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 black situation has changed. They finally realized they're Americans.
The reason Saul Bellow doesn't talk to me anymore is because he knows his new novels are not worth reading.
Gertrude Stein really thought of Hemingway as frail. He almost married Stein.
Foucault was the one person I met in France that I could talk to. He was a mensch. You know whether you agree with him or not because you know what he is saying.
Hemingway seems to be in a funny position. People nowadays can't identify with him closely as a member of their own generation, and he isn't yet historical.
I admire Ginsberg as a poet, despite the fact that he seems not to know when he is being good and when he is bad. But he will last, or at least those poems will last.
I have, I admit, a low tolerance for detached chronicling and cool analysis.
To be an American (unlike being English or French or whatever) is precisely to imagine a destiny rather than to inherit one; since we have always been, insofar as we are Americans at all, inhabitants of myth rather than history.
I never met anybody in my life who says, I want to be a critic. People want to be a fireman, poet, novelist.
Critics? How do they happen? I know how it happened to me. I would send a poem or story to a magazine and they would say this doesn't suit our needs precisely but on the other hand you sound interesting. Would you be interested in doing a review?
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.
Faulkner sat in our living room and read from Light in August. That was incredible.
Henry Miller wrote novels, but he calls his protagonist Henry, often Henry Miller, and his books are in this gray area between memoir and novel.
I like that people who are not experts can not only understand but get engaged by my work. I like that Joe Paterno can read me. Bill Bradley.
I think the pattern of my essays is, A funny thing happened to me on my way through Finnegans Wake.
I've been writing about James Fenimore Cooper. He was not a writer. Here was a man who was 30 years old and had never put anything more than his signature on paper.
All good criticism should be judged the way art is. You shouldn't read it the way you read history or science.
Cooper wrote a novel which is absolutely indistinguishable from Austen, completely from a female point of view, completely English, no sense that he was an American.
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.
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.
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