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Fiction Quotes

Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. ''And what are you reading, Miss -- -?'' ''Oh! it is only a novel!'' replies the young lady; while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. ''It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda ''; 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 humor, are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.

Author: Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Profession: British Novelist

We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind -- mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.

Author: J. G. Ballard (1930)

Profession: British Author

Novels are longer than life.

Author: Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972)

Profession: American-born French Author

Fiction is not imagination. It is what anticipates imagination by giving it the form of reality. This is quite opposite to our own natural tendency which is to anticipate reality by imagining it, or to flee from it by idealizing it. That is why we shall never inhabit true fiction; we are condemned to the imaginary and nostalgia for the future.

Author: Jean Baudrillard

Profession: French Postmodern Philosopher, Writer

The traditional novel form continues to enlarge our experience in those very areas where the wide-angle lens and the Cinema screen tend to narrow it.

Author: Daniel J. Boorstin (1914)

Profession: American Historian

Writing novels preserves you in a state of innocence -- a lot passes you by -- simply because your attention is otherwise diverted.

Author: Anita Brookner (1938)

Profession: British Novelist, Art Historian

Our interest's on the dangerous edge of things. The honest thief, the tender murderer, the superstitious atheist.

Author: Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Profession: British Poet

If you write fiction you are, in a sense, corrupted. There's a tremendous corruptibility for the fiction writer because you're dealing mainly with sex and violence. These remain the basic themes, they're the basic themes of Shakespeare whether you like it or not.

Author: Anthony Burgess (1917-1993)

Profession: British Writer, Critic

Novelists are perhaps the last people in the world to be entrusted with opinions. The nature of a novel is that it has no opinions, only the dialectic of contrary views, some of which, all of which, may be untenable and even silly. A novelist should not be too intelligent either, although he may be permitted to be an intellectual.

Author: Anthony Burgess (1917-1993)

Profession: British Writer, Critic

But I hate things all fiction... there should always be some foundation of fact for the most airy fabric -- and pure invention is but the talent of a liar.

Author: Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Profession: British Poet

Romances I never read like those I have seen.

Author: Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Profession: British Poet

Novels as dull as dishwater, with the grease of random sentiments floating on top.

Author: Italo Calvino (1923-1985)

Profession: Cuban Writer, Essayist, Journalist

What is a novel if not a conviction of our fellow-men's existence strong enough to take upon itself a form of imagined life clearer than reality and whose accumulated verisimilitude of selected episodes puts to shame the pride of documentary history?

Author: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Profession: Polish-born British Novelist

The narrative impulse is always with us; we couldn't imagine ourselves through a day without it.

Author: Robert Coover

Profession:

If I were a writer, how I would enjoy being told the novel is dead. How liberating to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature. Lovely.

Author: Don Delillo (1926)

Profession: American Author