Quotes by Joyce Carol Oates (Novelist/American).

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I'm drawn to failure. I feel like I'm contending with it constantly in my own life.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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Nothing is accidental in the universe - this is one of my Laws of Physics - except the entire universe itself, which is Pure Accident, pure divinity.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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When I was very little, four or five, I did comic strip drawings, so my first novel had no words. I couldn't write and thought adult handwriting was a mysterious scribble. When I was 14, my grandmother gave me a typewriter and I started writing in a different way.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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Like most people, I can be very easily hurt.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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To be Jewish is to be specifically identified with a history. And if you're not aware of that when you're a child, the whole tradition is lost.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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I don't read for amusement, I read for enlightenment. I do a lot of reviewing, so I have a steady assignment of reading. I'm also a judge for the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, which gives awards to literature and nonfiction.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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I've always been interested in writing about people, including young children who are not able to speak for themselves. As in my novel 'Black Water,' I provide a voice for someone who has died and can't speak for herself.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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When you are writing literary writing, you are communicating something subtextual with emotions and poetry. The prose has to have a voice; it's not just typing. It takes a while to get that voice.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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Productivity is a relative matter. And it's really insignificant: What is ultimately important is a writer's strongest books. It may be the case that we all must write many books in order to achieve a few lasting ones - just as a young writer or poet might have to write hundreds of poems before writing his first significant one.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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It's not hard to write poorly. But to write something good, it has to be revised.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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All that matters in life is forging deep ties of love and family and friends. Writing and reading come later.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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Criticism is, for me, like essay writing, a wonderful way of relaxation; it doesn't require a heightened and mediated voice, like prose fiction, but rather a calm, rational, even conversational voice.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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I probably spend 90% of my time revising what I've written.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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It is not her body that he wants but it is only through her body that he can take possession of another human being, so he must labor upon her body, he must enter her body, to make his claim.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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You need so much energy and encouragement to write that if someone says something negative, some of that energy goes.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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The - the sort of thing that I want to do is to strike a resonant chord of universality in other people, which is best done by fiction.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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I am not conscious of working especially hard, or of 'working' at all. Writing and teaching have always been, for me, so richly rewarding that I don't think of them as work in the usual sense of the word.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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I have so many favorite writers, it's very hard to select a few... of classic writers, I have always admired Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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If food is poetry, is not poetry also food?
• Joyce Carol Oates
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I always rewrite the very beginning of a novel. I rewrite the beginning as I write the ending, so I may spend part of morning writing the ending, the last 100 pages approximately, and then part of the morning revising the beginning. So the style of the novel has a consistency.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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The domestic lives we live - which may be accidental, or not entirely of our making - help to make possible our writing lives; our imaginations are freed, or stimulated, by the very prospect of companionship, quiet, a predictable and consoling routine.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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Before you can write a novel you have to have a number of ideas that come together. One idea is not enough.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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The worst cynicism: a belief in luck.
• Joyce Carol Oates
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Often in gothic novels there's a large house, an estate, and it's symbolic of that culture. Usually it's sort of moldering or rotted or something, and sometimes it's a whole community.
• Joyce Carol Oates

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