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John Banville quotes

I'm a hopeless 19th-century romantic.

We artists love to talk tough, but we're just as sentimental as everyone else when it comes down to it.

The effect of prizes on one's career - if that is what to call it - is considerable, since they give one more clout with publishers and more notoriety among journalists. The effect on one's writing, however, is nil - otherwise, one would be in deep trouble.

For memory, we use our imagination. We take a few strands of real time and carry them with us, then like an oyster we create a pearl around them.

Life is tragic but it's equally comic.

We writers are shy, nocturnal creatures. Push us into the light and the light blinds us.

You know, artists don't really have all that much experience of life. We make a huge amount out of the small experience that we do have.

I don't see how English as we use it in Europe can be revivified. It's like Latin must have been in about A.D. 300, tired and used up. All one can do is press very hard stylistically to make it glow.

When I started writing, I was a great rationalist and believed I was absolutely in control. But the older one gets, the more confused, and for an artist I think that is quite a good thing: you allow in more of your instinctual self; your dreams, fantasies and memories. It's richer, in a way.

It's great people still care about books, and it's great you can still fashion a life from literature.

All a work of art can do is present the surface. I can't know the insides of people. I know very little about the inside of myself.

All art at a certain level is entertainment. We go to a tragedy by Sophocles to be entertained.

Doing what you do well is death. Your duty is to keep trying to do things that you don't do well, in the hope of learning.

Dostoevsky is such a bad writer it is hard to take him seriously as a novelist, though he is a wonderful philosopher.

I am the worst judge of my books.

I don't make a distinction between men and women. To me they are just people.

I don't own a Kindle, no. I love books, they are beautiful objects.

I have this fantasy. I'm walking past a bookshop and I click my fingers and all my books go blank. So I can start again and get it right.

I like ideas. I find them more exciting than human behavior for the most part.

I never went to university. I'm self-educated. I didn't go because I was too impatient, too arrogant.