Literary Birthday – 27 July – Elizabeth Hardwick

Elizabeth Hardwick was born 27 July 1916 and died 2 December 2007.


  1. The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.
  2. The famous carry about with them a great weight of patriarchal baggage-the footnotes of their lives.
  3. Books give not wisdom where none was before. But where some is, there reading makes it more.
  4. How certain human beings are able to create works of art is a mystery, and why they should wish to do so, at a great cost to themselves usually, is another mystery. Works are not created by one’s life; every life is rich in material.
  5. Now, my novel begins. No, now I begin my novel—and yet I cannot decide whether to call myself I or she.
  6. Making a living is nothing; the great difficulty is making a point, making a difference-with words.
  7. A letter is not a dialogue or even an omniscient exposition. It is a fabric of surfaces, a mask, a form as well suited to affectations as to the affections. The letter is, by its natural shape, self-justifying; it is one’s own evidence, deposition, a self-serving testimony. In a letter the writer holds all the cards, controls everything about himself and about those assertions he wishes to make concerning events or the worth of others. For completely self-centred characters, the letter form is a complex and rewarding activity.
  8. Art is a profession, not a shrine.

Elizabeth Hardwick was an American literary critic, novelist, and short story writer.  She was the author of three novels: The Ghostly Lover, The Simple Truth, and Sleepless Nights. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947. From 1949 to 1972 she was married to the poet, Robert Lowell.

source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 27th July 2018