Fictions Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
my-concern-is-how-we-live-fictions-how-fictions-have-real-effects-become-facts-in-that-sense-how-our-experience-world-changes-depending-on-its-ben-lerner
we-accept-fictions-as-fictions-as-things-that-might-be-true-in-their-world-if-not-quite-in-ours-thomas-c-foster
there-may-even-be-real-relation-between-certain-kinds-effectiveness-in-literature-totalitarianism-in-politics-but-although-fictions-are-alike-ways-finding-out-about-human-world-a
But that there is a simple relation between literary and other fictions seems, if one attends to it, more obvious than has appeared. If we think first of modern fictions, it can hardly be an accident that ever since Nietzsche generalized and developed the Kantian insights, literature has increasingly asserted its right to an arbitrary and private choice of fictional norms, just as historiography has become a discipline more devious and dubious because of our recognition that its methods depend to an unsuspected degree on myths and fictions. After Nietzsche it was possible to say, as Stevens did, that 'the final belief must be in a fiction.' This poet, to whom the whole question was of perpetual interest, saw that to think in this way was to postpone the End-when the fiction might be said to coincide with reality-for ever; to make of it a fiction, an imaginary moment when 'at last' the world of fact and the mundo of fiction shall be one. Such a fiction-the last section of Notes toward a Supreme Fiction is, appropriately, the place where Stevens gives it his fullest attention-such a fiction of the end is like infinity plus one and imaginary numbers in mathematics, something we know does not exist, but which helps us to make sense of and to move in the world. Mundo is itself such a fiction. I think Stevens, who certainly thought we have to make our sense out of whatever materials we find to hand, borrowed it from Ortega. His general doctrine of fictions he took from Vaihinger, from Nietzsche, perhaps also from American pragmatism.

Frank Kermode
but-that-there-is-simple-relation-between-literary-other-fictions-seems-if-one-attends-to-it-more-obvious-than-has-appeared-if-we-think-first-modern-fictions-it-can-hardly-be-acc
it-is-ourselves-we-encounter-whenever-we-invent-fictions-frank-kermode
perhaps-we-are-all-fictions-father-in-mind-god-graham-greene
this-is-not-one-your-fictions-where-people-bleed-ink-terence-paul-winter
fictions-are-realities-we-dont-think-that-are-happening-to-people-we-know-nothing-about-sanhita-baruah
like-all-my-fictions-sinner-is-mirror-look-into-it-you-will-find-yourself-what-you-do-with-what-you-see-is-your-choice
sometimes-song-isnt-strong-enough-to-contain-fiction-because-memories-are-fictions-nick-cave
god-gets-great-stories-novelists-must-make-do-with-more-mundane-fictions
time-obliterates-fictions-opinion-confirms-decisions-nature-marcus-tullius-cicero
most-near-future-fictions-are-boring-its-always-dark-always-raining-people-are-unhappy
i-want-reader-to-feel-something-is-astonishing-not-what-happens-but-way-everything-happens-these-long-short-story-fictions-do-that-best-for-me
i-want-reader-to-feel-something-is-astonishing-not-what-happens-but-way-everything-happens-these-long-short-story-fictions-do-that-best-for-me-alice-munro
now-he-knew-that-any-memories-he-might-cherish-during-last-years-his-life-would-be-only-fictions-from-biography-hed-never-lived-carlos-ruiz-zafon
art-is-amoral-whether-we-accept-this-not-it-does-not-take-sides-the-finest-fictions-are-cold-at-heart-john-banville
our-sense-self-is-kind-construct-it-is-in-some-ways-like-novel-its-like-fabric-fictions-that-we-patch-together-from-memory-dan-chaon
perhaps-our-only-sickness-is-to-desire-truth-which-we-cannot-bear-rather-than-to-rest-content-with-fictions-we-manufacture-out-each-other
people-have-a-habit-of-inventing-fictions-they-will-believe-wholeheartedly-in-order-to-ignore-the-truth-they-cannot-accept
poets-themselves-tho-liars-by-profession-always-endeavour-to-give-air-truth-to-their-fictions-david-hume
who-says-that-fictions-only-false-hair-become-verse-is-there-in-truth-no-beauty-is-all-good-structure-in-winding-stair-george-herbert
fictions-are-merely-frozen-dreams-linked-images-with-some-semblance-structure-they-are-not-to-be-trusted-no-more-than-people-who-create-them-neil-gaiman
and-theories-are-no-more-than-fictions-which-help-us-to-make-sense-experience-which-are-subject-to-disconfirmation-when-their-explanations-are-no-chinua-achebe
