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99,912. I hate these academics that get praise, and they’re shallow. It’s all smug and bullshit. [Ian] McEwan and [Martin] Amis and all them. Middle-class mafia … They can buy their way to a lifelong competitive advantage over the uneducated and poor. This middle-class business, it’s the only place in the world where it’s really strong because it comes right down from the Queen. It’s a nepotistic way British society is run. They don’t draw from the whole gene pool, like America. That’s why you get good writers in America. There’s never been any great writers here in England, not in the last century. Look at Kingsley Amis. You can’t believe in the characters he writes about. And the experiences he attributes to them. And yet they made him a Sir. They’re disgusting people really. It can be treacherous, the publishing world. (Literature & Book & Class & Great Britain & Write) John Healy interview May 2012
79,430. The Cuirt Festival is renowned for risk, but do the daredevils of Galway know what it means to invite John Health, the author of The Grass Arena? Barbaric Genius, Sky Arts 2012, Observer 9th April 2007
79,431. I had a very violent childhood. ibid. John
79,432. It’s a mental opiate – chess. (Literature & Chess) ibid.
79,433. ‘There are no tomorrows. Tomorrow can’t be relied upon to come. Each day you have to prove yourself anew – stealing, fighting, begging and drinking.’ (Literature & Tomorrow) ibid. John Healy’s The Grass Arena
79,434. In 2008 The Grass Arena was brought back into print by Penguin Books. ibid.
79,435. During his chess career John won ten international chess tournaments. (Literature & Chess) ibid.
79,436. The Grass Arena was published in 1988 by Faber & Faber to immediate acclaim. ibid.
79,437. The Grass Arena was to remain out of print and unobtainable for fifteen years. ibid.
79,438. John Healy’s first book in twenty years ‘Coffee House Chess Tactics’ was published in August 2010 by a Dutch publisher. ‘The Metal Mountain’ and ‘The Glass Cage’ remain unpublished. (Literature & Chess) ibid.
79,406. I never knew what a tyrant was, or how I’d become one. (Literature & Tyrant) The Grass Arena 1991 ***** starring Peter Postlethwaite & Mark Rylance & Lynsey Baxter & Marian McLoughlin & Andrew Dicks & Billy Boyle & Nick Dawney & Simon Napper & John Garrett & Brian Hall & Gerard Horan et al, director Gillies MacKinnon
79,407. What’s it gonna be, Johnny, drinking or boxing? Stop drinking, or you won’t get to box as a pro. ibid. Bloke after fight
79,408. Been fighting. Naah, not out there – in the ring, proper. It don’t half take it out of you, throwing punches, ducking em, even when you’re winning. ibid. John to woman in cafe
79,409. Same faces but they’re all sober. ibid. bloke in Nick
79,410. This won’t hurt a bit; it’ll stop you wanting a drink. ibid. Nurse
79,411. Listen, if I told you about a game … it’s more like a battle, an old-day warfare – it’s called chess. (Literature & Chess) ibid. bloke in Nick
79,412. When you’re in the parks, mum, you’ve got to live their way or die. (Literature & Park) ibid. John
79,413. Most of the inhabitants of the grass arena have since died. John Healy is now an acclaimed author. ibid.
119,515. But for brilliant writer J G Ballard this suburban sprawl is as provocative in its way as Tahiti was for Gauguin or Dublin for James Joyce. This, believe it or not, is a land of dreams. (Car & Literature & Novel) Profile: J G Ballard, BBC 2003
119,516. ‘Disquieting diorama of pain and mutilation. Strange sexual wounds, imaginary Vietnam atrocities …’ (Car & Literature & Novel) ibid. Atrocity Exhibition
119,517. In his next novel Crash, Ballard followed this route to a shocking destination. A work which contrived the disturbing pile-up between sexual arousal and crumpled bodywork. (Car & Literature & Novel) ibid.
119,518. ‘Throwing a literary bomb into a rather smug you know cafeteria.’ (Car & Literature & Novel) ibid. Ballard
2,654. There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. (Science & Literature & Knowledge & Public & Happiness) George Washington
5,018. The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included. Literature, she thought, is a commonwealth; letters a republic. (Equality & Reading & Books & Literature) Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader
7,128. Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry. (Read & Literature & Poetry) Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
7,187. The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy. (Read & Life’s Like That & Literature) Gustave Flaubert
7,197. The world of literature has everything in it, and it refuses to leave anything out. I have read like a man on fire my whole life because the genius of English teachers touched me with the dazzling beauty of language. (Read & Literature & Language) Pat Conroy
8,864. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. (Children & Paedophile & Literature & Fiction & Language) Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita 1955
72,908. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. (Children & Paedophile & Literature & Fiction & Language) ibid.
