“On June 2, as the torch bobbed along the avenues of Stornoway, what was I doing? According to my journal, I embraced life with ‘2 naps. Turkey club. Vague sense of unease.’ How did I occupy myself on June 20, when the torch was Leyburn-bound? ‘A real 3-napper. Shooed some pigeons from the fire escape. Whispered, ‘Am I falling apart?’ while I scooped a clump of hair from the bathtub drain.’ As the relay hit Potternewton, I have, simply, ‘Croatoan.’ The relay path described a map of my unworthiness.”—Colson Whiteheadvisited the London Olympics. (We hear they get pretty freaky in that Village over there…)
“You have a perception of the way things are, and you impose it on your memory, and in this way you think, in the same way that I think, that you are living something that is describable. When of course, what we actually live, what we actually experience—with our senses and our nerves—is a vast, absurd, beautiful, ridiculous chaos.”—Keith Ridgway on writing novels and everything as fiction: http://nyr.kr/RqA8sN (via newyorker)
Virginia Woolf on James Joyce:
[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.
Harold Bloom on J.K. Rowling:
How to read ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’? Why, very quickly, to begin with, and perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.
H. G. Wells on George Bernard Shaw:
An idiot child screaming in a hospital.
Ralph Waldo Emerson on Jane Austen:
Miss Austen’s novels . . . seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world.
William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway:
He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.
Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner:
Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?
W. H. Auden on Robert Browning:
I don’t think Robert Browning was very good in bed. His wife probably didn’t care for him very much. He snored and had fantasies about twelve-year-old girls.
Mark Twain on Jane Austen:
Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.