Sunday, April 17, 2022

Wise words

Thoughts on Art from creative people born April 18:

from English philosopher, writer, critic, editor, actor, and scientist George Henry Lewes (The Biographical History of Philosophy, The Leader, The Life and Works of Goethe, Actors and Acting, Problems of Life and Mind) (1817-1878):

Personal experience is the basis of all real Literature.

Insight is the first condition of Art.

Philosophy and Art both render the invisible visible by imagination.

The object of Literature is to instruct, to animate, or to amuse.

All great authors are seers.

No man was ever eloquent by trying to be eloquent, but only by being so.

Endeavour to be faithful, and if there is any beauty in your thought, your style will be beautiful; if there is any real emotion to express, the expression will be moving.

All bad Literature rests upon imperfect insight, or upon imitation, which may be defined as seeing at second-hand.

Imagination is not the exclusive appanage of artists, but belongs in varying degrees to all men.

The public can only be really moved by what is genuine.

Good writers are of necessity rare.

Speak for yourself and from yourself, or be silent.


from American journalist, novelist, and playwright Richard Harding Davis (Harper's Weekly, Gallegher and Other Stories, Soldier of Fortune, Ransom's Folly) (1864-1916):

The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or a new thing in an old way.


from English-born American conductor Leopold Stokowski (Philadelphia Orchestra) (1882-1977):

Music comes from the heart and returns to the heart... music is spontaneous, impulsive expression... its range is without limit... music is forever growing... music can be one element to help us build a new conception of life in which the madness and cruelty of wars will be replaced by a simple understanding of the brotherhood of man.

The highest reaches of music come thrillingly close to the central core and essence of life itself.

I believe in a passionately strong feeling for the poetry of life—for the beautiful, the mysterious, the romantic, the ecstatic—the loveliness of Nature, the lovability of people, everything that excites us, everything that starts our imagination working, LAUGHTER, gaiety, strength, heroism, love, tenderness, every time we see—however dimly—the godlike that is in everyone and want to kneel in reverence.

As a boy I remember how terribly real the statues of the saints would seem at 7 o'clock Mass—before I'd had breakfast. From that I learned always to conduct hungry.

It's hard to put into words the impact of the perfect lyric, melody or contagious beat that moves you in an unexpected way. Authors, composers and artists have tried—and here we've rounded up our favorite quotes that help to begin forming structure around such an unspoken universal force. Which are most meaningful to you? If you had to sum up the power of music and sound in one sentence, what would you say? "A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."


from Hungarian-American Oscar-winning composer Miklós Rózsa (Spellbound, A Double Life, Ben-Hur); also noted for Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, The Killers, The Red House, The Asphalt Jungle, Lust for Life, The Power, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1907-1995):

Emotions in a film come from elements that may be completely asymmetrical, like a kaleidoscope. Music is the element that keeps the different elements together, because it has continuity and rhythm. Music is the most abstract element in a film, full of impressionistic effects, but it usually has the most symmetry. That is why music should underline drama, not create it. It may be even worse today, the use of what in Hollywood is called wall-to-wall music, but even then many producers and directors did not understand the importance of silence.

I believe in music as a form of communication; for me it is more an expression of emotion than an intellectual or cerebral crossword puzzle... I am a traditionalist, but I believe tradition can be so recreated as to express the artist’s own epoch while preserving its relationship with the past.


from American experimental writer Kathy Acker (Great Expectations, Blood and Guts in High School, Empire of the Senseless) (1944-1997):

Women need to become literary "criminals," break the literary laws and reinvent their own, because the established laws prevent women from presenting the reality of their lives.

Well, I think writing is basically about time and rhythm. Like with jazz. You have your basic melody and then you just riff off of it. And the riffs are about timing.

The only reaction against an unbearable society is equally unbearable nonsense.

Literature is that which denounces and slashes apart the repressing machine at the level of the signified.

There must be a secret hidden in this book or else you wouldn't bother to read it.

Everytime you read, you are walking among the dead, and, if you are listening, you just might hear prophecies.

First of all, writing at best—certainly fiction writing—more and more I think is magic.

A novel is a book with a lot of pages.


from Ukrainian-Russian-Jewish-American poet and critic Ilya Kaminsky (Dancing in Odessa, Deaf Republic) (b. 1977):

I believe that no great lyric poet ever speaks in the so-called “proper” language of his or her time. Emily Dickinson didn’t write in “proper” English grammar but in slant music of fragmentary perception. Half a world and half a century away, Cesar Vallejo placed three dots in the middle of the line, as if language itself were not enough, as if the poet’s voice needed to leap from one image to another, to make—to use Eliot’s phrase—a raid on the inarticulate. Paul Celan wrote to his wife from Germany, where he briefly visited from his voluntary exile in France: “The language with which I make my poems has nothing to do with one spoken here, or anywhere.”

Erase everything you have written, Mandelstam says, but keep the notes in the margin.

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