Marilynne Robinson

Literary Birthday – 26 November – Marilynne Robinson

Happy Birthday, Marilynne Robinson, born 26 November 1943.


  1. This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it.
  2. People talk about how wonderful the world seems to children, and that’s true enough. But children think they will grow into it and understand it, and I know very well that I will not, and would not if I had a dozen lives.
  3. For our purposes as human beings, the mind is the centre of everything.
  4. The moon looks wonderful in this warm evening light, just as a candle flame looks beautiful in the light of morning. Light within light…
  5. One of the things about writing fiction is that you create people that you feel, more or less, as though you know.
  6. I’ve developed a great reputation for wisdom by ordering more books than I ever had time to read, and reading more books, by far, than I learned anything useful from, except, of course, that some very tedious gentlemen have written books.
  7. Memory can make a thing seem to have been much more than it was.
  8. In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilisation built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilisations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable – which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, intraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.
  9. I’ve learned a lot about writing from listening to my students talk.
  10. I was read to as a small child, I read on my own as soon as I could, and I recall being more or less overwhelmed again and again – if not by what the books actually said, by what they suggested, what they helped me to imagine.

Marilynne Robinson is an American writer. She has received several literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Humanities Medal. She is the author of Housekeeping, Home, and Gilead.

Source for Image

Christian Scott Heinen Bell, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 26th November 2015