Here in the Pacific Northwest, the nights have grown colder, the days shorter, and the leaves are starting to change. It’s my favorite time of the year. I figure it’s the perfect moment to share some of my favorite quotes from the king of gothic romanticism and inventor of the detective novel, Edgar Allan Poe.
“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”
—The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
“Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger, portion of truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.”
—The Mystery of Marie Rogêt
Do you have a favorite Edgar Allan Poe quote? Is there a story of his which you love? Let me know in the comments!
“Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.”
One thing I like about this quote is how it challenges both the character and the reader to discover “what they are made of.” That “they” can work on multiple levels—making this quote both straightforward and yet layered.
Interestingly enough, this is just one of Vonnegut’s eight tips for writing (number six, specifically.) He’s not the only writer to dish out eight tips—seems like a comfortable number for a lot of us. You can read all of Vonnegut’s eight and the eight tips from other great authors over at this post.
“No book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.”
—George Orwell, Why I Write
“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.”
The featured image is a detailed crop of Robert McCurdy’s stunning portrait of Toni Morrison. It currently hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. I encourage you to check out the full piece. Morrison’s impact on American culture and literature cannot be overstated. She lived an inspirational life and left this world a better place. Her voice will be missed, but her legacy will last forever.
“[The first version of the novel] was read by Terry Pratchett, aged forty-three, who said: hang on. I wrote that in the days when I thought fantasy was all battles and kings. Now I’m inclined to think that the real concerns of fantasy ought to be about not having battles, and doing without kings.”
This quote comes from the Author’s note from the revised edition of Pratchett’s debut novel, The Carpet People. He wrote that book when he was seventeen, and it’s no surprise that twenty-six years (and many many many books) later, his thoughts toward fantasy had shifted. As a writer who tends to work outside of fantasy’s categorical delineations, I appreciate this perspective. I find myself thinking along similar lines quite often.
In an article for Stanford’s Arcade, Rutger’s professor Andrew Goldstone explored this quote further and examined how it related to Pratchett and his writing in “Terry Pratchett: ‘Not having battles, and doing without kings'”—it’s an excellent piece and worth checking out.