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We talk about feelings. And about sex. And about bodies, and their gratification, violation, repair, decoration, deferred, maybe permanently deferred, mortality. Feelings are a bodily thing, and respecting them is called, is, kindness.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt

As a little girl, I didn't like stories about little girls. I liked stories about dragons and beasts and princes and princesses and fear and terror and the Four Musketeers and almost anything other than nice little girls making moral decisions about whether to tell the teacher about what the other little girl did or did not do.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt

A surprising number of people - including many students of literature - will tell you they haven't really lived in a book since they were children. Sadly, being taught literature often destroys the life of the books.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt

I always say I write my own novels and the characters don't take control of me, but in fact, I look at the characters in the early stages and I think, 'What is he or she like,' and they slowly come together and they become the person they are.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt

I am suspicious of writers who go looking for issues to address. Writers are neither preachers nor journalists. Journalists know much more than most writers about what's going on in the world. And if you want to change things, you do journalism.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt


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I am not sure how much good is done by moralising about fairy tales. This can be unsubtle - telling children that virtue will be rewarded, when in fact it is mostly simply the fact of being the central character that ensures a favourable outcome. Fairy tales are not, on the whole, parables.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt

Reading a newspaper is like reading someone's letters, as opposed to a biography or a history. The writer really does not know what will happen. A novelist needs to feel what that is like.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt

On buses and trains, I always think about the inexhaustible variety of human genes. We see types, and occasionally twins, but never doubles. All faces are unique, and this is exhilarating, despite the increasingly plastic similarity of TV stars and actors.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt

I am a profound pessimist both about life and about human relations and about politics and ecology. Humans are inadequate and stupid creatures who sooner or later make a mess, and those who are trying to do good do a lot more damage than those who are muddling along.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt

Why do we take pleasure in gruesome death, neatly packaged as a puzzle to which we may find a satisfactory solution through clues - or if we are not clever enough, have it revealed by the all-powerful tale-teller at the end of the book? It is something to do with being reduced to, and comforted by, playing by the rules.

nest quotes ~ by a s byatt
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