Top 72 Siri Hustvedt Quotes

There is no future without a past, because what is to be cannot be imagined except as a form of repetition.


Not telling is just as interesting as telling I have found. Why speech, that short verbal journey from inside to outside can be excrutiating under certain circumstances is fascinating.


We are all dying one by one. We all smell of mortality, and we can’t wash it off.


I will turn human anatomy into roses and stars and sea. I will dissect the beloveds body in metaphor.


A book is a collaboration between the one who reads and what is read and, at its best, that coming together is a love story like any other.


Every reader writes the book he or she reads, supplying what isn’t there, and that creative invention becomes the book.


Pain is always emotional. Fear and depression keep constant company with chronic hurting.


Dreams are stories made by and for the dreamer, and each dreamer has his own folds to open and knots to untie.


Dreaming is another form of thinking, more concrete, more economical, more visual, and often more emotional than the thoughts of the day, but a thinking through of the day, nevertheless.


Libraries are sexual dream factories. The langour brings it on.


Are not dreams as much a part of living as waking life is?


fiction is necessary to life – not only as books but as dreams, dreams that frame the world and give it meaning.


I am fascinated that no one I have read seems to have noticed that the literature on Picasso continually turns grown-up women into girls.


No one rejoices more in revenge than women, wrote Juvenal. Women do most delight in revenge, wrote Sir Thomas Browne. Sweet is revenge, especially to women, wrote Lord Byron. And I say, I wonder why, boys. I wonder why.


Artists are cannibals. We consume other artists, and they become part of us—flesh and bone—only to be spewed out again in our own works.


The best works of art are never innocuous: they alter the viewer’s perceptual predictions. It is only when the patterns of our vision are disrupted that we truly pay attention and must ask ourselves what we are looking at.


The history of art is full of women lying around naked for erotic consumption by men.


There is no perception without memory. But good art surprise us. Good art reorients our expectations, forces us to break the pattern, to see in a new way.


We read each other through our eyes, and anatomically they are an extension of our brains. When we catch someone’s eye, we look into a mind.


The fictive is an emormous territory it turns out, its boundaries vague, and there is little certainty about where it begins and ends.


The advice is a call to empathy, the ultimate act of the imagination, and the true ground of all fiction.


The very idea of a library for me is bound to my mother and father and includes the history of my own metamorphosis through books, fictions that are no less part of me than much of my own history.


Feminism was good for me, as were any number of causes, but as I developed as a thinking person, the truisms and dogmas of every ideology became as worn as that book’s cover.


The Singularity is at once an escape and a birth fantasy. I said to him: A Zeus dream that avoids the organic body altogether. Brand-new creatures burst forth from men’s heads. Presto! The mother and her evil vagina disappears.


My purely practical advice: Don’t get excited. Don’t raise your voice. Bite back. Bite back hard, but never cry.


Our memory fragments don’t have any coherence until they’re imagined in words. Time is a property of language, of syntax, and tense.


Because I knew so much about him, because I had been close to him, I couldn’t bring the various fragments of my experience with him into a single coherent image. The truth was mobile and contradictory, and I was willing to live with that.


The faculty of memory cannot be separated from the imagination. They go hand in hand. To one degree or another, we all invent our personal pasts. And for most of us those pasts are built from emotionally colored memories.


Immigration inevitably involves error and revision. What I imagined it would be, it’s not. For better or worse, some mistake is unavoidable.


No doubt I would have felt reverent in less lovely places, because I imagined a past I connected to myself.


Ture stories can’t be told forward, only backward. We invent them from the vantage point of an ever-changing present and tell ourselves how they unfolded.


Memory is essential to who we are, and memories can be both implicit and explicit – unconscious and conscious.


Infancy is irretrievable. Its memories live underground. To what extent they return by stealth or are triggered by various catalysts remains an ongoing question.


What she remembered is undoubtedly something so radically different from the image I gave to her memory that the two may be incompatible.


It can only be that places left behind often become emotionally simplified – that they sound a single note of pain or pleasure, which means that they are never what they were.


In this early memory he looks different from the way I would remember him later.


True stories can’t be told forward, only backward. We invent them from the vantage point of an ever-changing present and tell ourselves how they unfolded.


