a twentieth part of the printed literature of the world. It is the part which contains all that is worth reading. The other nineteen-twentieths make up the other class.

Edward Everett Hale
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