There is only one way to degrade mankind permanently and that is to destroy language.

…writers are not acts of God; they come out of specific communities and are the individual points where those communities have become articulate.

There is something in all of us that wants to drift toward a mob, where we can all say the same thing without having to think about it, because everybody is all alike except people that we can hate or persecute. Every time we use words, we’re either fighting against this tendency or giving in to it. When we fight against it, we’re taking the side of genuine and permanent human civilization. The Educated Imagination, p. 67

The literary writer isn’t giving information, either about a subject or about his state of mind: he’s trying to let something take on its own form, whether it’s a poem or play or novel or whatever. That’s why you can’t produce literature voluntarily, in the way you’d write a letter or a report. That’s also why it’s no use telling the poet that he ought to write in a different way so you can understand him better. The writer of literature can only write out what takes shape in his mind…For the serious mediocre writer convention makes him sound like a lot of other people; for the popular writer it give him a formula he can exploit; for the serious good writer it releases his experiences or emotions from himself and incorporates them into literature, where they belong. The Educated Imagination, p. 16


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