The Paris Review

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“The dyslexia didn’t much hamper my reading. What it affected was my writing. I couldn’t spell anything!” —Samuel R. Delany theparisreview.org/interviews/608…
“I still find it deeply painful that we aren’t total authors of ourselves, that we can’t just wake up and be something completely new the next day.” @amiasrinivasan on the allure of refusing “any form of gaze”: theparisreview.org/blog/2021/09/2…
“A good picture writer’s a kind of poet.” —Billy Wilder theparisreview.org/interviews/143…
“The game needs the players. (Or is it the players that need the game?) I was myself brought into the world with the same confidence, and now I was bringing a child into the world.” From Ingeborg Bachmann’s “Everything,” issue no. 28, Summer-Fall 1962. theparisreview.org/fiction/4602/e…
“I like these words, ‘screen,’ ‘cloud,’ and the openness of ‘save as.’ What do we save? Probably the unsalvageable.” —Antonella Anedda theparisreview.org/interviews/760…
“The emancipation of the imagination, of course, is central to Andrea Dworkin, this person we think of as being so relentlessly negative about human and social life. But she’s got this vision. She just wants more!” theparisreview.org/blog/2021/09/2…
“When I finish my project, if I continue writing, I would love to write sheer nonsense.” —Henry Miller theparisreview.org/interviews/459…
“I was always afraid that if I started to become too literary it would end my street and kitchen life.” —Grace Paley theparisreview.org/interviews/202…
“I don’t go on to the next chapter until the one I’m working on is in final form.” —Susan Sontag theparisreview.org/interviews/150…
“I’m only able to write poetry, for the most part, when I have a Muse, a woman who focuses the world.” —May Sarton theparisreview.org/interviews/304…
“Who wants to read about another nifty guy at loose ends?” —Jim Harrison theparisreview.org/interviews/251…
“The right to be able to tell stories about ourselves is important. It’s also important that we have the right to change the stories we tell about ourselves. And that the stories we tell about ourselves are stories we tell in communion with other people.” theparisreview.org/blog/2021/09/2…
“Literature is like a race run with torches. Each generation bears its testimony to the point it desires, or to where it is able, then passes it along to the next.”—Camilo José Cela theparisreview.org/interviews/139…
“The feeling of past trauma is communicated by whoever is standing in front of you—that’s what stays real.” —Claudia Rankine theparisreview.org/interviews/690…
“What I’m really proposing is something that queer people for a long time have been proposing, which is to think more imaginatively and creatively about what your desires might actually be.” @amiasrinivasan on working towards a liberatory model of desire: theparisreview.org/blog/2021/09/2…
“I’m against schedules. Write when you feel excited by the prospect. Otherwise, don’t bother.” —Rick Moody theparisreview.org/interviews/509…
“I never knew her real name and it is quite likely that she did have one, though I never heard her called anything but Gold Teeth. She did, indeed, have gold teeth.” From V. S. Naipul’s “My Aunt Gold Teeth,” issue no. 19, Summer 1958. theparisreview.org/fiction/4803/m…
“What we remember is probably fiction anyway.” —Beryl Bainbridge theparisreview.org/interviews/561…
“Some books can really take you away. It’s marvelous.” —Jean Rhys theparisreview.org/interviews/338…
“Does that word in this sentence have any electric potential? Does it do anything?” —James Salter theparisreview.org/interviews/193…
“In Hollywood, people actually like me. I’m not really sure why. I think they understand me more.” —Walter Mosley theparisreview.org/interviews/693…
“That’s the thing I would like people to know about a lot of these feminist texts, is that they’re just not satisfied. It’s not negativity. It is a deep desire to bring about other kinds of imaginative possibilities,” says @amiasrinivasan. theparisreview.org/blog/2021/09/2…
“If you know you're working toward something that you think works, you'll get there, somehow, no matter how awful it is struggling with what's going on in the middle.” —Pat Barker theparisreview.org/interviews/729…