we-ought-to-esteem-it-greatest-importance-that-fictions-which-children-first-hear-should-be-adapted-in-most-perfect-manner-to-promotion-virtue-plato
to-judge-us-all-through-machine-commandants-monstrous-fictions-as-though-they-were-truth-as-though-history-written-word-were-friends-rather-than-adversaries-richard-flanagan
we-see-nobody-clearly-we-see-only-ghosts-absent-others-mistake-for-reality-fictions-we-construct-from-blueprints-drawn-up-in-early-childhood-this-is-problem-patrick-mcgrath
whoever-realizes-that-six-senses-arent-real-that-five-aggregates-are-fictions-that-no-such-things-can-be-located-anywhere-in-body-understands-bodhidharma
the-limited-fictions-used-to-sell-lives-public-figures-often-form-cloudy-chiaroscuro-that-covers-their-true-humanity
Bohr is really doing what the Stoic allegorists did to close the gap between their world and Homer's, or what St. Augustine did when he explained, against the evidence, the concord of the canonical scriptures. The dissonances as well as the harmonies have to be made concordant by means of some ultimate complementarity. Later biblical scholarship has sought different explanations, and more sophisticated concords; but the motive is the same, however the methods may differ. An epoch, as Einstein remarked, is the instruments of its research. Stoic physics, biblical typology, Copenhagen quantum theory, are all different, but all use concord-fictions and assert complementarities. Such fictions meet a need. They seem to do what Bacon said poetry could: 'give some show of satisfaction to the mind, wherein the nature of things doth seem to deny it.' Literary fictions ( Bacon's 'poetry') do likewise. One consequence is that they change, for the same reason that patristic allegory is not the same thing, though it may be essentially the same kind of thing, as the physicists' Principle of Complementarity. The show of satisfaction will only serve when there seems to be a degree of real compliance with reality as we, from time to time, imagine it. Thus we might imagine a constant value for the irreconcileable observations of the reason and the imagination, the one immersed in chronos, the other in kairos; but the proportions vary indeterminably. Or, when we find 'what will suffice, ' the element of what I have called the paradigmatic will vary. We measure and order time with our fictions; but time seems, in reality, to be ever more diverse and less and less subject to any uniform system of measurement. Thus we think of the past in very different timescales, according to what we are doing; the time of the art-historian is different from that of the geologist, that of the football coach from the anthropologist's. There is a time of clocks, a time of radioactive carbon, a time even of linguistic change, as in lexicostatics. None of these is the same as the 'structural' or 'family' time of sociology. George Kubler in his book The Shape of Time distinguished between 'absolute' and 'systematic' age, a hierarchy of durations from that of the coral reef to that of the solar year. Our ways of filling the interval between the tick and tock must grow more difficult and more selfcritical, as well as more various; the need we continue to feel is a need of concord, and we supply it by increasingly varied concord-fictions. They change as the reality from which we, in the middest, seek a show of satisfaction, changes; because 'times change.' The fictions by which we seek to find 'what will suffice' change also. They change because we no longer live in a world with an historical tick which will certainly be consummated by a definitive tock. And among all the other changing fictions, literary fictions take their place. They find out about the changing world on our behalf; they arrange our complementarities. They do this, for some of us, perhaps better than history, perhaps better than theology, largely because they are consciously false; but the way to understand their development is to see how they are related to those other fictional systems. It is not that we are connoisseurs of chaos, but that we are surrounded by it, and equipped for coexistence with it only by our fictive powers. This may, in the absence of a supreme fiction-or the possibility of it, be a hard fate; which is why the poet of that fiction is compelled to say From this the poem springs: that we live in a place That is not our own, and much more, nor ourselves And hard it is, in spite of blazoned days.

