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The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy

We are lucky to live in the world of Deborah Levy.

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Tragedy, called a more exalted kind of consciousness, is so called because it makes us aware of what the character might have been. But to say or strongly imply what a man might have been requires of the author a soundly based, completely believed vision of man’s great possibilities. As Aristotle said, the poet is greater than the historian because he presents not only things as they were, but foreshadows what they might have been. We forsake literature when we are content to chronicle disaster.

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I think literature is the best technology we have for representing consciousness, and so I think there’s a kind of intervention that literature can perform in representing sex explicitly: it can reclaim the sexual body as a site of consciousness.

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Literature is not some kind of political manifestation.

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I need to reach beyond interior decoration, biography. Art is a way of melting out through one’s skin. “What, who is this about?” is not the essential question. A poem is not about; it is out of and to. Passionate language in movement. The deep structure is always musical, and physical — as breath, as pulse

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To claim that literature on its own is going to change reality would be an act of madness or arrogance. It seems to me no less foolish to deny that it can aid in making this change.

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Attention without object is a supreme form of prayer

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Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth

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My sense is that all human beings alive have enormous schisms in their experience, terrifying schisms within our feelings and within what we discover the world to be. One premise of art is that anything personal seen deeply enough becomes general, becomes impersonal.

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One of the reasons I think I love writing short stories is that people who love and read them are only there out of a love for literature.

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