Literature is one vast hypocrisy, a giant deception, treachery. All the writers have concealed more than they have revealed.
Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it, and it has not changed except to become more needed.
In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.
I have concluded that Literature is no proper pursuit for a gentleman and that Writing ought never to be consider’d but as an elegant Accomplishment to be indulg’d in with infrequency and Discrimination.
Boileau said that Kings, Gods and Heroes only were fit subjects for literature. The writer can only write about what he admires. Present-day kings aren’t very inspiring, the gods are on a vacation and about the only heroes left are the scientists and the poor… And since our race admires gallantry, the writer will deal with it where he finds it. He finds it in the struggling poor now.