Frank Kermode
bohr-is-really-doing-what-stoic-allegorists-did-to-close-gap-between-their-world-homers-what-st-augustine-did-when-he-explained-against-evidence-concord-canonical-scriptures-the-
Apocalypse is a part of the modern Absurd. This is testimony to its vitality, a vitality dependent upon its truth to the set of our fear and desire. Acknowledged, qualified by the scepticism of the clerks, it is-even when ironized, even when denied-an essential element in the arts, a permanent feature of a permanent literature of crisis. If it becomes myth, if its past is forgotten, we sink quickly into myth, into stereotype. We have to employ our knowledge of the fictive. With it we can explain what is essential and eccentric about early modernism, and purge the trivial and stereotyped from the arts of our own time. Great men deceived themselves by neglecting to do this; other men, later, have a programme against doing it. The critics should know their duty. Part of this duty, certainly, will be to abandon ways of speaking which on the one hand obscure the true nature of our fictions-by confusing them with myths, by rendering spatial what is essentially temporal-and on the other obscure our sense of reality by suggesting that fictions represent some kind of surrender or false consolation. The critical issue, given the perpetual assumption of crisis, is no less than the justification of ideas of order. They have to be justified in terms of what survives, and also in terms of what we can accept as valid in a world different from that out of which they come, resembling the earlier world only in that there is biological and cultural continuity of some kind. Our order, our form, is necessary; our skepticism as to fictions requires that it shall not be spurious. It is an issue central to the understanding of modern literary fiction, and I hope in my next talk to approach it more directly.

Frank Kermode
apocalypse-is-part-modern-absurd-this-is-testimony-to-its-vitality-vitality-dependent-upon-its-truth-to-set-our-fear-desire-acknowledged-qualified-by-scepticism-clerks-it-iseven-
healthy-introspection-without-undermining-oneself-it-is-rare-gift-to-venture-into-unexplored-depths-self-without-delusions-fictions-but-with-uncorrupted-gaze-friedrich-nietzsche
the-study-law-left-me-unsatisfied-because-i-did-not-know-aspects-life-which-it-serves-i-perceived-only-intricate-mental-juggling-with-fictions-karl-jaspers
religion-has-no-business-to-formulate-social-laws-insist-on-difference-between-beings-because-its-aim-end-is-to-obliterate-all-such-fictions-swami-vivekananda
the-art-romance-though-warning-us-that-it-is-providing-fictions-opens-door-into-palace-absurdity-when-we-have-lightly-stepped-inside-slams-it-umberto-eco
in-other-words-science-tells-us-that-adam-eve-are-fictions-that-saint-paul-uncle-tom-cobley-all-thought-otherwise-is-irrelevant-they-were-wrong-michael-ruse
in-such-society-as-ours-only-possible-chance-for-change-for-mobility-for-political-economic-moral-flow-lies-in-tactics-guerrilla-warfare-in-use-fictions-language-kathy-acker
In the nouveau roman of Robbe-Grillet there is an attempt at a more or less Copernican change in the relation between the paradigm and the text. In Camus the counter-pointing is less doctrinaire; in Dostoevsky there is no evidence of any theoretical stand at all, simply rich originality within or without, as it chances, normal expectations. All these are novels which most of us would agree (and it is by a consensus of this kind only that these matters, quite rightly, are determined) to be at least very good. They represent in varying degrees that falsification of simple expectations as to the structure of a future which constitutes peripeteia. We cannot, of course, be denied an end; it is one of the great charms of books that they have to end. But unless we are extremely naive, as some apocalyptic sects still are, we do not ask that they progress towards that end precisely as we have been given to believe. In fact we should expect only the most trivial work to conform to pre-existent types. It is essential to the drift of all these talks that what I call the scepticism of the clerisy operates in the person of the reader as a demand for constantly changing, constantly more subtle, relationships between a fiction and the paradigms, and that this expectation enables a writer much inventive scope as he works to meet and transcend it. The presence of such paradigms in fictions may be necessary-that is a point I shall be discussing later-but if the fictions satisfy the clerisy, the paradigms will be to a varying but always great extent attenuated or obscured. The pressure of reality on us is always varying, as Stevens might have said: the fictions must change, or if they are fixed, the interpretations must change. Since we continue to 'prescribe laws to nature'-Kant's phrase, and we do-we shall continue to have a relation with the paradigms, but we shall change them to make them go on working. If we cannot break free of them, we must make sense of them.