It appears that time has turned that young woman, who imagined herself a romantic heroine, into something of a comic character, but I remain fond of her. We are relatives, after all.


Old places fire the internal weather of our pasts. The mild winds, aching calms, and hard storms of forgotten emotions return to us when we return to the spots where they happened.


Distortion is part of desire. We always change the things we want.


I know, but he must have felt it that way, that evil was an emptiness, a lack of something, not a presence.’He turned his head fast and looked at me. ‘That’s what desire is, isn’t it? The lack of something.


Crippled and crazy, we hobble toward the finish line, pen in hand.


Correlation is not cause, it is just a ‘music of chance’.


The truth is that personality inevitably bleeds into all forms of our intellectual life. We all extrapolate from our own lives in order to understand the world.


Accumulated experience always alters perception of the past.


Every sickness has an alien quality, a feeling of invasion and loss of control that is evident in the language we use about it.


I remember thinking how easy it is to speak in clichés, to steal a line from pulp fiction and let it fall. We can only hover around the inexpressible with our words anyway, and there is comfort in saying what we have heard before.


That is the strangeness of language: it crosses the boundaries of the body, is at once inside and outside, and it sometimes happens that we don’t notice the threshold has been crossed.


There’s a phenomenology of being sick, one that depends on temperament, personal history, and the culture which we live in.


Transformation of the self are related to where you are, and identity Is dependent on others.


This feeling of being “home at last” corresponds to my idea about the city, and idea shaped by books, movies, and plays, an idea of infinite possibility.


The bottle of red brush on a white table gleamed throughout the remaining years of my childhood as the sign of what was possible there.


Within weeks of my arrival in New York, I was someone else, not because there had been a revolution in my psychological makeup or any trauma. It was simply this: people saw me in a light in which I had never been seen before.


That night as I lay in bed, I thought of several things I could have said and mourned the fact that my wit usually bloomed late, peaking when it no longer mattered, during the solitary hours close to midnight.


The stories and pictures I make for the lives of the people closest to me are the forms of my empathy.


If not violently overthrown, expectation can have a power in itself, can invest a place with what literally isn’t there.


I’ve always thought of wholeness and integration as necessary myths. We’re fragmented beings who cement ourselves together, but there are always cracks. Living with the cracks is part of being, well, reasonably healthy


Again, I don’t fully understand my emotion response to the library or trust it. It was the site of a series of intellectual revelations that were crucial to me, not just as a student but as a human being.


I said very little. I knew that for the time being I was the open air, the place to put the words, not a real interlocutor. And then, ekthout a transition of any kind, she began to tell me …. {p. 134}


New York City is the place where people come to invent, reinvent, or find the room they need to be who they wish to be.


Creativity has always depended on openness and flexibility, so let us hope for more of both in the future.


Most of us accept that although we may believe our dreams to be real events, upon waking, we can tell the difference between nocturnal hallucinations and reality.


There is no reason we should expect young children to enter the nocturnal darkness of sleep and dreams without help.


Henry Miller is a famous writer whose work has fallen out of fashion, but I strongly recommend that readers who don’t know his work pick up a book and experience this writer’s zealous, crazy, inventive, funny, sexy, often delirious prose.


All human states are organic brain states – happiness, sadness, fear, lust, dreaming, doing math problems and writing novels – and our brains are not static.


The idea that skiing might not be fun, might not be for everyone, had never occurred to me. Where I come from, the sport signified pleasure, nature, family happiness.


I am always suspicious of those who impose ‘rules’ on child rearing. Every child is different in terms of temperament and learning, and every parent responds to a particular child, not some generalized infant or youngster.


Each person does see the world in a different way. There is not a single, unifying, objective truth. We’re all limited by our perspective.


It’s hard to penetrate characters who are very cut off and lack empathy and to do it with sympathy. It’s so easy to make a damaged character repugnant.


If something’s not working, it’s wonderful to have a reader you can trust to say, ‘Actually, you’ve gone off the deep end here’.


As one of four daughters, I grew up with an imaginary brother – wondering what it would have been like if one of us had been a boy. There’s no question that there was a phantom boy child in my imagination when I was young.


In August of 2002, I survived a car accident. Although I can still see the van speeding toward us, I cannot bring to mind the crash itself – only its aftermath.



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