Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quote of the Day: Henry James on Art

This is from Henry James' essay, "The Art of Fiction."
Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue. It is the atmosphere of the mind; and when the mind is imaginative -- much more when it happens to be that of a man of genius -- it takes to itself the faintest hints of life, it converts the very pulses of the air into revelations. ...If experience consists of impressions, it may be said that impressions are experience, just as (have we not seen it?) they are the very air we breathe. Therefore, if I should certainly say to a novice, "Write from experience and experience only," I should feel that this was rather a tantalising monition if I were not careful to immediately add, "Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!"

(Boldface is mine).

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