From the essay “The Medium of Fiction”
The purpose of a literary work is the capture of consciousness, and the consequent creation, in you, of an imagined sensibility, so that while you read you are the patient pool or cataract of concepts which the author has constructed; and though at first it might seem as if the richness of life had been replaced by something less so–senseless noises, abstract meanings, mere shadows of worldly employment–yet the new self with which fine fiction and good poetry should provide you is as wide as the mind is, and musicked deep with feeling. While listening to such symbols sounding, the blind perceive; thought seems to grow a body; and the will is at rest amid that moving like a gull asleep on the sea. Perhaps we’ll be forgiven, then if we fret about our words…It is not a refusal to please. There’s no willfulness, disdain, exile…no anger. Because a consciousness electrified by beauty–is that not the aim and emblem and the ending of all finely made love?
Are you afraid? (33)
This is how the essay ends. So eloquent, yet so grounded–though a man who worked in the towers of academia wrote this, the dirt and grim of the quotidian lives in these sentences. A startling call to create what will mean everything to someone not so interested. Make love to the work and the work may make love to the reader.
5 thoughts on “For Your Consideration, Part II”
I’m about two-thirds of the way through this collection right now. Maybe the best writing on fiction I’ve ever read.
Yes, those first four essays are quite a basis and philosophy for giving oneself to the word. If anyone ever needed a nudge to read UNDER THE VOLCANO, the essay “In Terms of the Toenail” is for them. What a great consideration of author and text.
greg, im glad u post these little bits on gass. i love this book so much. brightend my day.