Friday, November 16, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Wilfrid Sheed


English-born American novelist and essayist.
Wilfrid Sheed
As you approach the presidency, no one seems worthy of it, since it wasn't designed for a human in the first place.
Sheed quotes
How does one make a movie about decadence these days? Now that we're allowed to do it, it's too late.
Sheed
Of course, history is only a muddle of facts and a fuddle of professors, and anyone who thinks it is one clear voice saying "Arise, sir Knight" deserves a life sentence in Camelot.




Sheed Wilfrid quotes
Unnecessary customs live a brutally short life in America.
Sheed Wilfrid
As things now stand, the office is a slightly meaner battleground than the home. Male bosses seem to dominate their women underlings as they would never dominate their wives.
Wilfrid Sheed quotes
What he feared most was the blind spot between us and the future, the space between identities where we could get lost forever.
Wilfrid Sheed
It is a fallacy to think that carping is the strongest form of criticism: the important work begins after the artist's mistakes have been pointed out, and the reviewer can't put it off indefinitely with sneers, although some neophytes might be tempted to try: "When in doubt, stick out your tongue" is a safe rule that never cost one any readers. But there's nothing strong about it, and it has nothing to do with the real business of criticism, which is to do justice to the best work of one's time, so that nothing gets lost.
Sheed Wilfrid quotes
The rational man may talk a good game about suicide, but reason must give way to obsession and finally squalor before he can actually do it.
Sheed
Childhood lays itself out, like a novel, he suggests, complete with central observer, fixed characters, and linear plot. Later, life disperses itself into anecdotes. At twenty-one, it no longer strictly matters whether the author went first to Ireland and then to Spain, or Spain first. And after thirty, he could stitch the pages in backward for all we care.
Sheed Wilfrid
The one kind of society that the Church cannot adjust to is no society at all, i.e., a setup where community has become so fragmented that a communal religion is a fiction, sustained only by talk and make-news items in the press and television.
Wilfrid Sheed
Unlike most wars, which make rotten fiction in themselves all plot and no characters, or made-up characters Vietnam seems to be the perfect mix: the characters make the war, and the war unmakes the characters. The gods, fates, furies had a relatively small hand in it. The mess was man-made, a synthetic, by think tank out of briefing session.




Wilfrid Sheed quotes
The odds on any intelligent person having an unhappy childhood are better than fair, and the odds on a sad ending are practically off the board.
Wilfrid Sheed
Saloons provide moments of genuine ecstasy but only if your soul is at peace and the rest of your life bears contemplating. Otherwise, they are palaces of misery.
Sheed quotes
Chicago 1968 taught one how close any civilized country is to berserkness at all times; also how terrorism, even silly terrorism, strengthens the cops more than anyone. Yet already this European-style history lesson has been watered down by consensus into something crazy we did in the sixties, just as we "did" McCarthyism in the fifties. As if a nation changes its nature completely every ten years; as if social forces were as evanescent as hula hoops or skateboards, instead of as remorseless as glaciers.
Sheed Wilfrid
People talk about talent as though it were some neutral substance that can be applied to anything. But talent is narrow and only functions with a very few subjects, which it is up to the writer to find.
Sheed Wilfrid quotes
In modern American style, his job, not his past, defined him.
Wilfrid Sheed
This country is merciless to good small talents. A writer who doesn't take chances and swing for the fences (whether or not he has a prayer of reaching them) is less than a man.
Wilfrid Sheed quotes
The best comedy is always heartless, an alternative to rational emotion.
Wilfrid Sheed
He was truly after an art in which the creator could be as intelligent as he liked, but in which intelligence must be transmuted entirely into form, so that no lumps of thinking are left showing.
Sheed Wilfrid
Both of them were artists with highly developed personas, and hence unreliable witnesses to their own pasts.


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