12,629. I loved it. Especially the stories. This Bible was originally published in 1611. It aimed to take the Protestant faith to the English speaking world and it did. Hundreds of millions of copies have been printed over the last four hundred years. But there were radical unexpected consequences. You may think our modern world is founded on secular ideals. But I think that the King James’ version not only influenced the English language and literature more than any other book, it was also the seed-bed of Western democracy. (Bible & Language & Literature & Democracy) Melvyn Bragg, The King James Bible: The Book that Charged the World 2001
79,439. One of the epic American novels of the twentieth century The Grapes of Wrath. Melvyn Bragg, John Steinbeck: Voice of America, BBC 2013
79,440. His range was vast and his output prolific. ibid.
79,441. In The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck describes the natural disaster which befell the farmers as a catastrophe of Biblical proportions. ibid.
79,442. Of Mice and Men which follows the fortunes of two itinerates fruit tramps Lennie and George ... ibid.
79,443. Steinbeck toured the labour camps. ibid.
79,444. Cannery Row, with its celebration of life in all its forms, is up there with The Grapes of Wrath. ibid.
79,445. East of Eden: it was a hugely ambitious undertaking. ibid.
79,446. What they can’t deny Steinbeck is his power as a story-teller. ibid.
79,447. He was also ahead of his time in developing an ecological view of man’s place in the universe. ibid.
30,274. Bede was not just the founding father of English history, arguably he was also the first consummate story teller in all of English literature. (Great Britain & England & Literature) Simon Schama, A History of Britain: Beginnings
30,359. [Elizabeth] Gaskell took herself right into the lower depths of the city, the gin-palaces and open sewers. Dark reeking alleys where skin-and-bones children played amongst the rats. (Great Britain & England & Literature) Simon Schama, A History of Britain: Victoria and Her Sisters
135,870. You may think our modern world was born yesterday. But it wasn’t, not even the day before yesterday. Democracy in the streets and the rise of people power. The raw passion of national belonging. Good and bad. Our obsession with the self and our own psychology and the dark recesses of the human mind. Even our love of nature, our concern for the future of the planet, all of this was the creation of the romantics: a generation of artists living and working two hundred years ago around the time of the French revolution. Their art was created over nearly a century of upheaval and change. And it speaks to us now with as much ferocious power as it did then. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) The Romantics & Us With Simon Schama, BBC 2020
135,871. The Romantics lived hard, worked feverishly, and many of them died young. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & & Ideas & Paris) ibid.
135,872. If you’ve ever been on a march for whatever cause, you’ve experienced one of the great inventions of the Romantics brought into the modern world … A new religion of insurrection and agitation in which everyone can take to the streets to fight for freedom, equality and justice. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) ibid.
135,873. Liberty Leading the People (1830) by Delacroix: It’s been a focal point of intoxicated devotion ever since … Delacroix was born into an age of revolutions in which the monarchy and aristocracy was under siege from the ideals of liberty, equality and the rights of man. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) ibid.
135,874. Delacroix’s image had its most famous resurrection during the Paris Uprisings of 1968 when students and workers came together on the barricades to break apart the rigid conservatism of French society under [Charles] de Gaulle. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) ibid.
135,875. The students took over the most prestigious art school and covered Paris in revolutionary slogans, poetry and street art. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) ibid.
135,876. William Blake: His head swam with visions. As he walked through the streets of his city he saw angels in the trees and amongst the haymakers in the fields. He was always reaching for that bit of heaven and he sees everyone as potentially wonderful. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) ibid.
135,877. Perhaps the most surprising or at least the bravest was the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. In 1792, fired up by the revolution, Mary had written A Vindication of the Rights of Women … And so she arrived in Paris. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) ibid.
135,878. Over the next two years Mary witnessed the worst excesses of the Jacobean government. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) ibid.
135,879. You could see how the will of the people and the language of liberty became increasingly debased into the propaganda slogans of unlimited state power. (Modernism & New & Art & Revolution & Literature & Demonstration & Ideas & Paris) ibid.