The big contemporary novel is a perpetual motion machine that appears to have been embarrassed into velocity. It seems to want to abolish stillness, as if ashamed of silence. Stories and sub-stories sprout on every page, and these novels continually flourish their glamorous congestion.
It took me years to ascertain that Henry James' work was giving me little pleasure: In each case I ask myself: "What the dickens is this novel about, and where does it think it's going to?" Question unanswerable! I gave up. To-day I have no recollection whatever of any characters of any events in either novel.
Sappho is a great poet because she is a lesbian, which gives her erotic access to the Muse. Sappho and the homosexual-tending Emily Dickinson stand alone above women poets, because poetry's mystical energies are ruled by a hierach requiring the sexual subordination of her petitioners. Women have achieved more as novelists than as poets because the social novel operates outside the ancient marriage of myth and eroticism.camille paglia
Have the courage to analyze great emotions to create characters who shall be lofty and true. The whole art of the analytical novel lies there.paul bourget
When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.jim butcher
Light in tone, the novel [Murphy] is Beckett’s response to the therapeutic orthodoxy that the patient should learn to engage with the larger world on the world’s terms.j. m. coetzee
I had been virtually a Unitarian (as I still am) but without knowing it. The experience of being among Unitarians who did know what they were, and attached much importance to it, was entirely novel to me, but I soon fell into their ways and found it easy to go forward on their road, the more so because the other roads became closed to me.l. p. jacks
Suspending moral judgment is not the immorality of the novel; it is its morality. The morality that stands against the ineradicable human habit of judging instantly, ceaselessly, and everyone; of judging before, and in the absence of, understanding. From the viewpoint of the novel’s wisdom, that fervid readiness to judge is the most detestable stupidity, the most pernicious evil.Milan Kundera
In this crucial sense, the theory of punctuated equilibrium adopts a very conservative position. The theory asserts no novel claim about modes or mechanisms of speciation; punctuated equilibrium merely takes a standard microevolutionary model and elucidates its expected expression when properly scaled into geological time.stephen jay gould
There is not one big cosmic meaning for all ; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.
How curious, after all, is the way in which we moderns think about our world! And it is all so novel, too. The cosmology underlying our mental processes is but three centuries old a mere infant in the history of thought and yet we cling to it with the same embarrassed zeal with which a young father fondles his new-born baby.
The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.Henry James
A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life. It tells us that for every human being there is a diversity of existences, that the single existence is itself an illusion in part, that these many existences signify something, tend to something, fulfill something; it promises us meaning, harmony, and even justice.Saul Bellow
The establishment of formal standards for proofs about programs [...] and the proposal that the semantics of a programming language may be defined independently of all processors for that language, by establishing standards of rigor for proofs about programs in the language, appears to be novel.robert w floyd
In 'pure' instrumental music, the strategies chosen by composers to create unity were responsive to the tenets of Romanticism...Even in the absence of an explicit program, motivic continuity created a kind of narrative coherence. Like the chief character in a novel, the 'fortunes' of the main motive – its development, variation, and encounters with other 'protagonists' – served as a source of constancy throughout the unfolding of the musical process.leonard b. meyer
A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.gilbert keith chesterton
The unalterable character with which Schopenhauer and sometimes Conrad believed all humans are born may not exist; but we cannot help looking within ourselves to account for what we do. All we find are fragments, like memories of a novel we once read.john n. gray
...“originality” is everyone’s aim, and novel techniques are as much prized as new scientific discoveries. [T.S.] Eliot states it with surprising naïveté: “It is exactly as wasteful for a poet to do what has been done already as for a biologist to rediscover Mendel’s discoveries.”Randall Jarrell
My current novel, Pallas , is all about that culture war - in fact it's been called the Uncle Tom's Cabin of the Sagebrush Rebellion - and yet what I hear all too often from libertarians is that they don't read fiction.l. neil smith
I want to write a novel so profound that it would suffocate a fly.gao xingjian
A final argument for broad freedom of expression is its effect on the character of individuals in a society. Citizens in a free society must have courage the courage to hear not only unwelcome political speech but novel and shocking ideas in science and the arts.anthony lewis
[on an unnamed book] This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
And what are you reading miss...? It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.
No matter how ephemeral it is, a novel is something, while despair is nothing.