October 20, 2014

John Banville - Most artists live with other artists, whether physically or in their minds

Cartoon of John Banville, more here.
John Banville said:
"Most artists live with other artists, whether physically or in their minds."
Martin Amis said the same thing of writers. Speaking in 2000, he said that reading and writing is about communion, not communication:
"It was Christopher Hitchens that introduced me to Saul Bellow as a reader. Look at Homboldt’s Gift he told me with a serious inclination of the head on the staircase of the New Statesman in 1977. I looked instead at the victim and after very few pages I felt a recognition threading itself through me whose form of words, more solemn than exhilarated, went approximately as follows: Here is a writer I will have to read all of. Everything else followed from this and it remains the basis of the connection. I see Bellow perhaps twice a year, and we call and we write, but that accounts for only a fraction of the time I spend in his company. He is on the shelves, on the desk, he is all over the house, and always in the mood to talk, that’s what writing is: not communication but a means of communion. And here are the other writers that swirl around you like friends, patient and intimate, sleeplessly accessible over centuries. This is the definition of literature."

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