Literary Birthday – 7 April – Donald Barthelme

Donald Barthelme was born 7 April 1931, and died 23 July 1989.

Seven Quotes

  1. I don’t think you can talk about progress in art – movement, but not progress. You can speak of a point on a line for the purpose of locating things, but it’s a horizontal line, not a vertical one.
  2. Strings of language extend in every direction to bind the world into a rushing, ribald whole.
  3. Peter Yates, the music critic, said that the proper work of the critic is praise, and that that which cannot be praised should be surrounded with a tasteful, well-thought-out silence.
  4. Every writer in the country can write a beautiful sentence, or a hundred. What I am interested in is the ugly sentence that is also somehow beautiful.
  5. The order of pieces in a given book is mostly a matter of trying to make sure they don’t get in each other’s way. Much like hanging pictures for a show.
  6. We are what we have been told about ourselves. We are the sum of the messages we have received. The true messages. The false messages.
  7. I read other writers to discover what they do well; that helps me, reminds me why I got into this peculiar business in the first place.

Donald Barthelme was an American author known for his playful short fiction. He is the author of Sixty Stories, Forty Stories, and Snow White.

Source for Image: University of Houston, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 7th April 2014