Elizabeth Hardwick was born 27 July 1916 and died 2 December 2007
- The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.
- The famous carry about with them a great weight of patriarchal baggage-the footnotes of their lives.
- Books give not wisdom where none was before. But where some is, there reading makes it more.
- How certain human beings are able to create works of art is a mystery, and why they should wish to do so, at a great cost to themselves usually, is another mystery. Works are not created by one’s life; every life is rich in material.
- Now, my novel begins. No, now I begin my novel—and yet I cannot decide whether to call myself I or she.
- Making a living is nothing; the great difficulty is making a point, making a difference-with words.
- A letter is not a dialogue or even an omniscient exposition. It is a fabric of surfaces, a mask, a form as well suited to affectations as to the affections. The letter is, by its natural shape, self-justifying; it is one’s own evidence, deposition, a self-serving testimony. In a letter the writer holds all the cards, controls everything about himself and about those assertions he wishes to make concerning events or the worth of others. For completely self-centred characters, the letter form is a complex and rewarding activity.
- Art is a profession, not a shrine.
Elizabeth Hardwick was an American literary critic, novelist, and short story writer. She was the author of three novels: The Ghostly Lover, The Simple Truth, and Sleepless Nights. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947. From 1949 to 1972 she was married to the poet, Robert Lowell.