Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Wilfrid Sheed


English-born American novelist and essayist.
Wilfrid Sheed
The worse we treat people in this country, the more delicately we talk about them.
Sheed quotes
Professor Bell, in his tortured efforts to sound fair and impersonal, arrives at an aesthetic principle too edifying for Art to bear. He says in effect that you can explore evil, drawing "on the tap roots of the demonic," but you may not approve it. But when you draw on those tap roots, who knows what you will find? Writers just back from their season in hell are likely to be covered in goat blood and tend to rave. The moralists can sort out the evidence later. But the writer with the correct attitude could not have entered hell in the first place.
Sheed
Today's novelist is not only limited by the thin subject matter of personal experience, but by the pinched clinical conventions of the Health generation. Faced with Othello, say, he would have to divide the man into departments, like a liberal arts course. Race relations that's still a subject, although of course whites can't write about blacks and vice versa; sexual politics (somehow); Othello's ultimate therapy and decision to endure. Since jealousy is now curable, like TB, we can't have people dying of it anymore. A few rap sessions, some fearless touching, and a new sense of self-worth would have Othello and Iago and Hamlet and Juliet back on their feet in no time; and Fiction struggling.




Sheed Wilfrid quotes
The desire not to destroy the palace but to move into it oneself has always been the occupational curse of revolutionaries.
Sheed Wilfrid
For now, I'm supposing that all movements are equal, which they're not, except in this respect: that none of them gives a damn about artists beyond their immediate utility. Good movements will use a writer just as ruthlessly as bad ones; since they all fancy they have better things to do than worry about one man's artistic survival.
Wilfrid Sheed quotes
I rail against writers who talk about the loneliness of it all what do they want, a crowd looking over their typewriters? Or those who talk about having to stare at a blank page do they want someone to write on it?
Wilfrid Sheed
Beware the fictionist writing his own life. Even candor becomes a strategy.
Sheed Wilfrid quotes
Baseball fans are pedants, there is no other kind.
Sheed
Through the burgeoning university network, it was suddenly possible to think of oneself as a national poet, even if the nation turned out to consist entirely of English departments.
Sheed Wilfrid
Off she'd go to the hospital, a place I believe she secretly liked because they treat you like a child there.
Wilfrid Sheed
It had always been a notion of mine that sanity is like a clearing in the jungle where the humans agree to meet from time to time and behave in certain fixed ways that even a baboon could master, like Englishmen dressing for dinner in the tropics.




Wilfrid Sheed quotes
Censors will try to censor a little bit more each year (because, like editors and other officious people, censors don't feel they are getting anywhere unless they are up and doing).
Wilfrid Sheed
Not that there weren't real communists in the labor unions, and real spies in Washington, but these had nothing to do with the show that was being put on for us, which seemed entirely designed to Make Us Take This Thing Seriously. From abroad, where I was for much of the time, it looked as if the United States were trying to act like a superpower by holding its very own show trials.
Sheed quotes
The bad debater never knows that one explanation is better than five.
Sheed Wilfrid
His interviewing self is, or was, an extra person, like the Holy Ghost, generated by self-contemplation.
Sheed Wilfrid quotes
I myself have not met a self-confessed liberal since the late fifties (and even then it was a tacky thing to admit, like coming from the middle class or the Middle West, those two gloomy seedbeds of talent), yet hardly a day passes that I don't read another attack on the "typical liberal" as it might be announcing a pest of dinosaurs or a plague of unicorns.
Wilfrid Sheed
A deadly streak of passivity of a kind that sometimes goes with perfectionism.
Wilfrid Sheed quotes
It's the old case against symbols: if you get them, they seem obvious and artificial, and if you don't, you miss the whole point.
Wilfrid Sheed
Carmichael was, like many Americans, a divided soul, part nomad and part homebody, who seemed a little bit at home everywhere, but was probably more so someplace else, if he could just find it.
Sheed Wilfrid
Whether or not Big Brother is watching us, we certainly have to watch him, which may be even worse.


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