One-Minute Book Reviews

May 4, 2010

What Is the Role of the Unconscious in Writing? Quote of the Day / Stephen Spender

Filed under: Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:11 am
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Authors often speak of their work as largely a product of their unconscious mind. In interviews, for example, they often say things like, “I didn’t write that book – it wrote me.” The poet Stephen Spender came closer to the truth for most authors in “Warnings From the Grave,” an essay on Sylvia Plath pubished in The Art of Sylvia Plath: A Symposium (Indiana University Press, 1970), edited by Charles Newman. Spender’s observation applies to many kinds of writers although he was speaking of poets:

“Poetry is a balancing of unconscious and conscious forces in the mind of the poet, the source of poetry being the unconscious, the control being provided by the conscious.”

2 Comments »

  1. I remember Virginia Woolf noting that she would wake up with an idea, but my favorite on this topic is from Thoreau’s Walden:
    ““We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.”

    http://ncbookbunch.wordpress.com

    Comment by RFW — May 4, 2010 @ 5:02 am | Reply


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