That Faulkner quote that gets used on Gawker to such delight so many times, yeah, this one:
Some people say they can't understand your writing, even after they read it two or three times. What approach would you suggest for them?
Read it four times.
Excellent quote! So I went and read the whole interview in the Paris Review, and it's got all kinds of gems. Like:
You mentioned experience, observation, and imagination as being important for the writer. Would you include inspiration?
I don't know anything about inspiration because I don't know what inspiration is—I've heard about it, but I never saw it.
(S)ince words are my talent, I must try to express clumsily in words what the pure music would have done better. I prefer silence to sound, and the image produced by words occurs in silence. That is, the thunder and the music of the prose take place in silence.
Snappy. Like it.
Fine. I mean, he only refers to writers as men and men as writers, but the interview was done in 1956. And so much of what he says is interesting, even if it's self-important, all that. And then comes this:
You mentioned economic freedom. Does the writer need it?
No. The writer doesn't need economic freedom. All he needs is a pencil and some paper. Success is feminine and like a woman; if you cringe before her, she will override you. So the way to treat her is to show her the back of your hand. Then maybe she will do the crawling.
Yeah, and I'm out. I don't care if it was 1956, I don't care that he said some good stuff about writing, about racial equality, or anything else.
There were so many 20th century male writers I liked in my twenties who I just can't read anymore for exactly this reason. Milan Kundera, I loved your work during the Cold War, and kudos for all the terrific writing, but I can't hear you anymore over the misogyny. Done.
Any other great writers you can't read because of their sexist mindframe, even accounting for generational difference?