Sunday, February 08, 2009

Particularity and Philosophy of Literature -- quotes

Flannery O'Connor

"It is the business of the artist to uncover the strangeness of truth"

"The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location."


Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.... It clearly follows that the poet or 'maker' should be the maker of plots rather than of verses; since he is a poet because he imitates, and what he imitates are actions.


Literature works from mind to mind and is thus more progenitive (compared to the pictorial arts). It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular.


Wherefore those that would give their minds to philosophical studies are not obliged to avoid poetry altogether, but rather to prepare themselves for philosophy by poems, accustoming themselves to search for and embrace that which may profit in that which pleaseth them, and rejecting and discarding that wherein they find nothing of this nature. For this discrimination is the first step to learning.

Jacques Maritain

The poet has realized that he has his own way, which is neither scientific nor philosophical, of knowing the world. Thus the fact of that peculiar kind of knowledge which is poetic knowledge has imposed itself upon philosophical reflection. And it would be no use to try to escape the problem by considering poetry a set of pseudo-statements -- with no meaning -- or a substitute for science intended for feeble-minded people. We must confront in a fair manner the fact of poetic experience and poetic intuition.

..... Because poetry emanates from the free creativity of the spirit, it is from the very start oriented toward expression, and terminates in a word proffered, it wants to speak; whereas mystical experience, because it emanates from the deepest longing of the spirit bent on knowing, tends of itself toward silence and internal fruition. Poetic experience is busy with the created world and the enigmatic and innumerable relations of existents with one another...

Lucille Ball:

That's what a writer does... takes the truth and TWISTS it a bit.

(sorry, couldn't resist that last one -- my kids are watching I Love Lucy and Lucy is trying to write a novel to win a 10,000$ prize).

1 comment:

lissla lissar said...

One of my favourite sf writers says in the introduction, that novels tell the truth by means of lies... just a sec.

"'The truth against the world!'- Yes. Certainly. Fiction writers, at least in their braver moments, do desire the truth: to know it, speak it, serve it. But they go about it in a peculiar and devious way, which consists in inventing persons, places, and events which never did and never will exist or occur, and telling about these fictions in detail and with a great deal of emotion, and then when they are done writing down this pack of lies, the say, There! That's the truth!...
The artist deals with what cannot be said in words.
The artist whose medium is fiction does this IN WORDS. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words..."
-Introduction, The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin

Have you read the Left Hand of Darkness? I think you'd like at least the intro very much. Sorry for the huge quote. :)