The work of Henry James has always seemed divisible by a simple dynastic arrangement into three reigns: James 1st, James 2nd, and the Old Pretender.
There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth the publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to get sensible men to read it.
This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back again.
Thought flies and words go on foot.
To write is to become disinterested. There is a certain renunciation in art.
What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.
When my journal appears, many statues must come down.
Writers aren't exactly people, they're a whole lot of people trying to be one person.
Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness.
Writing is one of the easiest things: erasing is one of the hardest.
Writing is turning one's worst moments into money.
You cannot write in the chimney with charcoal.
The truth is, we've not really developed a fiction that can accommodate the full tumult, the zaniness and crazed quality of modern experience.
Take care of the sense and the sounds will take of care themselves.
There is today an extraordinary interest with the data of modern experience per se. Our absorption in our contemporary historical state is very high right now. It's not altogether unlike a similar situation in seventeenth century Holland, where wealthy merchants wanted their portraits done with all their blemishes included. It is the height of egotism, in a sense, to think even one's blemishes are of significance. So today Americans seem to want their writers to reveal all their weaknesses, their meannesses, to celebrate their very confusions. And they want it in the most direct possible way - they want it served up neat, as it were, without the filtering and generalizing power of fiction.
I can write better than anyone who can write faster, and I can write faster than anyone who can write better.
Writing: I certainly do rewrite my central myth in every book, and would never read or trust any writer who did not also do so.
Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.
There is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out.
The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it.