21.3.09

You ask me what a work of literature must do in order to be worthy of the name. I suppose I would say it must have a quality of the transcendent. I do not mean metaphysical transcendence, but a kind of heightening. In the work of art, the world is made for a moment radiant, more than itself while at the same time remaining absolutely, fundamentally, mundanely, utterly itself. So the artistic act is almost like the sexual act: in the glare of its attention, the Other, in a sudden access of self-awareness, takes on a transcendent glow. High talk, I know, but we are, I take it, talking of high art. (John Banville)

1 comment:

Helen Nehill said...

I like this quote. I have your letter and will reply to it soon - just got to finish some assignments first, so a slight delay...

H.