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Old 01-16-2019, 02:49 PM
Location: North America
4,111 posts, read 1,714,732 times
Reputation: 17580


It's an interesting piece, all of which is at the link. Here's an excerpt of the main points:

1. Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc. etc. It is humbug to pretend that this is not a motive, a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen— in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they abandon individual ambition—in many cases, indeed, they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all—and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, wilful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.

2. Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or a writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.

3. Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

4. Political purpose—using the word “political” in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:23 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
29,637 posts, read 71,865,613 times
Reputation: 36974
Pretty much just number 1 for me.

I am not sure I understand number 2. It seems like it is well identified as number 2. I do not think I have any pet phrases, but I do have a pet phrase I would like to get rid of ("wow just wow," or "stop just stop," or "no just no," etc). I guess if I could write a book that would end that nonsense forever, I would jump at the opportunity. Maybe I should not scoff at number 2 entirely.

3 I am not sure I get, but I do like to do extensive historical research and then bring the facts to live with fictional characters and using fictional explanations of events that are vaguely recorded in history.

4. No. I am not that arrogant. I have no delusion that will will push people in some political direction. I do like to make fun of politics though. Maybe that counts for number 4.
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:02 PM
20,879 posts, read 62,513,553 times
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#2 relates to the art form itself. Examples abound, and the influence of the web and the changes by crappy HTML and crappy browsers and tiny phone screens are making people less aware. Look at the original works of Blake, chapbooks, and concrete poetry for examples of the word as art, where placement and style are crucial.

#4 ANY statement of opinion is political in the sense meant. If a person honestly has no intent to influence, that person remains completely silent. Example - there are threads that I read and could add to or comment on, but I don't, even though I might not agree with what the thread contains. All communication is an attempt to influence in some manner.
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