“‘The proper stuff of fiction’ does not exist; everything is the proper stuff of fiction, every feeling, every thought; every quality of brain and spirit is drawn upon; no perception comes amiss. And if we can imagine the art of fiction come alive and standing in our midst, she would undoubtedly bid us break her and bully her, as well as honour and love her, for so her youth is renewed and her sovereignty assured” (Woolf 154).
Woolf personifies fiction in this quotation from “Modern Fiction”; in doing so, she expresses the concept of encouraging writers to challenge fiction and incorporate their own ideas within it. This contrasts from other thinkers who view writing from a formulaic perspective and discourage deviation and creativity in terms of style.
Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 154. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.
The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does compete with life. When it ceases to compete as the canvas of the painter competes, it will have arrived at a very strange pass. It is not expected of the picture that it will make itself humble in order to be forgiven; and the analogy between the art of the painter and the art of the novelist is, so far as I am able to see, complete. Their inspiration is the same, their process (allowing for the different quality of the vehicle) is the same, their success is the same. They may learn from each other, they may explain and sustain each other.
Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”. <public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/artfiction.html> Longman’s Magazine 4, September 1884
Fiction is a form of art like any other. As an art form, fiction is related to the reality we all experience in some manner and it shouldn’t have to make allowances for whatever departure from the “factual” world it makes.
“The moment Art surrenders it’s imaginative medium, it surrenders everything. As a method Realism is a complete failure, and the two things that every artist should avoid are modern it of form and modernity of subjectmatter. To us, who live in the nineteenth century, any century is a suitable subject for art except our own. The only beautiful things are the things that do not concern us.”
Wilde, Oscar. “The Decay of Lying.” archive.org/stream/intentionsdecayo00wild. April 2008. September 2014.
This passage stuck out because, throughout much of this passage, I found Vivian annoying until the connection is made that imagination and lying are synonymous. Art is a product of human imagination and it takes some truth bending to accomplish that.