Frank Kermode
in-nouveau-roman-robbegrillet-there-is-attempt-at-more-less-copernican-change-in-relation-between-paradigm-text-in-camus-counterpointing-is-less-doctrinaire-in-dostoevsky-there-i
sometimes-i-think-only-memories-i-have-are-those-that-ive-created-around-photographs-me-as-child-maybe-im-creating-my-own-life-i-distrust-any-sally-mann
some-dreams-we-have-are-nothing-else-but-dreams-unnatural-full-contradictions-yet-others-our-most-romantic-schemes-are-something-more-than-fictions-thomas-hood
novels-are-fictions-therefore-they-tell-lies-but-through-those-lies-every-novelist-attempts-to-tell-truth-about-world-paul-auster
its-all-just-fictions-anyway-we-do-what-we-do-then-we-make-up-reasons-for-it-afterward-but-theyre-never-true-reasons-truth-is-always-just-out-orson-scott-card
corporations-are-not-legal-persons-with-constitutional-rights-freedoms-their-own-but-legal-fictions-that-we-created-must-therefore-control-kalle-lasn
contrary-to-what-kafka-does-i-always-like-to-refer-all-my-fictions-to-level-reality-he-on-other-hand-leaves-them-at-imaginary-level-manuel-puig
you-cant-function-in-society-if-you-dont-involve-yourself-in-fictions-society-accepts-about-time-but-you-do-with-understanding-that-youre-playing-brad-warner
it-strikes-me-as-odd-that-weve-made-journeys-with-our-social-conditioning-in-certain-areas-but-not-in-others-the-world-is-always-changing-discoveries-in-technology-science-relent
i-am-not-dangerous-only-stories-are-dangerous-only-fictions-we-create-especially-when-they-become-expectations-david-levithan
in-merest-prudence-men-should-teach-that-science-ranks-as-monstrous-thingstwo-pairs-upper-limbs-wingseen-angels-wingsare-fictions-henry-austin-dobson
as-soon-as-we-renounce-fiction-illusion-we-lose-reality-itself-moment-we-subtract-fictions-from-reality-reality-itself-loses-its-discursivelogical-consistency-slavoj-iek
as-soon-as-we-renounce-fiction-illusion-we-lose-reality-itself-moment-we-subtract-fictions-from-reality-reality-itself-loses-its-discursivelogical-slavoj-iek
IT is worth remembering that the rise of what we call literary fiction happened at a time when the revealed, authenticated account of the beginning was losing its authority. Now that changes in things as they are change beginnings to make them fit, beginnings have lost their mythical rigidity. There are, it is true, modern attempts to restore this rigidity. But on the whole there is a correlation between subtlety and variety in our fictions and remoteness and doubtfulness about ends and origins. There is a necessary relation between the fictions by which we order our world and the increasing complexity of what we take to be the 'real' history of that world. I propose in this talk to ask some questions about an early and very interesting example of this relation. There was a long-established opinion that the beginning was as described in Genesis, and that the end is to be as obscurely predicted in Revelation. But what if this came to seem doubtful? Supposing reason proved capable of a quite different account of the matter, an account contradicting that of faith? On the argument of these talks so far as they have gone, you would expect two developments: there should be generated fictions of concord between the old and the new explanations; and there should be consequential changes in fictive accounts of the world. And of course I should not be troubling you with all this if I did not think that such developments occurred. The changes to which I refer came with a new wave of Greek influence on Christian philosophy. The provision of accommodations between Greek and Hebrew thought is an old story, and a story of concord-fictions-necessary, as Berdyaev says, because to the Greeks the world was a cosmos, but to the Hebrews a history. But this is too enormous a tract in the history of ideas for me to wander in. I shall make do with my single illustration, and speak of what happened in the thirteenth century when Christian philosophers grappled with the view of the