I long for the raised voice, the howl of rage or love.
There are things in American culture that want to wipe the class distinction. Blue jeans. Ready-made clothes. Coca-Cola.
The reason Saul Bellow doesn't talk to me anymore is because he knows his new novels are not worth reading.
Faulkner turned out to be a great teacher. When a student asked a question ineptly, he answered the question with what the student had really wanted to know.
DeLillo never seems committed to me to what he is writing. Very nice surfaces, but he's got nothing underneath.
When I was 12 years old, someone took me to see Martha Graham. It was nothing like what I thought of as serious dancing and even then I knew I was having a great experience. It was as if somebody was moving through space like no one ever did before.
Raymond Carver is good. I think he'll be appreciated more and more. He's an easy writer to imitate.
It's so wrong when I pick up a new edition of Huckleberry Finn and I look at the last page and it doesn't say, Yours truly, at the end.
Kafka is still unrecognized. He thought he was a comic writer.
The novel is always pop art, and the novel is always dying. That's the only way it stays alive. It does really die. I've been thinking about that a lot.
The black situation has changed. They finally realized they're Americans.
The novel doesn't come into existence until certain methods of reproducing fiction come along.
Unless criticism refuses to take itself quite so seriously or at least to permit its readers not to, it will inevitably continue to reflect the finicky canons of the genteel tradition and the depressing pieties of the Culture Religion of Modernism.
The text is merely one of the contexts of a piece of literature, its lexical or verbal one, no more or less important than the sociological, psychological, historical, anthropological or generic.
I gave up writing blurbs because you make one friend and 200 enemies.
I liked Camille Paglia. I liked her even better when I heard her talk.
When somebody asks me what I do, I don't think I'd say critic. I say writer.
I've had a tough time with Pynchon. I liked him very much when I first read him. I liked him less with each book. He got denser and more complex in a way that didn't really pay off.
I think Henry Miller has had huge influence not because he wrote about sex, but because the memoir or the nonfiction novel has become such a monumental force in American publishing, if not in literature.
If there's one thing I can't stand, it's somebody doing something because I pushed them in that direction.
My assignment is what every writer's assignment is: tell the truth of his own time.
One more recent novelist to come along is Cormac McCarthy. Him, I like.
Saul Bellow never took my advice when he was my friend.
It's funny to be a critic.
Of the female black authors, I really like Morrison's early books a lot. But she's really become so much a clone of Faulkner. He did it better.
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