“I write it and take my chances.” —John Steinbeck theparisreview.org/interviews/381…
“That’s something I try to get across with my students: reading ‘The Dialectic of Sex’ is a lot like reading ‘The Republic.’ They’re both thrilling, weird, carnivalesque, problematic, very cool, imaginative texts that bear deep engagement.” theparisreview.org/blog/2021/09/2…
“I get bored easily. Plus I think every story brings with it its own style.” —Percival Everett theparisreview.org/interviews/694…
“You don’t write as a writer, you write as a man.” —Archibald MacLeish theparisreview.org/interviews/394…
“I have a habit of reading all philosophy as somehow betraying the self.” @amiasrinivasan discusses the political underpinnings of desire, the importance of wackiness in utopian movements, and her new book, ‘The Right to Sex’: theparisreview.org/blog/2021/09/2…
“I don’t see poetry as opposed to science. On the contrary, poetry and science should stay close and form an alliance to fight against ever-increasing inequality.” —Antonella Anedda theparisreview.org/interviews/760…
“Our fallen, debased state is ghastly.” —Mark Leyner theparisreview.org/interviews/620…
“Perhaps we were substitutes for each other, so that her young man was not myself but someone else who in her imagination was toying with the Spanish omelette in my place.” From “Arcady: or A Night Out” by Henry Green, issue no. 123, Summer 1992: theparisreview.org/fiction/2065/a…
“I began almost at random, writing the easy parts first. A piece of roof here, a bit of wall there, until I had a basic frame.” —Elias Khoury theparisreview.org/interviews/694…
“That is the dream, I suppose, of all novelists—that one of their characters will become ‘somebody.’ ” —José Saramago theparisreview.org/interviews/103…
“The novel is a big boat.” —Susan Sontag theparisreview.org/interviews/150…
“You’re not going to change anybody’s mind by shutting them down.” —Claudia Rankine theparisreview.org/interviews/690…
“We leave our marks behind us like a snail.” —Henry Green theparisreview.org/interviews/480…
“I’m not an extraordinary worker, I’m an extraordinary daydreamer.” —Blaise Cendrars theparisreview.org/interviews/438…
“The moment you grab someone by the lapels and you’ve got something to tell, that’s a story.” —Frank O’Connor theparisreview.org/interviews/484…
“Take a writer whom I admire tremendously, the greatest American short-story writer ever, Eudora Welty. In a strange way, if she had lived where I’ve lived, she might have turned these incredible gifts of hers more outward.” —Nadine Gordimer theparisreview.org/interviews/306…
“All my books are still in print, in hardback as well as paper, because people go back and say, Let me read that. Did she really say that?” —Maya Angelou theparisreview.org/interviews/227…
“I’m sorry, I said, but I think we have a semantic problem. A problem in communications, or maybe it’s linguistics. What does spending the night usually mean to you?” From Margaret Atwood’s “Bodily Harm,” issue no. 81, Fall 1981 theparisreview.org/fiction/3212/b…
“Speculation, rumination, direct address to the reader are entirely indigenous to the novel form.” —Susan Sontag theparisreview.org/interviews/150…
”The scary thing is when you write yourself into jeopardy, when you make it a little dangerous.” —Sam Lipsyte theparisreview.org/interviews/728…
“I don’t think you can ever know too much about craft.” —August Wilson theparisreview.org/interviews/839…
Ali Smith’s Art of Fiction interview, Robert Walser’s “From the Essays of Fritz Kocher,” and Reginald Shepherd’s “A Muse” are free to read this week only: theparisreview.org/blog/2021/09/2…
“There are aspects of society that have galloped faster, as it were, than I have, and that’s quite difficult. I observe, I listen, I’m a part of it . . . but I often feel slightly on the edge.” —Penelope Lively theparisreview.org/interviews/720…
“I’m more of an immigrant than an exile.” —Ha Jin theparisreview.org/interviews/599…
“It’s true that, most of the time, American reviewers read Arabic literature as if they’re reading the newspaper.” —Elias Khoury theparisreview.org/interviews/694…
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