500+ Sourced quotes
Shaw's emotional development was one with his intellectual strength. His path led him into the thick of the scrimmage, where more spontaneous natures defend themselves with the usual weapons of malice, humility, bad temper or conceit. But Shaw used the death ray of imperturbability. His feelings were never hurt, his envy never aroused, his conceit was a transparent fiction, he never quarreled.
The struggle for existence in a universe we did not choose, and the burden of being a member of the only race which values objective, verifiable truth as an end in itself, makes us sometimes long for escape from reality — in some cases through a literature of the fantastic, of marvelous dream worlds, of free-ranging fantasy. But we must not confuse that necessary escape with what is real. Permit me to suggest to the reader that it is a waste of his time and energy to play with fantasies that lack the literary and aesthetic charm of poetry and imaginative prose fiction.
As with Hobbes, we see again, the power of fiction. Rousseau's acount of natural man was no more real than Hobbes's, but following the same pattern, once it became the accepted story of human origins, it thereby exercised the power of a self-fulfilling prophecy. In imagining Rousseau to be right, we have become what Rousseau imagined.
Good sex is impossible to write about. Lawrence and Updike have given it their all, and the result is still uneasy and unsure. It may be that good sex is something fiction just can't do — like dreams. Most of the sex in my novels is absolutely disastrous. Sex can be funny, but not very sexy.
I explained that most great works of the imagination were meant to make you feel like a stranger in your own home. The best fiction always forced us to question what we took for granted. It questioned traditions and expectations when they seemed too immutable. I told my students I wanted them in their readings to consider in what ways these works unsettled them, made them a little uneasy, made them look around and consider the world, like Alice in Wonderland, through different eyes.
One extraordinary fiction of the Egyptian mythology was the supposed intervention of a masculo-feminine principle, to which was assigned the development of the embryo world, somewhat in the way of incubation. For the doctrine was, that when the first chaotic mass had been produced, in the form of an egg, by a self-dependent and eternal Being, it required the mysterious functions of this masculo-feminine demi-urgus to reduce the component elements into organized forms.
Don't worry about that depressing old dictum "Write what you know". If you need to know something, look it up. Learn how to find out what you need to know to make it right. Be passionate, be picky, have enough self-criticism to demand of yourself your best and not sort of let it slide by. And remember that the greatest defect any piece of fiction can have is not to be finished.
Let's dispel this fiction once and for all that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing; he's undergoing a systematic effort to change this country and make America more like the rest of the world. If I'm elected we'll embrace what makes America the greatest country in the world.
In time truth and science and nature will adapt themselves to art. Things will happen logically, and the villain be discomfited instead of being elected to the board of directors. But in the meantime fiction must not only be divorced from fact, but must pay alimony and be awarded custody of the press despatches.