Pearls from artists* # 199June 8, 2016
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Writers, like all artists, are concerned to represent reality, to create a more absolute and complete reality than reality itself. They must, if they are to accomplish this, assume a moral position, a clearly conceived political, social, and philosophical attitude; in consequence, their beliefs are, of course, going to find their way into their work. What artists believe, however, is of secondary importance, ancillary to the work itself. A writer survives in spite of his beliefs. Lawrence will be read whatever one thinks of his notions on sex. Dante is read in the Soviet Union.
A work of art, on the other hand, has a representative and expressive function. In this representation the author’s ideas, his judgments, the author himself, are engaged with reality.
Alberto Moravia in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews First Series, edited and with an introduction by Malcolm Cowley
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