Aristotelians that nothing can come of nothing-ex nihilo nihil fit-so that the world must be thought to be eternal. In the Bible the world is made out of nothing. For the Aristotelians, however, it is eternal, without beginning or end. To examine the Aristotelian arguments impartially one would need to behave as if the Bible might be wrong. And this was done. The thirteenth-century rediscovery of Aristotle led to the invention of double-truth. It takes a good deal of sophistication to do what certain philosophers then did, namely, to pursue with vigour rational enquiries the validity of which one is obliged to deny. And the eternity of the world was, of course, more than a question in a scholarly game. It called into question all that might seem ragged and implausible in the usual accounts of the temporal structure of the world, the relation of time to eternity (certainly untidy and discordant compared with the Neo-Platonic version) and of heaven to hell.

Frank Kermode
it-is-worth-remembering-that-rise-what-we-call-literary-fiction-happened-at-time-when-revealed-authenticated-account-beginning-was-losing-its-authority-now-that-changes-in-things
At some very low level, we all share certain fictions about time, and they testify to the continuity of what is called human nature, however conscious some, as against others, may become of the fictive quality of these fictions. It seems to follow that we shall learn more concerning the sense-making paradigms, relative to time, from experimental psychologists than from scientists or philosophers, and more from St. Augustine than from Kant or Einstein because St. Augustine studies time as the soul's necessary self-extension before and after the critical moment upon which he reflects. We shall learn more from Piaget, from studies of such disorders as deje  vu, eidetic imagery, the Korsakoff syndrome, than from the learned investigators of time's arrow, or, on the other hand, from the mythic archetypes. Let us take a very simple example, the ticking of a clock. We ask what it says: and we agree that it says tick-tock. By this fiction we humanize it, make it talk our language. Of course, it is we who provide the fictional difference between the two sounds; tick is our word for a physical beginning, tock our word for an end. We say they differ. What enables them to be different is a special kind of middle. We can perceive a duration only when it is organized. It can be shown by experiment that subjects who listen to rhythmic structures such as tick-tock, repeated identically, 'can reproduce the intervals within the structure accurately, but they cannot grasp spontaneously the interval between the rhythmic groups, ' that is, between tock and tick, even when this remains constant. The first interval is organized and limited, the second not. According to Paul Fraisse the tock-tick gap is analogous to the role of the 'ground' in spatial perception; each is characterized by a lack of form, against which the illusory organizations of shape and rhythm are perceived in the spatial or temporal object. The fact that we call the second of the two related sounds tock is evidence that we use fictions to enable the end to confer organization and form on the temporal structure. The interval between the two sounds, between tick and tock is now charged with significant duration. The clock's tick-tock I take to be a model of what we call a plot, an organization that humanizes time by giving it form; and the interval between tock and tick represents purely successive, disorganized time of the sort that we need to humanize. Later I shall be asking whether, when tick-tock seems altogether too easily fictional, we do not produce plots containing a good deal of tock-tick; such a plot is that of Ulysses.

Frank Kermode
at-some-low-level-we-all-share-certain-fictions-about-time-they-testify-to-continuity-what-is-called-human-nature-however-conscious-some-as-against-others-may-become-fictive-qual
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