Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery Quotes.

1. "Long looking at paintings is equivalent to being dropped into a foreign city, where gradually, out of desire and despair, a few key words, then a little syntax make a clearing in the silence. Art... is a foreign city, and we deceive ourselves when we think it familiar... We have to recognize that the language of art, all art, is not our mother-tongue."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

2. "To say exactly what one means, even to one's own private satisfaction, is difficult. To say exactly what one means and to involve another person is harder still. Communication between you and me relies on assumptions, associations, commonalities and a kind of agreed shorthand, which no-one could precisely define but which everyone would admit exists. That is one reason why it is an effort to have a proper conversation in a foreign language. Even if I am quite fluent, even if I understand the dictionary definitions of words and phrases, I cannot rely on a shorthand with the other party, whose habit of mind is subtly different from my own. Nevertheless, all of us know of times when we have not been able to communicate in words a deep emotion and yet we know we have been understood. This can happen in the most foreign of foreign parts and it can happen in our own homes. It would seem that for most of us, most of the time, communication depends on more than words."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

3. "True art, when it happens to us, challenges the 'I' that we are. A love-parallel would be just; falling in love challenges the reality to which we lay claim, part of the pleasure of love and part of its terror, is the world turned upside down. We want and we don't want, the cutting edge, the upset, the new views. Mostly we work hard at taming our emotional environment just as we work hard at taming our aesthetic environment. We already have tamed our physical environment. And are we happy with all this tameness? Are you?"
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

4. "The healing power of art is not a rhetorical fantasy. Fighting to keep language, language became my sanity and my strength. It still is, and I know of no pain that art cannot assuage. For some, music, for some, pictures, for me, primarily, poetry, whether found in poems or in prose, cuts through noise and hurt, opens the wound to clean it, and then gradually teaches it to heal itself. Wounds need to be taught to heal themselves."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

5. "Woolf worried about the childlessness from time to time, and suffered from the imposed anxiety that she was not, unlike her friend Vita Sackville-West, a real woman. I do not know what kind of woman one would have to be to stand unflinchingly in front of The Canon, but I would guess, a real one. There is something sadistic in the whip laid on women to prove themselves as mothers and wives at the same time as making their way as artists. The abnormal effort that can be diverted or divided. We all know the story of Coleridge and the Man from Porlock. What of the woman writer and a whole family of Porlocks? For most of us the dilemma is rhetorical but those women who are driven with consummate energy through a single undeniable channel should be applauded and supported as vigorously as the men who have been setting themselves apart for centuries."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

6. "I argue that it is not Woolf's remoteness that puts people off but her nearness that terrifies them. Her language is not a woolly blanket it is a sharp sword. The Waves, which is the most difficult of her works, is a strong-honed edge through the cloudiness most of us call life. It is uncomfortable to have the thick padded stuff ripped away. There is no warm blanket to be had out of Virginia Woolf; there is wind and sun and you naked. It is not remoteness of feeling in Woolf, it is excess; the unbearable quiver of nerves and the heart pounding. It is exposure. And it is exactness."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

7. "Art is enchantment and artists have the right of spells. ... The success of later Shakespeare is the success of spells, where every element, however uneven, however incredible, is fastened to the next with perfect authority. The enchanted world shimmers but does not waver. A Midsummer Night's Dream is the first of his plays to accomplish this, The Tempest is enchantment's apotheosis."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

8. "When I had no books and had to learn everything I needed off by heart, and when I had to hide what books I had, I promised myself a library filled with the best editions I could afford. I have it now. Books bought out of books. A red room with deep chairs and a fireplace lit. Books of every kind, but no paperbacks, and certain shelves where First Editions are. This is not my study, where there are plenty of paperbacks, it is a contemplative island cut off from busyness, set outside of time."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

9. "We mostly understand ourselves through an endless series of stories told to ourselves by ourselves and others. The so-called facts of our individual worlds are highly coloured and arbitrary, facts that fit whatever reality we have chosen to believe in. . . . It may be that to understand ourselves as fictions, is to understand ourselves as fully as we can."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

10. "Eating words and listening to them rumbling in the gut is how a writer learns the acid and alkali of language. It is a process at the same time physical and intellectual. The writer has to hear language until she develops perfect pitch, but she also has to feel language, to know it sweat and dry. The writer finds the words are visceral, and when she can eat them, wear them, and enter them like tunnels she discovers the alleged separation between word and meaning between writer and word is theoretical."
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

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