Literary Birthday – 6 September – Henry Seidel Canby


Henry Seidel Canby was born 6 September 1878 and died 5 April 1961

Seven Quotes

  1. A short story is simplification to the highest degree.
  2. Good writing is always a breaking of the soil, clearing away prejudices, pulling up of sour weeds of crooked thinking, stripping the turf so as to get at what is fertile beneath.
  3. There must always be a fringe of the experimental in literature–poems bizarre in form and curious in content, stories that overreach for what has not hitherto been put in story form, criticism that mingles a search for new truth with bravado. We should neither scoff at this trial margin nor take it too seriously. Without it, literature becomes inert and complacent.
  4. If the bell of intolerance tolls for one, it tolls for all.
  5. Reading for experience is the only reading that justifies excitement. Reading for facts is necessary bu the less said about it in public the better. Reading for distraction is like taking medicine. We do it, but it is nothing to be proud of. But reading for experience is transforming.
  6. The function of the Short Story is to be interesting, to convey vivid impressions, and therefore it must, to a degree, work with the evident and superficial.
  7. Live deep instead of fast.

Henry Seidel Canby was an American critic and editor. He was also a Yale University professor. Following a stint as the editor of the Literary Review of the New York Evening Post, Canby became one of the founders and editors of the Saturday Review of Literature.

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