Saturday, August 19, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

John Banville


Irish novelist and journalist.
John Banville
I suppose many people in Ireland would regard me as being more a European writer than an Irish writer. I don't think this is so.
Banville quotes
I like to hide in Ireland, but I like to think of myself as an internal exile.
Banville
If you look at practically anyone - I mean, I find this more and more - the more you look at people the more you find that they've actually manufactured themselves. People whose names that you know. I meet lots of people in my ordinary life, away from writing, who seem to be authentic, who seem to know where they've come from and who they are, but anyone that I deal with in, if you like, my profession, we all seem to have made ourselves. I think artists are all self-made.




Banville John quotes
One of my mottoes as a writer is a little jotting from Kafka's journals: ‘Never again psychology!’ But alas, humankind is obsessed with its psychological workings, and since the novel can only treat of humankind . . . You see my predicament.
Banville John
I feel a kind of intellectual regret, not an emotional regret, at having left my parents and that world behind. But it's not a great weight on my soul. In a way I wish it were. To leave one’s background without guilt is an indication of shallowness of character, I suspect.
John Banville quotes
I'm doing my best to not be too rude about it, but oh my God that Czech food...
John Banville
Let's not despise story-telling. Like all novelists, I have this low desire to tell people stories.
Banville John quotes
I'm a little surprised that commercial success has arrived. I used to think that it was hopeless, that it would never happen.
Banville
Summoned, one shuffles guiltily into the department of trivia.
Banville John
I drive from home to my office, a small apartment on the river in the center of Dublin. I write there from 9 a.m. to lunchtime, I take a simple lunch—bread, cheese, nice cup of tea—work until 6 p.m., then home for dinner. Viewed from outside my head it is a singularly dull and uneventful day, but inside my head … aaah.
John Banville
I don't see why the young in Prague or Budapest or Warsaw shouldn't be allowed to go to hell in a handcart if they want to. They do it everywhere else and they have great fun doing so.




John Banville quotes
My friends tell me I must stop saying in public that I ‘hate all my novels’. What I mean is that I am profoundly dissatisfied with everything I have done simply because it is not good enough by my standards. But my standard is perfection, and as we know, perfection is not allowed to such as us. On the other hand, I begin every new book in the complete conviction that this time, this time I shall get it right. Rationally I know this will not be so, but art has its reasons.
John Banville
Wodehouse is very interesting. There must be all kinds of darknesses in that man's life.
Banville quotes
Copernicus stuck very closely to the facts, but in Kepler I invented freely, and it's a much better book because of that.
Banville John
When I stand up from my writing desk, "John Banville", or "Benjamin Black" – that is, the one whose name will appear on the title page – vanishes on the instant, since he only existed while the writing was being done.
Banville John quotes
If they give me the bloody prize, why can't they say nice things about me?
John Banville
I know that this is a cliché by now and I suppose that Prague people are sick and tired of hearing Prague referred to as ‘Magic Prague’, but, you know, I may complain about the tourists, but I am a tourist after all. I'd rather not be, but I am.
John Banville quotes
A boy in his teens! What did I know about death? This is a problem for Irish writers — our literary forebears are enormous. They stand behind us like Easter Island statues, and we keep trying to measure up to them, leaping towards heights we can't possibly reach. I suppose that's a good thing, but it makes for a painful early life for the writer. Anyway, hunched there over my Aunt Sadie's Remington, I was starting to learn how to write. Now, fifty years later, I'm still learning.
John Banville
Flaubert read too many books, and in consequence some of his own books stagger under the weight of his erudition. He said he'd read some preposterous number of books to prepare for the writing of Salammbô, and you can feel them dragging the novel down. It would have been much better if he'd made it all up.
Banville John
Fiction is just a constant torment, and an embarrassment. I loathe my fiction. I have a fantasy when I'm passing a bookstore that I could click my fingers and all my books would go blank, so that I could start again and get them right.


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