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This is the great vice of academicism, that it is concerned with ideas rather than with thinking.
There is no connection between the political ideas of our educated class and the deep places of the imagination.
The poet may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather.
The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.
The immature artist imitates. Mature artists steal.
The function of literature, through all its mutations, has been to make us aware of the particularity of selves, and the high authority of the self in its quarrel with its society and its culture. Literature is in that sense subversive.
Our culture peculiarly honors the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect.
It is possible that the contemplation of cruelty will not make us humane but cruel; that the reiteration of the badness of our spiritual condition will make us consent to it.
Every neurosis is a primitive form of legal proceeding in which the accused carries on the prosecution, imposes judgment and executes the sentence: all to the end that someone else should not perform the same process.
Being a Jew is like walking in the wind or swimming: you are touched at all points and conscious everywhere.
It is now life and not art that requires the willing suspension of disbelief
Youth is a time when we find the books we give up but do not get over.
Probably it is impossible for humor to be ever a revolutionary weapon. Candide can do little more than generate irony.
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