books, fiction, quotes

breeding living fiction exempt from all the subjugations of the page

“…During the four days away, his answering service had taken no message from either an ominous palooka or an addled Alvin Pepler. Had his landsman spent into Zuckerman’s handkerchief the last of his enraged and hate-filled adoration? Was that the end of this barrage? Or would Zuckerman’s imagination beget still other Peplers conjuring up novels out of his–novels disguising themselves as actuality itself, as nothing less than real? Zuckerman the stupendous sublimator spawning Zuckermaniacs! A book, a piece of fiction bound between two covers, breeding living fiction exempt from all the subjugations of the page, breeding fiction unwritten, unreadable, unaccountable, and uncontainable, instead of doing what Aristotle promised from art in Humanities 2 and offering moral perceptions to supply us with the knowledge of what is good or bad. Oh, if only Alvin had studied Aristotle with him at Chicago! If only he could understand that it is the writers who are supposed to move the readers to pity and fear, not the other way around!”

– Philip Roth, “Look Homeward, Angel,” Zuckerman Unbound, Zuckerman Unbound: A Trilogy and Epilogue 1979-1985, New York: The Library of America (2007): 245.

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