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John Updike Quotes
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Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness; its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.
When I write, I aim in my mind not toward New York but toward a vague spot a little to the east of Kansas.
From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few.
Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant. Of a teacher and a learner.
Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone.
Arabic is very twisting, very beautiful. The call to prayer is quite haunting; it almost makes you a believer on the spot.
There is no pleasing New Englanders, my dear, their soil is all rocks and their hearts are bloodless absolutes.
We take our bearings, daily, from others. To be sane is, to a great extent, to be sociable.
America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.
Nature refuses to rest.
The inner spaces that a good story lets us enter are the old apartments of religion.
Eros is everywhere. It is what binds.
Existence itself does not feel horrible; it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.
For some of us, books are intrinsic to our sense of personal identity.
People are incorrigibly themselves.
The refusal to rest content, the willingness to risk excess on behalf of one's obsessions, is what distinguishes artists from entertainers, and what makes some artists adventurers on behalf of us all.
The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education.
Customs and convictions change; respectable people are the last to know, or to admit, the change, and the ones most offended by fresh reflections of the facts in the mirror of art.
A narrative is like a room on whose walls a number of false doors have been painted; while within the narrative, we have many apparent choices of exit, but when the author leads us to one particular door, we know it is the right one because it opens.
Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day's progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.
We're past the age of heroes and hero kings... Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it's up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.
A seventeenth-century house can be recognized by its steep roof, massive central chimney and utter porchlessness. Some of those houses have a second-story overhang, emphasizing their medieval look.
America is beyond power; it acts as in a dream, as a face of God. Wherever America is, there is freedom, and wherever America is not, madness rules with chains, darkness strangles millions. Beneath her patient bombers, paradise is possible.
American art in general... takes to surreal exaggerations and metaphors; but its Puritan work ethic has little use for the playful self-indulgence behind Parisian Surrealism.
For many years, I read mystery novels for relaxation. But my tastes were too narrow - and, having read all of Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr, I discovered that the implausibility and the thinness of the people distracted me unduly from the plot.
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