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Quotables (on game-making and art, sort of)

Reality—real life—the newspapers and the newsmagazines and what goes on across the street—these are the materials of great art, but not art itself, though I am conscious of the semantic difficulties inherent in the word “art.” Let us say that “art” points to a cultural, and not an aesthetic, phenomenon: that a wilted spider put inside a picture frame somehow, magically, becomes a work of “art,” but that the same spider, untouched, unnoticed, is still a work of “nature” and will win no prizes. This is a definition of art that greatly angers traditionalists, but it pleases me because it suggests how Gestalt-like and shapeless life really is and how necessary we writers (and scientists, and map-makers, and historians) are to make it sane.

—Joyce Carol Oates, preface, Handbook of Short Story Writing, 1970

3 responses to “Quotables (on game-making and art, sort of)” »

  1. Tom K says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen nor heard it put better than that.

  2. Jenn says:

    Yeah, Joyce Carol Oates is one of the greats. She’ll give an interview to Oprah, then turn right around and punch you in the face with some book crammed with the most disturbing shit ever.

  3. Jake says:

    Um, dang, yes.

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