I can't bear art that you can walk round and admire. A book should be either a bandit or a rebel or a man in the crowd.
It's bad taste to be wise all the time, like being at a perpetual funeral.
We have to hate our immediate predecessors to get free of their authority.
I hate the actor and audience business. An author should be in among the crowd, kicking their shins or cheering them on to some mischief or merriment.
Myth is an attempt to narrate a whole human experience, of which the purpose is too deep, going too deep in the blood and soul, for mental explanation or description.
The novel is the highest form of human expression so far attained. Why? Because it is so incapable of the absolute.
The mind can assert anything and pretend it has proved it. My beliefs I test on my body, on my intuitional consciousness, and when I get a response there, then I accept.
Oh literature, oh the glorious Art, how it preys upon the marrow in our bones. It scoops the stuffing out of us, and chucks us aside. Alas!
The war is dreadful. It is the business of the artist to follow it home to the heart of the individual fighters - not to talk in armies and nations and numbers - but to track it home.
Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of the critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.
The true artist doesn't substitute immorality for morality. On the contrary, he always substitutes a finer morality for a grosser one.
The essential function of art is moral. But a passionate, implicit morality, not didactic. A morality which changes the blood, rather than the mind.
Sex and beauty are inseparable, like life and consciousness. And the intelligence which goes with sex and beauty, and arises out of sex and beauty, is intuition.
Men and women should stay apart, till their hearts grow gentle towards one another again.
I can't do with mountains at close quarters - they are always in the way, and they are so stupid, never moving and never doing anything but obtrude themselves.
There is no such thing as liberty. You only change one sort of domination for another. All we can do is to choose our master.
Men always do leave off really thinking, when the last bit of wild animal dies in them.
Be a good animal, true to your animal instincts.
Men! The only animal in the world to fear.
The only justice is to follow the sincere intuition of the soul, angry or gentle. Anger is just, and pity is just, but judgement is never just.
Don't be on the side of the angels, it's too lowering.
The only history is a mere question of one's struggle inside oneself. But that is the joy of it. One need neither discover Americas nor conquer nations, and yet one has as great a work as Columbus or Alexander, to do.
Europe's the mayonnaise, but America supplies the good old lobster.
Since obscenity is the truth of our passion today, it is the only stuff of art - or almost the only stuff.
Do not allow to slip away from you freedoms the people who came before you won with such hard knocks.
Only in a novel are all things given full play.
Creation destroys as it goes, throws down one tree for the rise of another. But ideal mankind would abolish death, multiply itself million upon million, rear up city upon city, save every parasite alive, until the accumulation of mere existence is swollen to a horror.
For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.
One sheds one's sicknesses in books - repeats and presents again one's emotions, to be master of them.
The great living experience for every man is his adventure into the woman. The man embraces in the woman all that is not himself, and from that one resultant, from that embrace, comes every new action.
A man has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it; and one's religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification.
My whole working philosophy is that the only stable happiness for mankind is that it shall live married in blessed union to woman-kind - intimacy, physical and psychical between a man and his wife. I wish to add that my state of bliss is by no means perfect.
Reason is a supple nymph, and slippery as a fish by nature. She had as leave give her kiss to an absurdity any day, as to syllogistic truth. The absurdity may turn out truer.
You don't want to love - your eternal and abnormal craving is to be loved. You aren't positive, you're negative. You absorb, absorb, as if you must fill yourself up with love, because you've got a shortage somewhere.
California is a queer place in a way, it has turned its back on the world, and looks into the void Pacific. It is absolutely selfish, very empty, but not false, and at least, not full of false effort.
The day of the absolute is over, and we're in for the strange gods once more.