Zadie Smith on writing

The Guardian has a two-parts essay by Zadie Smith on writing and reading. I like what she says about the connection between the writer’s self and his/her books:

A writer’s personality is his manner of being in the world: his writing style is the unavoidable trace of that manner. When you understand style in these terms, you don’t think of it as merely a matter of fanciful syntax, or as the flamboyant icing atop a plain literary cake, nor as the uncontrollable result of some mysterious velocity coiled within language itself. Rather, you see style as a personal necessity, as the only possible expression of a particular human consciousness. Style is a writer’s way of telling the truth. Literary success or failure, by this measure, depends not only on the refinement of words on a page, but in the refinement of a consciousness, what Aristotle called the education of the emotions.

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One thought on “Zadie Smith on writing

  1. I thought this was an excellent article, well-reasoned, erudite and full of inspiration for writers and readers. I almost fired up my creative writing pages, but then someone needed their nose wiping and another one was hungry. Pity. It’s a piece I’ll return to, and possibly also link to, because I thought it was full of gems. I like Zadie even more.

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