Small Demon
Mar 062009
 

“Civilisation’s greatest single invention is the sentence.” [The rest of Banville's short statement is here.] While I don’t subscribe to the young Wittgenstein’s “picture theory” of language, in which every proposition is a picture of reality, as a writer, I have the strong sense that every sentence is a line thrown out into the world in order to retreive something of the real. Sometimes you catch something, sometimes you don’t. But that metaphor doesn’t quite catch it either; the sentence — as opposed to the fragment, which is always self-referenmtial — the sentence tries and fails. It is the pattern of those trials and errors that give us what access we have to the real.

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Note: Cross-posted to The Plumbline School.

  2 Responses to “John Banville on Writing”

  1. Banville has written some astonishing sentences.

  2. I’m a big fan.

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